Find a list of 2019 Thanksgiving events and activities here.
Once the turkey has been digested, the dishes have been washed and put away, and thanks have been given … it’s time to get down to business and figure out what to do with the kids over the long holiday weekend. Luckily, Des Moines is brimming with kid-friendly events and activities to keep you and your little ones entertained all weekend long.
Also, be sure to check out our Holiday Fun Guide to find listings of the best Des Moines area holiday events and activities, Santa sightings, Nutcracker performances, holiday markets and craft shows for shopping and more and our Events Calendar for even more options.
1. As you give thanks for food, family, and shelter this Thanksgiving, consider lending a hand to those in need. Many organizations in Des Moines are in need of volunteers during the holiday season (and beyond)! Something as simple as clearing your closet of old clothes and toys and donating them can make a big difference.
2. So what to do after the turkey coma has worn off? Head outdoors with your family to explore and get a little fresh air. Check out a local park or go for a hike or a bike ride.
3. Burn off a few of your extra turkey calories by ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza. Families can ice skate starting at 4:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. The ice rink is open extended hours 10:00 am to 11:00 pm for the remainder of the holiday weekend.
4. Let kids expel some of that pent-up energy. Your kiddos can get the wiggles out and you can get some shopping done! Pump it Up in Urbandale is hosting a Black Friday Drop Off Event on Friday, November 25, 2016 at 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Kids will be entertained with open jump time, games, and a craft project.
5. If fighting Black Friday crowds aren’t your thing, try the Market Day Black Friday Sale in the Capital Square Atrium. Not only will you find one-of-a-kind handmade goods, but you’ll find some awesome gifts for moms and tots made locally.
6. You’re going to need a Christmas tree for all those presents you bought at Market Day. Whether your family prefers a Charlie Brown-style sapling or a White House-worthy Grand fir, you’re sure to find the perfect Christmas conifer at Geisler Farms in Bondurant. They start selling Christmas trees on November 25th, 2016.
7. Starting on November 25th, you and the Littles can see a holiday classic, The Polar Express on the IMAX screen at the Science Center of Iowa. The Polar Express tells of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.
8. Work a little culture into your holiday weekend by taking in a museum exhibit or by visiting a local museum like the Iowa Hall of Pride (open on Friday, November 25th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm) or the new Wells Fargo History Museum (open on Friday, November 25th from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm).
9. Let your little elf get crafty at Pied Piper Studios in Urbandale. On Saturday, November 26th they will host their 3rd annual Art School: Elf Art Workshop, which will be packed with projects and art stations for elves to rotate through at every level of creativity.
10. If your family needs to get out of the house this weekend or you’re looking to shop small on Saturday, November 26th visit one of these great neighborhoods in Des Moines…Shops at Roosevelt, Historic East Village and Valley Junction.
11. Check your enthusiasm and cheer on the Des Moines Buccaneers as they take on the Tri-City Storm on the ice on November 26th, 2016. The promotion for the evening is a $5 Thanksgiving Special, making the night an economical family outing.
12. Learn how to make your family a delicious Sunday brunch with Real Food 4 Kids in West Des Moines on Sunday, November 27th at 11:00 am. Kids will get to cook their own bacon in the oven, crack some eggs and mix up batter for French Toast, practice cutting bread, and use the stove to cook it up. They will also make some homemade applesauce to go on the side. Yum!
13. Celebrate the holiday season in style by attending “Holiday Grande 2016.” This elegant, all-new stage production features International Steinway Artist, Jim McDonough, joined by his 14-piece professional orchestra and a cast of sensational singers and dancers performing your favorite Christmas music and other all-time favorites. At Hoyt Sherman Place on November 27th at 2:30 pm.
14. Get a jump start on your holiday to-do list by taking the kids to visit Santa.
15. If it’s Sunday and you’ve been eating Thanksgiving leftovers for quite a few meals you may be looking for a meal that’s not leftovers. Visit our Kids Eat FREE list for some economical restaurant choices and also a list of our family’s favorite restaurants in Des Moines.
Remember to pace yourself! The holiday fun launches on Thanksgiving weekend, but it keeps rolling until we’ve welcomed in the New Year. Share your family’s Thanksgiving weekend traditions below.