Indoor Play for Des Moines Kids: Places to Burn Off Energy Inside this Winter

Indoor Play for Des Moines Kids: Places to Burn Off Energy Inside this Winter

Find winter 2020 indoor play times at community centers here.

Find a list of 202 indoor play spaces here.

Every winter, Des Moines families are faced with the same problem: How to keep the kids active when it’s too cold to play outside. When your kids really want to burn off energy, you need a more active indoor destination where they can play, run around and test their limits, not your patience. That’s why we came up with this list of indoor play places (many of which are FREE;) in DSM where kids can burn off energy inside this winter.

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Here are a few places where DSM kids can burn off energy inside this winter:

Indoor Play at Community Centers

Winter Romp n’ Read

Too cold to play outside? Head on over to the Clive Public Library the early weeks of January for a warm, safe place to let your kids play and learn together. This joint library and Parks and Recreation program will feature a variety of indoor movement activities and a book nook in the Library’s community room that you and your child can explore together. Adults will need to accompany their children at all times.

Where: Clive Public Library; 1900 Northwest 114th Street, Clive, IA 50325; (515) 453-2221

When: Wednesday, January 2 through Saturday, January 5 9:45 to11:45 am; Monday, January 7 through Friday, January 11 9:45 to 11:45 am

Cost: FREE

Imagination Playschool

Imagination Playschool hosted by Des Moines Parks and Recreation at Pioneer Columbus Community Center allows kids seven and under the chance to make new friends and play on all kinds of equipment: climbing tower, big wheels, play houses, tumbling mats and gymnastics.

Where: Pioneer Columbus Community Center; 2100 SE 5th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315; (515) 248-6316

When: November 2018 – March 2019; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.Special evening Imagination Playschool sessions – “Family Fun Nights” are hosted the 3rd Friday of the month from 5:00 to 7:45 pm.

Cost: $1.50 per child

Tot Time

Eastview Community Center transforms their Freedom Hall into an indoor playground designed for children ages 2 to 6 years and their families. Tot Time features a large Inflatable bounce house sponsored by JP Party Rentals of Des Moines. Other activities such as tents, play structures, ball pit, toys, building blocks, puzzles, books, and more will change regularly to provide varying play for your child.

Where: Eastview Community Center; 4101 E 42nd Street, Des Moines, IA 50317; (515) 809-2356

When: January 3 through March 28, 2019 Wednesdays 10:00 to 11:30am.  NOTE: There will be no Tot Time during Spring Break – March 14th.

Cost: FREE

Bounce and Play Time

Bounce and Play Time at the Grimes Community Complex is for kids ages 10 and under and their parent/guardian. This is not a structured play group, but rather an open space for kids to move around, play games, laugh, have fun and burn off some energy. Activities include a bounce house, scooters, trikes, and various sports balls for use.

Where: Grimes Community Complex; 410 SE Main Street, Grimes, IA; (515) 986-2143

When: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9:00am to 12:00 noon; Mondays and Wednesdays 4:00 to 7:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Indoor Play Date

Kids ages one year through preschool can burn off some energy this winter. Indianola Parks and Recreation will provide the fun (toys and equipment), you provide the child and supervision.

Where: Indianola Activity Center, Buxton Room; 2204 W. 2nd Avenue, Indianola, IA 50125; (515) 961-9420

When: January 9 – March 13, 2019; Wednesdays at 10:30 am to 12:00 noon. PLEASE NOTE: Indoor Play Date is closed on days when Indianola schools are cancelled or delayed due to inclement weather.

Cost: FREE

Toddler Obstacle Course

Kids can expend their pent-up energy at an obstacle course specifically designed for little ones at the Johsnston Public Library. Babies are welcome in their own activity corner with caregivers. Adults must remain with children for the duration of playtime. Appropriate for ages 6 months- 6 years.

Where:  Johnston Public Library; 6700 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, IA 50131; (515) 278-5233

When: January 20, February 17 and March 17, 2019 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

Cost: FREE

Tot Time

Want to get your little one out of the house to play? Come and play with Pleasant Hills Parks and Rec inside this winter! This program provides a place for care givers to bring their children ages two to six to play in a safe and fun environment.

