Thanksgiving 2019: Weekend Events for Families in Des Moines

Thanksgiving 2019:  Weekend Events for Families in Des Moines

The Thanksgiving holiday break is nearly here, and while Thursday is likely filled with giant helium-filled balloons and hearty portions, you’ve got three more days to entertain the kids after everyone’s stuffed. Whether you’re entertaining out-of-towners, or enjoying a family staycation, we’ve got you covered. From sports events to fun holiday happenings and a slew of kid-friendly shows, we’ve rounded up a few fun ways to spend some quality time with your family over the long Thanksgiving weekend in Des Moines.

Remember, you can find additional listings on our Event Calendar and sign-up for our Weekend Fun Guide to find out our top picks for even more Thanksgiving weekend family fun in Des Moines!

From all of us at dsm4kids, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s a few ideas to enjoy Thanksgiving weekend with your family in Des Moines:

Arts & Culture

Disney on Ice

Wednesday, November 27 – Sunday, December 1, 2019

From wheels to waves, royal realms to infinity and beyond, see some of your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment.

Market Day Black Friday

Friday, November 29, 2019

If fighting Black Friday crowds aren’t your thing, try the Market Day Black Friday Sale in the Capital Square Atrium. Not only will you find one-of-a-kind handmade goods, but you’ll find some awesome gifts for moms and tots made locally.

Comedy Experiment

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Comedy XPeriment is the longest running improvisation troupe in central Iowa. Through the years, CXP has continued its mission of bringing high quality improvisation to central Iowa in the most unique and spontaneous ways imaginable! Please note: only children age 5 and over with tickets will be allowed into the theater for this production.

Home Alone in Concert

Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1, 2019

A true holiday favorite, this beloved comedy classic features renowned composer John Williams’ charming and delightful score performed live to picture by the Des Moines Symphony. Hilarious and heart-warming, Home Alone is holiday fun for the entire family!

Entirely Kids Day

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Create art, dance to live music, taste some snacks, stop in the shop, and of course— explore the Des Moines Art Museum!  Everyone is welcome to drop in for this free family day celebrating art for kids and families.

Thanksgiving 2019: Weekend Events for Families in Des Moines –

Sports & Recreation

Turkey Trot

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Des Moines Turkey Trot is a family friendly Thanksgiving morning 5k/5mile with a Tot Trot option for children! The race is around Downtown Des Moines with a post-race breakfast. Perfect to bring the whole family!

Ice Skating at Brenton Skating Plaza

Thursday, November 29 – Sunday, December 1, 2019

Burn off a few of your extra turkey calories by ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza Families can ice skate starting at 4:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day.  The ice rink is open 12:00 noon to 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday and 6:00 pm on Sunday.

Des Moines Buccaneers

Friday, November 29, 2019

Check your enthusiasm and cheer on the Des Moines Buccaneers as they take on the Waterloo Blackhawks.

#OptOutside Hike

Friday, November 29, 2019

Choose to #OptOutside on Black Friday with your friends and family. Polk County Conservation will reconnect you with nature on a hike through Jester Park. FREE. No registration required.

Hungry Turkey Run

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Features a 5K run and a half marathon that winds through the streets of Des Moines near Principal Park. Each participant gets a hoodie with registration and delicious cinnamon rolls are waiting for you at the finish line.

Opt Outside Hike

Saturday, November 30, 3019

OPT outside should be more than just on Black Friday, don’t you agree? Or maybe you just need to burn some holiday calories. Bring the whole family, in-laws and all to hike the trails at Annett Nature Center in Indianola. This event is FREE, but registration is required.

Open Swim at Urbandale Public Pool

Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1, 2019

Get off the couch and go for a swim at the Urbandale Public Pool over the long holiday weekend.  Yes, it really is safe to swim after eating, even after a huge holiday feast.

Holiday Events

Blank Children’s Festival of Trees & Light

Wednesday, November 27 – Sunday, December 1,  2019

Festival of Trees & Lights is a five-day public event that is the main fundraiser for Blank Children’s Hospital. The event features beautifully decorated trees, entertainment, children’s activities, food, shopping and more!

Jolly Holiday Lights

Friday, November 29 – Sunday, December 1, 2019

Cruise through the 2.5 mile stretch of twinkling lights and animated displays during Jolly Holiday Lights. $20 per car starting at 5:30 pm. Tickets will be available beginning in November at Hy-Vee, Casey’s and the Make-A-Wish Iowa office. Electronic tickets may be purchased at any time online.

Santa Express

Saturday, November 30 – Sunday, December 1, 2019

Depart the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s depot in Boone and arrive at the North Pole (and return).  In route, you’ll hear the story of Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride, sing holiday songs, and take part in other fun, family activities.  You’ll also be served hot chocolate and a cookie, and children will get to meet (and receive a special memento from) Santa!

Home for the Holidays Kick-Off

Saturday, November 30, 2019

It is all about the kids! Visit Santa on the Indianola Square and take a photo, shop the Children’s Store, delight the kids with the Tour of Trees throughout Indianola and vote for your favorite.


Blank Park Zoo

Friday, November 29 – Sunday, December 1, 2019

The zoo will be open during their normal business hours throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. (They are CLOSED on Thanksgiving Day.)

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Friday, November 29 – Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Botanical Center will be open their normal hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but will be CLOSED on Thanksgiving.

Science Center of Iowa

Friday, November 29 – Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Science Center of Iowa will be open during their normal hours during the Thanksgiving weekend. (They are CLOSED on Thanksgiving.)

Des Moines Children’s Museum

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The museum will be open their normal hours on Saturday but will be CLOSED on Thanksgiving.

In addition Des Moines area Bowling Alleys, Skating Rinks, Movie Theaters and Indoor Play Centers will also be open throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.



What do you have planned for Thanksgiving weekend in Des Moines? We’d love to hear!

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