With spring in the air and spring break on the horizon, some parents may be dreaming of a far-flung destination. But if bank accounts or scheduling constraints make local family outings more doable, we’ve pulled together a gold mine of activities for families looking to keep busy during spring break in the Des Moines Area.
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. And, be sure to sign up for our FREE Weekend Fun Guide to get posts like this delivered to your inbox.
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.
***Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, all events have been cancelled through March 15th – March 31st.
Spring Break Activities for Kids and Families in Des Moines:
Take in a Movie or a Live Show Over Spring Break
Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. In Des Moines Theatres on March 6, 2020.
Silent movies are out. “Talkies” are in! Unfortunately for famed movie star Don Lockwood, his leading lady’s comically harsh and squeaky voice is ill-suited for the switch. When their next film is converted into a talking picture, the studio must bring in aspiring actress Kathy Selden to voice all of its female star’s speaking and singing parts. Sparks fly between Kathy and Don in this charming love story that will give everyone the same glorious feeling they get when singing in the rain. On stage at the Des Moines Playhouse, March 13 – April 5, 2020.
CAP Theatre in Altoona, hosts their spring break Lunch N’ Laugh March 14, 21 and 28, 2020. We’ve all heard the story of Little Red Riding Hood. But how often has it been told from the Wolf’s point of view? Yes, this kind, sensitive wolf is upset, for he has been maligned by society because of a story that has been repeated to generations of children. He is determined to tell the story as it really happened, of the true nature of Red Riding Hood and his own good intentions. This hilarious story will show your audience that there are two sides to every story. Suggested ages are three year olds to adults! Tickets just $10 for children and $16 for adults.
Attend a Sporting Event Over Spring Break
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 14-15, 2020.
Get Back to Nature Over Spring Break
Brenton Arboretum has several fun events planned March 16-20, 2020 for Spring Break Play Week. Sessions are held at 11:00 am and cost $5.00 for Non-Members and 2.00 for Members. Registration required.
- Monday, March 16, 2020: Paper, Paint & Plants
- Tuesday, March 17, 2020: Green & Gold
- Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Kitchen Science
- Thursday, March 19, 2020: Spring Equinox
- Friday, March 20, 2020: Mud Kitchen
Polk County Conservation is offering the following activities that will get you outside and into nature over spring break. Activities are FREE and at the Jester Park Nature Center, unless noted. Some free events require registration.
- Monday, March 16, 2020: Best Puppet Show & Critter Club
- Tuesday, March 17, 2020: Rock on Fossil Fun
- Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Wild Night Life & Hike, $5 (Jester Park, Camp Area 5)
- Thursday, March 19, 2020: Star Party
- Friday, March 20, 2020: Superheroes of Nature
Visit a Local Attraction Over Spring Break
Family fun is welcome at the All Iowa Auto Show and will bring out the kid in all of us. The All Iowa Auto Show is your chance to compare vehicles from foreign and domestic brands side by side—without driving all over town. Experience the new models from compacts and family sedans to the latest in SUVs, trucks, and luxury cars. The All Iowa Auto Show will be held at Hy-Vee Hall March 12-15, 2020.
Urbandale Public Pool will host its annual Spring Break Carnival on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 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 host additional Open Swim Times throughout Spring Break week March 16-20, 2020.
The Botanical Center will host an array of Spring Break activities March 16-20, 2020. They will have Spring Break Plant Part Party pop up activities from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm daily which are included with admission.
Families can drop by the Museum throughout spring break, where admission is always FREE! The Museum will host a number of Spring Break Programs.
- Saturday, March 14, 2020: “The Dizzy and Daffy Dean Barnstorming Tour” – Negro League Baseball Lecture and Screening of “A League of Their Own” Baseball Movie (PG)
- Monday, March 16, 2020: Museum Vault Tour
- Tuesday, March 17, 2020: Guided Art Tours
- Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Storytime: “The Art Collector” and Screening of “The Lego Movie” (PG)
- Thursday, March 19, 2020: Guided Art Tours
- Friday, March 20, 2020: Drop-In History Mystery
- Saturday, March 21, 2020: Guided Museum Sports Tour and Screening of Iowa PBS Documentary “More Than A Game: 6-on-6 Basketball”
Get Creative Over Spring Break
If you’re staying in town for Spring Break, check out Painting with a Twist’s (Urbandale) Spring Break classes for kids ages five and up. Kids will paint a different animal on canvas each day from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. Cost is $27.
Located on the lower level of Valley West Mall, ArtFull will host a Spring Break Open Studio March 16-20, 2020 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. They will also have different $10 activities available each day from the “Make Cool Stuff Kits” from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, daily.
Molly’s in downtown Des Moines is calling on all young chefs to join them at the shop on Sunday, March 15th as they host another Kids’ Cupcake Decorating Class. Kids ages 6-14 will learn how-to fill, frost and decorate their own cupcakes. Each spot costs $25.00 (which includes a chef’s hat, beverage and four cupcakes). Reservations are REQUIRED.
Let your child explore the art and science of making handcrafted lip balms, sugar scrubs and body sprays during” Spring Break Kids DIY Spa” at Art Happy in Grimes. Kids will select from a variety of ingredients and containers to create their own products. A small snack will be provided. All supplies and ingredients are included in price. March 16, 2020 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.
Take a Class over Spring Break
Kids ages 11 to 14 will learn the basics of being a successful babysitter on Saturday, March 14 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Class includes learning about behaviors, safety, child development, feeding and diapering, as well as an introduction of First Aid and CPR. Attendees will receive a babysitter’s manual at the clinic..
Kids in 5th an 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. The class will be held on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. A pizza lunch and snack is included with registration.
Enjoy Spring Break at the Library
In addition to hosting their usual story times over spring break, the Altoona Library will host several fun events. The Family Nailed It Challenge on March 17, Spy Training on March 19 and a Kids Maker Faire on March 21, 2020. 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. A sampling of a few events they will host include LEGO Mania on March 18, Science Show on March 19 and Hula Hopping Fun on March 20, 2020. FREE.
The Indianola Public Library has several activities planned for Spring Break week. They will host a Spring Break Escape on March 17, Spring Break Teen Nerf Attack on March 19 and a Spring Break movie on March 20, 2020.
In addition to their normal story times, the West Des Moines Public Library has a number of activities planned over spring break this year. Superhero Movie Marathon on March 17, Spring Break LEGO Adventures on March 18 and Spring Break Friday Flicks on March 20, 2020. All events are FREE, but registration may be required.
Will you be staying in Des Moines over spring break? If so, what’s on your staycation itinerary?