Where: Doanes Park Youth Center; 5050 Doanes Park Road, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327; (515) 262-9368

When: December 7, 2018 – February 1, 2019; Fridays at 9:00 to 10:30 am (No Program December 28, 2018 and January 1, 2019)

Cost: FREE


Need a place for your kids ages one to five to burn some energy this winter? Tired of the crowded mall play area? Take the kiddos to the TotLot at Giovannetti Community Shelter in Urbandale. Toddler toys, balls, tunnels, mats, music and more will be available in the large community room to get the kids running and playing.

Where: Giovannetti Community Shelter at Walker Johnston Park; 9800 Douglas Avenue,
Urbandale, IA 50322 (515) 278-3900

When: December 13, 2018 through February 28, 2019; Thursdays 9:00 to 10:30 am. (NO CLASS: December 27th.)

Cost: $3 per child per session. Please register at least one day in advance.

Tot Lot

Waukee Parks and Recreation provides the fun and parents provide the supervision.  Toddler toys ranging from blocks to tunnels and mats are available.

Where: Waukee Public Works Building; 805 University Avenue, Waukee, IA 50263; (515) 978-7920

When: October 1, 2018 – March 27, 2019; Mondays at 8:30 to 10:30 am and Wednesdays at 8:00 to 10:00 am.

Cost: FREE

Indoor Playground

Need to get out of the house and let that toddler run off some steam? West Des Moines Parks and Recreation have created an indoor playground that can help get the job done. Toys, slides, and riding toys will challenge your child for a day of fun! Parents are required to stay and supervise their children.

Where: Valley Junction Activity Center ; 217 5th Street, West Des Moines, IA 50265; (515) 222-3444

When: January 2 – April 3, 2019; Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (No Indoor Playground when school is not in session.)

Cost: FREE

Indoor Play Area

Valley Community Center’s Play Area is a glass-enclosed children’s play area near their cafe. This space provides fun and engaging equipment for kids from toddlers to age 7 to play on, as well as seating for adults. Adults can sit outside the play area and have a coffee with friends and watch their children play.

Where: Valley Community Center;  4444 Fuller Road, West Des Moines, IA  50265; (515) 327-6000

When: Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Indoor Play at Malls

Jordan Creek Town Center

The Jordan Creek Town Center children’s play area is located on the lower level near Dillard’s.

Where: 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, IA; (515) 440-6255

When: Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sundays 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Merle Hay Mall

The Merle Hay Mall play area is located just inside the Main Entrance.

Where: 3800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, IA; (515) 276-8551

When: Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sundays 12:00 noon to 5:30 pm

Cost: FREE

Valley West Mall

The Valley West Mall play area is located on the lower level of the South Court.

Where: 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines, IA; (515)225-3631

When: Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sundays 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Indoor Play for DSM Kids: Places to Burn Off Energy Inside this Winter –

Indoor Play at Local Businesses

Adventureland Inn Toddler Play Area

This Toddler Play Area was made specially for guests under 42″ in height. The PlayTime activities include a dolphin, treasure chest, whale, and pirate ship. There is also a TV to watch as well as three touch screens that are fully loaded with interactive games. Adult supervision is required and The Toddler Play area is located just off the East Courtyard.

Where: 3200 Adventureland Drive, Altoona, IA 50009; (515) 265-7321

When: Open Daily from 8:30 am to 10:30pm

Cost: FREE

B & B Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling

B&B Theatres recently opened their new screenPLAY! auditorium, a theater room dedicated to families with small children! Featuring vibrantly colored seats and wall coverings, a screen-side play area for toddlers, and a full-size climbing playground (complete with slide), screenPLAY! allows guests to arrive 30 minutes before showtime for fun and play, while music and other entertainment is onscreen. After the 30-minute play block is over, guests will take their seats and the lights will go down for a kid-friendly feature.

Where: 2829 S Ankeny Boulevard, Ankeny, IA 50023; (515) 964-7887

When: Varies. Visit the website for movie times.

Cost: Included with movie ticket.

Chick-fil-A Playground

In most free-standing Chick-fil-A restaurants, you’ll find an indoor playground where the kids can play and climb to their heart’s content.  They even have a “toddler zone” in each playground with smaller play structures dedicated to little ones under 3.

