Worried about keeping the kids entertained over spring break? We know it’s daunting, but we’ve also got it covered for you. If you’re sticking around Des Moines, there’s plenty to keep every age group busy. Some of our picks only take place on specific dates; others run the entire duration, but all are engaging ways to get out and celebrate spring.
In addition to this list, we have a list of St. Patricks Day Events and you can find even more family fun on our Calendar. If you need childcare through the break, please visit our list of Spring Break Camps.
Editor’s Note: Not all spring break activities have been announced at post date. This is a working list, please check back often for updates.
Spring Break Activities for Kids and Families in Des Moines:
Take in a Movie or a Live Show Over Spring Break
The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In theatres March 8th.
Wonder Park tells the story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive. In theatres March 15th.
Underneath a Magical Moon is set in an ordinary back garden where three children, Wendy, John and Michael, do a sleep out, one summer evening. However, it’s a full moon, and Wendy just can’t get to sleep, and she begins to tell her brothers the story of Peter Pan. Slowly but surely, they are drawn into the famous tale. They become Peter himself, the villainous Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, a bunch of Lost boys, a crocodile and a gaggle of Mermaids. They fly, they swim, they sail and fight battles, and conjure up Neverland in their own back yard. At the Des Moines March 16th, 2019 with shows at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
CAP Theatre in Altoona, hosts their spring break Lunch N’ Laugh March 16, 24 and 30, 2019. Poor Cinderella! Life with her stepmother and stepsisters is work, work, work. Well until her Fairy Godmother shows up. Let this tale whisk you and your special child into a fun land of imagination. Suggested ages are 4 year olds to adults! Tickets just $10 for children and $16 for adults.
With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination, and millions of dollars in forged checks, precocious teenager Frank Abagnale, Jr. embarks on an exhilarating journey over the country. The show begins with Frank trapped at the Miami International Airport by his longtime rival, FBI Agent Carl Hanratty. Frank uses this opportunity to tell his side of the story, starting with the escape from his childhood home to conning careers as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. On stage at the Des Moines Playhouse, March 22 – April 14, 2019.
Attend a Sporting Event Over Spring Break
The Iowa Wild meet the San Antonio Rampage on the ice at the Well on Friday, March 15th. Single game tickets start at $10.00.
The Iowa Wolves will play the Wisconsin Herd at the Well during spring break. They play on March 16, 2019. Single game tickets start at $10.00.
A national wrestling tournament that is open to all youth wrestlers up to the age of 18. Over 1,000 grapplers from multiple states will meet on the mat in the Jacobsen Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds March 16-17, 2019.
The Road to the Final Four stops in Des Moines March 21 and 23, 2019 at Wells Fargo Arena when Drake University hosts the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA March Madness Tournament! General public sales are sold out, but tickets may still be purchased through the NCAA Ticket Exchange. You may also sign up to join the Iowa Events Center wait list.
Get Back to Nature Over Spring Break
Join Warren County Conservation for Geocaching 101 on Saturday, March 16, 2019. You will learn about geocaching, how to use a GPS unit and then head out in the park to find some “treasures” call caches. GPS units will be provided. Please register by March 15th.
Brenton Arboretum has several fun events planned March 18-22, 2019 for Spring Break. Attend “Movie Monday” (FREE), “Tie Dye Tuesday”, “Wilder Wednesday”, “Thoughtful Thursday” or “Filthy Friday” sessions each day at 11:00 am. Registration required.
Polk County Conservation is offering the following activities that will get you outside and into nature over spring break:
- March 19 – Nature Hike at Jester Park Nature Center (FREE)
- March 20 – Rock on and Fossil Fun at Jester Park Nature Center (FREE) and Vernal Equinox Hike at Jester Park Nature Center (FREE)
- March 21 – Nature Hike at Brown’s Woods (FREE) and Wild Night Life & Hike at Jester Park, Camp Area 5.
Give Back Over Spring Break
Bring your friends, your kids, your daycare (kids 5 and over welcome) and help Meals from the Heartland reach their goal of packaging 1,000,000 meals during Meals Madness over Spring Break! Bonus, each day has a fun theme to get you in the giving spirit!
Visit a Local Attraction Over Spring Break
Drop by the Art Center for their FREE event, Entirely Kids Day: All About Animals, on Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Inspired by the exhibition “The Elephant in the Room: Animal as Model”, you will explore the way we, as humans, see our furry friends. Tangerine, the Art Center Café, will feature a special kid’s menu that afternoon. It will be a fun day of incredible art, music, and museum exploration—all about animals!
The Botanical Center will host an array of Spring Break Family Workshops March 19-22, 2019. Classes are offered at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm each day. The family workshops are designed for youth ages 5-15 and an adult. Please register.
