dsm4kids’ guide to 4th of July fun includes a list of fireworks displays, fun activities and a few tips for celebrating at home in the Des Moines area. So, put on your red, white and blue and get ready to “Ooh!” and “Ahh!” as you enjoy some patriotic fun with your family this 4th of July! Be safe and have fun!
Editor’s Note: This is a working list, so please check back often for new events and activities. Know of an event that should be included? Email us with information!
Find fireworks safety tips here.
Find festive food ideas here.
At-Home 4th of July Fun
- Let the kids decorate their bikes with balloons and streamers for a neighborhood parade.
- Learn about the Declaration of Independence! Explore the National Archives digitally to see what the document looks like today. Then, introduce your kids to an elementary school classic, Schoolhouse Rock: Fireworks. You can also check out the animated series, Liberty’s Kids, that explores important moments in America’s history.
- Set up a sprinkler or Slip-n-Slide for a fun way to cool down.
- Make your own Ice Dyed 4th of July T-Shirt.
- Keep the fun going after dark with glow games. Stock up on a few glow sticks for a fun twist on classic kid games like glow-in-the-dark Tic Tac Toe, ring toss or bowling.
- Keep the kids entertained at your backyard BBQ with some fun, old fashion games.
- Gunny sack races
- Spoon races
- Kick the Can
- Watermelon eating or a seed spitting contest
Local Events Where You can Find July 4th Fun in Des Moines
July 3, 2020; Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Prairie Meadows Annual Independence Day Celebration – live racing, live music and firework show at dusk! They are partnering with 100.3 The Bus to simulcast music so you can watch and listen from the comfort of your car.
July 4, 2020; Adventureland
Adventureland Park annually presents a spectacular firework display for their guests. Fireworks typically start at 9:45 pm.
July 3-5, 2020; Iowa State Fairgrounds
Over 4,000 Rods, Customs, Classics, Muscle Cars and Trucks thru ’72 along with entertainment, live music, and a Saturday night fireworks extravaganza at approximately 9:30 pm. General admission at the gate is $20.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids (ages 7-12) and FREE for kids 6 and under at the gate.
July 4, 2020; Grimes Sports Complex
Celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence at the Home Base Grimes Independence Day Fireworks Show! Fireworks will begin at 10:00 pm.
July 4, 2020; Walker Johnston Park
Even though the larger celebration and parade have been cancelled, the fireworks will go on! They will light up the sky on Independence Day from Walker-Johnston Park at 10:00 pm.
July 4, 2020; Living History Farms
Enjoy an old-fashioned fourth with an iconic, historic Independence Day celebration in the 1876 town of Walnut Hill. 1876 marks the first centennial of the United States and Living History Farms’ Independence Day activities truly show what this day meant to those in the 19th century – a day of family fun. Be sure to arrive early to tour the historic farms, enjoy the town activities, and still have time to catch the Walnut Hill Bluestockings baseball game at 2:30 pm.
July 4, 2020; Centennial Park
While the parade and all-day celebration have been cancelled, Waukee will still celebrate the 4th in style. New this year they will host the Des Moines Skydivers. Professional skydivers will jump from an airplane and land in Centennial Park at 8:00 pm. After, that show stay for the popular fireworks display held at Centennial Park shortly after dusk or approximately 9:30 pm.
July 2, 2020: The City of Windsor Heights has made the difficult decision to postpone the 4th of July fireworks show. While this decision is disappointing, the City of Windsor Heights understands our responsibility to ensure the safety of our community, even in light of difficult decisions such as postponing the fireworks show. With the surge in COVID-19 cases, the City does not want to create situations where exposure can occur through group events. Sadly, postponing the fireworks show is the best way for the City to do our part in helping prevent groups or crowds from gathering.
West Des Moines
July 4, 2020; West Des Moines City Campus
The parade and All Iowa Bash have been cancelled. In addition, the fireworks display has been moved to the West Des Moines City Campus and will start at dusk.
What did we miss? Let us know what 4th of July fun we’re missing out on in Des Moines in the comments below!