Where: Ankeny, Des Moines, and West Des Moines

When: Monday through Saturday 6:30 am to 10:00 pm.  CLOSED Sunday.

Cost: FREE to play in the play area

Chuck E. Cheese’s

Chuck E. Cheese’s offers family fun and entertainment, Where A Kid Can Be A Kid®! You’ll find high tech arcade games and low-tech games like skee ball; kiddie rides and climbing areas for the little ones.

Where: 1431 22nd Street, West Des Moines, IA 50266; (515) 223-9430

When: Monday through Friday 11:00 am to 9:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and Sunday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Cost: Varies

Des Moines Children’s Museum

In their temporary location in Valley West Mall, the Des Moines Chidren’s offers is a great place where you can let the kids loose this winter where they can play, experiment, be creative, and explore without you having to say “no” or “don’t touch that.”

Where: Valley West Mall; 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines, IA; (515) 218-8334

When: Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm; Monday 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and Thursday 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Cost: Ages 1-10$4.50; under 1 or over 10: Donations appreciated but not required

McDonald’s PlayPlace

Several McDonald’s in the Des Moines area have PlayPlaces, indoor playgrounds where kids ages 3 – 12 can climb and make their way through tunnels.

Where: Ankeny, Des Moines, Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines

When: Monday through Sunday 5:00 am to 12:00 Midnight (Hours vary by store)

Cost: FREE to play in the play area

Open Play Time at Backyard Adventures

With a name like Backyard Adventures it’s pretty obvious what active little kiddos can do here.  Swings, slides and backyard play equipment make for an entertaining time.

Where: 3135 99th Street, Urbandale, IA 50322; (515) 270-2433

When: Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. (Excludes holidays and no Open Play on the weekends)

Cost: $5.00 per child (two and over) (adults over 18 FREE)

Open Play at Rainbow of Iowa

Your child is in for a fun-filled afternoon during Open Play at Rainbow of Iowa’s indoor showroom. Kids can swing, climb, slide, use the trampoline and shoot hoops. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon regardless of the weather.

Where: 3300 SE Crossroads Drive, Grimes, IA 50111; (515) 327-8989

When: Monday through Friday at 10:30 am to 2:30 pm

Cost: $10.00 per child.

Playgrounds at Burger King

This fast food chain offers the kids a chance to burn off some energy in their indoor playgrounds at a few of its restaurants in the Des Moines area.

Where: Ankeny, Indianola and Waukee

When: Monday through Sunday 6:00 am to 12:00 Midnight

Cost: FREE to play in the play area

Indoor Play at Bounce House Play Spaces, Kids Gyms and Trampoline Parks in Des Moines

Get Air Des Moines

Get Air Des Moines trampoline park offers large areas for jumping, foam pits, and a dodgeball court. They also have a special section in their “Kiddie Court” set aside for kiddos under 46”.  In addition, they host Toddler Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Where: 3799 86th Street, Urbandale, IA 50322; (515) 528-7549

When: Monday through Thursday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 midnight; Sunday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Cost: Big Air, One Hour – $13; Two Hours – $21; Little Air (Under 46”), One Hour – $8
Two Hours – $13; Jump Socks – $3

Hop-A-Lot Indoors

Hop-A-Lot Rentals has been bringing fun and unique inflatables to Central Iowa for more than 12 years. They’ve now brought their inflatables indoor for the winter. They are in Merle Hay Mall in the old MC Sports space and offer Open Jump every day during mall hours.

Where: Merle Hay Mall; 3800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, IA 50310; (515) 255-9620

When: Monday through Thursday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 noon to 5:00 pm

Cost: Monday thru Thursday is $6.00, Friday thru Sunday $8.50 and 2 and under are $5.00 any day.

Kids Warrior Gym

Does your child watch “American Ninja Warrior”? Have they ever thought, “I could totally do that!”?  Or maybe they’re just a fan who wants to try it out. Now they have a chance to put their skills to the test. Take your child to Kids Warrior Gym in Urbandale and let them burn some energy, have fun, and learn how to master the elements. Age Range to be in the Gym is 4-12….younger kids can test their skills in the lobby play area.