The shopping center will host Spring Break FREE Kids Events. All events located in Space 520, across from Direct Tools and Maurice’s.
- March 20 – Science Center Programs – Boom! at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm
- March 21 – Spring Bloom Program – Make & Take – plant your own flower seeds at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm (Space is limited. RSVP to MarketingDSM@
- March 22 – Ruby Reads Program by Blank Park Zoo with LIVE animals at 1:00 pm; Watch Hotel Transylvania 3 and enjoy FREE snacks at 4:00 pm; and GameTruck of Iowa at 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
Spring Break at the Y includes daily activities including: crafts, games, swimming and more. March 18-21st at 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
Families can drop by the Museum for fun FREE activities throughout spring break. Here’s what they have planned:
- March 15 – Spring Break: History Mystery 1:00-3:00 pm (FREE)
- March 18 – Spring Break: History Mystery 1:00-3:00 pm (FREE)
- March 19 – Spring Break: History Mystery 1:00-3:00 pm (FREE)
- March 20 – Goldie’s Kids Club: Storytime 9:30 am (FREE) and Matinee at the Museum: Little House on the Prairie 1:30 pm (FREE)
- March 21 – Matinee at the Museum: Rio 1:30 pm (FREE)
- March 22 – Matinee at the Museum: Ferdinand 1:30 pm (FREE)
Urbandale Public Pool will host it’s annual Spring Break Carnival on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm. They will have a large inflatable slide along with carnival games and prizes. $6 per person, $1 with an Annual Pass. They will also have additional Open Swim Times throughout Spring Break week March 18, 19, 21 and 22.
Take a Class over Spring Break
Kids in 5th and 6th grade can learn about becoming a better sitter. Changing diapers, basic first aid and fire prevention are just a few of the things covered in class. This class is hosted by Ankeny Park and Recreation on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 9:00 am. A pizza lunch and snack is included with registration.
This course gives youth ages 11 to 15 years old the knowledge and confidence to care for infants and school-age children. Combining video, activities, hands-on skills training and discussion for a complete learning experience. Hosted by the Grimes Public Library Monday, March 18, 2019 at 9:00 am. Registration required.
Youth ages 7 to 13 will get their fingers dirty as they start seeds and learn how to care them in this fun, hands-on class! Participants will take home pots of seedlings to grow plants for their garden or patio just in time for spring! Hosted by Urbandale Parks and Recreation on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 6:00 pm. The registration deadline is March 12th.
Sign up for the companion Composting class too! Youth ages 7 to 13 will build their own mini-compost bins-complete with worms in this fun workshop! They’ll take home their live compost bin to witness kitchen and household waste transform into compost for the garden. Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 6:00 pm. The registration deadline is March 12th.
Enjoy Spring Break at the Library
In addition to hosting their usual story times over spring break, the Altoona Library will host a Magic Show on Monday, March 18, 2019. FREE.
No need to pack a suitcase this spring break. Head on over to Clive Public Library to escape and explore through various programs they will be offering all week long. FREE.
Des Moines Public libraries have a number of story times, book clubs and other fun events taking place throughout the spring break week. Be sure to visit their website for the full line-up of events. Below is a small sampling of what they have scheduled.
Stop by the South Side Library’s Children’s Area on March 18th from 12:00 to 4:00 pm to make and take a paper plate Pokémon Pokeball! For youth ages 5-12. This is an unsupervised, drop-in program. FREE.
Attend “Family Storytime with Blank Park Zoo Show and Tell”. This program will feature live animals! March 19th at 6:30 pm. FREE.
Forest Avenue Library
“Youth Makerspace-Circuits!” Kids ages 8-12 can put together a circuit and then test different objects to see which ones are good conductors of electricity. Is Play-Doh a good conductor? What about pennies? Are we? March 20th, 2:30 to 3:30 pm. FREE.
Franklin Avenue Library
Attend “The Magic and Comedy of Jonathan May”. Prepare to be thoroughly entertained and amazed by this magical program designed for all ages. Jonathan May is Iowa’s most in demand magician and has performed for audiences all over the world. Friday, March 22nd at 3:00 pm. FREE.
The West Des Moines Public Library has a number of activities planned over spring break this year. On Monday, March 18th attend “Amphibians R Us with Polk Co. Conservation”, on Wednesday, March 20th go on a “Spring Break LEGO Adventures” and on Friday, March 22nd see “Incredibles 2” during “Spring Break Friday Flicks”. All events are FREE, but registration is required.
Will you be staying in Des Moines over spring break? If so, What do you have on your spring break itinerary? Share your plans with us in a comment below!