When your kids were little, there were story times, play dates and afternoons at the park. Unfortunately, those activities just don’t have the same appeal once your child is older.
When it comes to spending quality family time with teens and tweens, it can be more challenging to find fun activities that older kids will love and that families can enjoy together. Knowing the importance of continuing to connect and have fun together, we’ve rounded up a few ideas and several local venues in the DSM metro that are perfect for spending time with your teen.
Here’s where to have fun with your teens & tweens this winter in Des Moines:
106 11th Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 282-8325
Grab your tween or teen and belly up to Art Terrarium’s Potting Bar for a little DIYing and a whole lot of family bonding time. Their potting bar is fully stocked with potting soil, pea gravel, charcoal, and top-dressing moss and rocks, for all your terrarium building and plant potting needs. You can create a terrarium, build a succulent arrangement or pot your new plant together to take home. They also invite you to bring in empty planters that need a new plant friend, or your plant that needs to be repotted.
909 Robert D. Ray Drive • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 323-6290
If you want to couple a beautiful garden setting with music, check out the “Botanical Blues” series at Des Moines Botanical Garden. Beginning January 6th this 13-show series features some of the best blues in the Midwest on Sunday afternoons from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. It’s a great way to take a break from the cold winter weather and spend an afternoon with the whole family. Concerts are included with garden admission.
3763 86th Street • Urbandale, IA 50322 • (515) 414-8760
Does the allure and thrill of cracking codes and solving mysteries as a family sound fun? If so, Breakout Games has lots of suspense-filled rooms for you to explore and try to escape this winter. There is no age limit, and anyone can participate in the Breakout Games. Just keep in mind some of the escape rooms can be challenging for adults to get out of, let alone the kids. Kids under 14 years of age, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Kids under 18 attending without a parent or guardian, will need to have a signed waiver.
Stoner Theater • 221 Walnut Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 246-2300
Presented by the Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre, February 16 – 23, 2019. When CB’s dog dies from rabies, he begins to question the existence of an afterlife. His sister, best friend and other friends aren’t able to give him any sort of solace. But a chance meeting with an artistic kid, the target of the group’s bullying, offers CB a peace of mind and sets in motion a friendship that will push teen angst to the very limits. Drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that’s both haunting and hopeful. *This production contains strong language and adult themes. Not recommended for children under the age of 13.
Gray’s Lake • 2101 Fleur Drive • Des Moines, IA 50315 • (515) 242-2855
See majestic eagles in their natural habitat during the cold winter months at Gray’s Lake Park. Bring along your binoculars to see if you can spot one. If your family is interested in learning more about the rapturing raptors, you can attend Bald Eagle Day, a FREE event, hosted by Des Moines Parks and Recreation on February 5, 2019. S.O.A.R. (Saving Our Avian Resources) will present a live education ambassador bald eagle and from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm there will be spotting scopes and people on the SE 6th Street Bridge to assist with viewing some of the wild Bald Eagles in Des Moines.
Glazed Expressions • 8826 Swanson Boulevard • Clive, IA 50325 • (515) 224-4700
Do you have a Harry Potter loving, crafty muggle at home? If so, treat them to a magical pottery painting evening at Glazed Expressions. They invite “potters” to wear their house colors and robes and pARTy the night away with yummy food, raffle prizes and more. The next Harry Pottery party will be on February 2, 2019 and are held monthly through November. You can register on their website.
2700 University Avenue, Suite 100 • West Des Moines, IA 50266 • (833) 476-6293
Ax throwing may not be for all families, but you can’t say it’s not unique! On a typical first visit to Ironside, you will receive safety training and learn how to throw an axe properly. Groups of six or more can participate in a series of games and even learn a few trick shots. Guests can bring their own snacks and beverages and are required to wear closed-toe shoes at all times. Surprisingly, there are no age restrictions for ax throwing. Ironside requires that the thrower can handle the axe and throw safely. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and waivers must be signed by a legal guardian. Children under 10 are FREE with a paid adult.
900 Keosauqua Way • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 505-8151
Mainframe Studios is home to artists of several different disciplines and any creative teen would enjoy getting a peek inside. The best time to check out this cool venue is during one of their “First Friday” Open Studio events. Each month they host a uniquely themed evening that is FREE and open to the public. These are family friendly events that feature food, music, fun activities like photo booths, scavenger hunts and more all inside this warm and cozy space.
6625 Coachlight Drive • West Des Moines, IA 50266 • (515) 313-0700
Smash Park is a new outdoor/indoor entertainment venue and restaurant concept located near Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines. Play Pickleball, grab a bite to eat or challenge your tweens and teens to lawn games like Cornhole, Shuffleboard, giant Jenga and Connect Four. To play Pickleball, you can either reserve a court – unlimited players for a three-hour maximum or play during Open Play – which is available when courts are not already reserved.
What are some of your favorite places to have a little wintertime fun with your tweens and teens in Des Moines? We’d LOVE to hear!
Featured image courtesy of the Bartholomew family.