Where: 10141 Hickman Road, Urbandale, IA 50322; (402) 401-1189

When: Monday through Thursday 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm; Friday 12:00 noon to 9:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm; Sunday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Cost: $12 per hour NON-CLASS member; 8 per hour CLASS member

Monkey Joes

Here you’ll find several massive inflatables for kids under 12. There are huge slides, obstacle courses and bounce houses that will keep your kids entertained for hours.   For your tiny tots there’s the Mini Monkey Zone, which is a separate toddler play area that will keep your little ones safe and secure.

Where: 1600 Valley West Drive, Ste. 100, West Des Moines, IA 50265; (515) 223-5867

When: Monday through Thursday 10:00 to 7:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm; Sunday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Check the website for holiday hours.

Cost: $6.49 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; $5.50 Wednesday; $10.99 Friday through Sunday and Holidays; $5.50 for 2 and under if playing.  Frequent User Cards may also be purchased.

Pump It Up

Open jump times welcome kiddos of all ages to hop around the giant bounce houses, which feature slides, climbing and obstacles. Watch their calendar for Open Jumps, Glow Jumps, Parents’ Night Out and other special events.

Where: 4069 121st Street,  Urbandale, IA 50323; (515) 270-5017

Hours: Open Sunday to Saturday.  Times vary.  Check their calendar of events for specific hours.

Cost: $7.00 Open Jump; $8.00 Glow Jump

Sky Zone

Who doesn’t love massive trampolines? If your kids love to jump, Sky Zone will send them soaring.  Located in Grimes the facility features a gigantic trampoline area for jumping and doing tricks, a jumping pit, basketball hoops and dodge ball areas.  They also have a small spot for kids under five to jump.

Where: 1300 SE Gateway Drive #103, Grimes, IA 50111; (515) 986-2524

When: Open Sunday to Saturday.  Times vary.  Check their calendar of events for specific hours.

Price: $11.00 30 minutes; $15.00 60 minutes; $19.00 90 minutes; $23.00 120 minutes

The PlayGround For Kids

The Playground for Kids combines fun and fitness.  They have two rooms that house five inflatables and a ginormous play room that features an enormous tree house for kids to play on.  There’s also a concession stand and smoothie bar. Check their on-line calendar for their daily deals.

Where: 2401 SE Tones Drive #7, Ankeny, IA 50021; (515) 965-9899

When: Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Cost: $8.99 for 2 to 12-year olds; $5.99 walkers up to 23 months and special needs; non-walkers FREE with a paying child.

Indoor Play at Gymnastic Facilities

Mid-Iowa Gymnastics

Mid-Iowa Gymnastics in Grimes hosts Open Gym, which is a chance for your child to have open play time and be active and have fun. Kids can use equipment in the gym including trampolines, bars, cargo climbing net, balance beams, tunnels, mats, and more. The hour is unstructured, but staff and coaches are present in the gym.

Where: 3580 SW Brookside Drive, Grimes, IA 50111; (515) 986-2781

When: Every other Saturday.  Check their calendar.

Cost: Preschool Age (45 minutes) $5 members, $8 non-members; School Age (60 minues) $7 members, $10 non-members

Sapphire Gymnastics

Open Gym is open to Sapphire students ages 5+, and non-members ages 5-14. This is a semi-structured hour of fun. Kids will have an opportunity to use vault, bars, beam, and floor exercise equipment, as well as trampolines and tumble traks. ​ALL participants must have a waiver signed by his/her guardian. Staff is available to ensure safety of participants and provide light spotting.

Where: 11401 Meredith Dr, Urbandale, IA 50322; (515) 276-2027

When: Saturday 1:00 to 2:00 pm

Cost: $5 members, $8 non-members

Triad Gymnastics

Triad offers several “Drop-In Programs” (for parents and kids) that you do not need to register for ahead of time.  These programs are a chance for families to come in (accompanied by an adult) and enjoy some time in the gym!

Where: 2202 SE Creekview Dr, Ankeny, IA 50021; (515) 963-0215

When: Times and programs vary.  Be sure to check their website for specific times.

Cost: Varies by program.



Where do your kids burn off some energy during the winter months in Des Moines?  Tell us your favorite indoor play spot!

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