2019: FREE Outdoor Kids’ Story Times in Des Moines Parks

2019: FREE Outdoor Kids’ Story Times in Des Moines Parks

Summer in the city is all about FREE alfresco entertainment. There are complimentary concerts, no-cost movies and lots of FREE festivals. But don’t forget about FREE story times in city parks! Participating in a summer reading program and story time is a great way to fight the summer brain drain in an economical laid-back way. We’ve rounded up a dozen storytelling series for families to enjoy all summer long in Des Moines.

Please click on the links for more information, and it’s always wise to doublecheck to make sure the story time is being held as scheduled.

Don’t miss a moment of summer fun! Visit our Summer Fun Guide and sign up for Weekend Fun Guide and stay “in the loop” on FREE activities, special events and insight into making the most of your family time this summer.

Check out our list of FREE outdoor story times taking place this summer in Des Moines Parks:

Fairytale Time in the Park

Join the West Des Moines Park and Recreation Department for Fairytale Time in the Park. Experience your community park and enjoy a story and a snack or craft for FREE.  Don’t forget to bring your blanket and a friend. Story hours are on Fridays from 10:30 to 11:15 am.

Dates and Locations:

June 7: American Legion Park
June 14: Quail Cove Park
June 21: Ashawa Park
June 28: Huston Ridge Park
July 5: Jaycee Park
July 12: Wild Rose Park
July 19: Kiwanis Park
July 26: Meadowview Park
August 2: Pearson Park

Nature’s Story Hour

Pack your picnic lunch, blanket and enjoy an hour of nature stories and activities with a naturalist in Jester Park. Take in some fresh air, sunshine, munch your lunch, listen to a story or two and discover new natural areas with your children on Wednesdays at 12:00 noon.


June 5
June 19
July 10
July 24
August 7

Pop up Library in the Park

Visit the Johnston Public Library in Dewey Park on Thursday mornings at 10:00 am throughout the summer, weather permitting. Sign-up for a library card, choose a free book, create a fun craft, and participate in their Summer Library Program and earn prizes!


June 16
June 13
June 20
June 27
July 11
July 18

Sculpture Park Storytime for Families

Meet the Des Moines Public Library at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park for a storytime featuring stories, songs, and movement for 3-6 year olds. Look for them on the east side of the sculpture park near the large white Nomade sculpture from 10:15 to 10:45 am. In case of rain, the storytime will be held at the Central Library.


June 13
August 8

Stories in the Park

Kids of all ages can join the Clive Public Library and Parks and Recreation staff for story time adventures in their own backyard. They will be visiting neighborhood parks in Clive for a morning filled with stories, music, and recreational activities. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch and enjoy a morning outdoors. The program is FREE and no registration required.  All story times are on Fridays and start at 10:00 am.

Dates and Locations:

May 31: Linnan Park
July 5: Campbell Park
August 2: Greenbelt Park (Porter Shelter)

Story Time in Colby Park

The City of Windsor Heights is excited to introduce a new and fun opportunity for you and your child  as interactive books are read aloud in Colby Park.  They will be celebrating individual creativity and personal expression, through craft projects, fun movement joyful rhythm and the exploration of new friendships.  While the books will be geared to the 3-6 year old age group,   ALL age groups are welcome.  Storytime will be held Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am.


June 4
June 11  
June 18
June 25
July 2
July 9
July 16
July 23
July 30

Storytime in the Park

Join the Grimes Public Library and Parks Departments for a special all-ages storytime followed by outdoor play on Mondays at 10:00 am. Walk to your local playground or discover a new neighborhood park. A limited selection of books will be available for checkout. Weather Permitting. 

Dates and Locations:

June 10: Kennybrook South Park
June 17: Beaverbrooke Park
June 24: Glenstone Park
July 1: Grimes Community Complex Park
July 8: Autumn Park
July 15: Shawver Park
July 22: Waterworks Park

Storytime in the Park

Stop by the Open Shelter at Windfield Park to hear fun songs and stories from the Waukee Public Library’s librarians, followed by a craft provided by Waukee Parks and Recreation staff. Recommended for ages 5 and under with a care-giver. In case of bad weather, this event will be held at the Waukee Public Library. No registration required.  Stories in the Park will be held at 9:00 am.


August 2
August 5
August 7
August 9

2019: FREE Outdoor Kids' Story Times in Des Moines Parks – dsm4kids.com

Story Walks

Des Moines Parks & Recreation

Bookwalk, the collaborative program with the Des Moines Public Library will return this summer. You don’t have to sit down to enjoy a good book; read along while enjoying a different book each month at a different park.


May: Waveland Trail
June: Evelyn K. Davis Park
July:  Gray’s Lake Park
August: Sargent Park

Heart of the Warrior Trail

Take an adventure with a story this spring and summer! The Waukee Public Library and the Parks & Recreation Department have joined together to promote literature and exercise. Enjoy a different book each month displayed along the Heart of the Warrior Trail between 6th Street and the intersection of Ashworth Drive, Northview Drive and Warrior Lane.

Walker Johnston Park

Walk or bike along the path around the pond in Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale while enjoying a good book. 

Walnut Creek Regional Park

After playing on the pirate themed play area kids can stroll and enjoy a good book at the Walnut Regional Park in Urbandale.

Warren County Conservation 

Each month this summer, Warren County Conservation will put new nature-themed children’s stories along trails in different parks. 


May: Annett Nature Center 
June: Bank Swallow Bend 
July: Woodland Mounds 
August: Otter Creek 



Where’s your favorite place to attend FREE outdoor story time in Des Moines?  Let us know in the Comments below. 

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