Ways to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Des Moines Kids

Ways to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Des Moines Kids

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day off from school, when families can explore the life, legacy, and lessons of the iconic civil rights leader (and take a break from schedules a bit). But Monday is also a day on: when kids and adults are encouraged to help out in their communities and find ways to show kindness to others in gestures of service. 

Des Moines will host a few special events to honor the incredible civil rights activist on Monday, January 21, 2019. Below, you will find a list of celebrations hosted in his honor. Then, find a list of other special activities for families to do on the school holiday.

MLK Jr Day Celebrations in Des Moines:

30th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Please join the Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans at the 30th Anniversary Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Saturday, January 19, 2019, 5:00 pm at the State Historical Building. The celebration will include a gospel musical “I Have A Dream” performed by Herman LeVern Jones TheatreSouth Company. “I Have a Dream” is a Gospel musical about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, starting on December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person leading up to the assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968.  This depiction will give insight into Dr. King’s love of his family, his sense of humor, and the incredible challenge that African-Americans faced in fighting for basic human rights. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Annual MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast

Des Moines’ sixth annual King Prayer Breakfast will be from 7:30 to 9:00 am at the Drake University Knapp Center. Tickets are $30 per person and are available for purchase at area YMCA offices or on-line. The morning program promotes King’s message for peace and justice and will include the Bridges2Harmoney Gospel Choir from Roosevelt High Schools, Make A Difference legacy, adult and youth awards, and Keynote Speaker: Brian Brown, Associate Athletic Director at Missouri University, (former Drake Relays Director).

Imagine Enough for Everyone

Imagine Enough for Everyone is an event benefitting the Urbandale Food Pantry and is held annually on the MLK Jr Day holiday.  On January 21st from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm bring in personal care items, warm scarves and hats, monetary gifts and food items to the Urbandale Public Library.  As an added benefit for Urbandale Library members you can also participate in “Food for Fines”every personal item donated will reduce your library fine by $1 and every food items donated will reduce your library fine by $.50.

MLK Day of Service at CYC

Martin Luther King, Jr. left a legacy built on serving others.  Community Youth Concepts (CYC) invites you to honor him with a fun day of service projects on January 21, 2019 from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  CYC Staff and their Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) students have several projects planned for the day and all are welcome. If you have any questions about the event, contact Malcolm at malcolm@cyconcepts.org.

ML King Day Packaging Event

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Meals from the Heartland will once again open its doors to the public for a day of meal packaging.  Reverend King was not only a champion of civil rights, but a teacher of the timeless values by which he lived his life: courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility, and service.  Packaging shifts begin at 8:00 am and run throughout the day.  Signups are now available.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

The Forest Avenue Library hosts its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 4:00 PM.  The event will feature Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Director Joshua V. Barr as the keynote speaker and will recognize student writing and art contest winners. A reception following the presentation will be hosted by the Friends of the Forest Avenue Library. Please note all six DMPL locations will be CLOSED in recognition of the holiday. Forest Avenue Library will only be open during the program.

Ways to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Des Moines Kids – dsm4kids.com

Special Events & Activities for the School Holiday:

Van & Bonnie Martin Luther King, Jr. Day FREE SKATE at Brenton Skating Plaza

Join Van & Bonnie from WHO Radio as they team with Brenton Skating Plaza to collect socks, gloves, hats and warm clothing for area shelters.  Drop off your donations and get FREE admission and skate rental and FREE breakfast from 5:00 to 9:00 am on Monday, January 21, 2019.  Not a morning person?  The Ice Rink will be open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm for public skate. (Rates $8.50 adult Child $5.25 skate rental $4.75.) Donations will be accepted all day until 9:00 pm.

FREE Admission at the Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center will be open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (it’s typically closed on Mondays during the winter) and will offer FREE admission thanks to support from The Principal Group.  Visit anytime between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.

All-Day Athlete Lock-In

Ankeny Parks and Recreation will host an All-Day Athlete Lock-in that will allow boys and girls in 2nd-5th grade try their hand at several different sports. Fundamentals and participation will take place in basketball, volleyball, baseball/softball, football, soccer and dodgeball. Athletes will finish the day by watching a selected sports movie. All-Day Athlete Lock-In is held at East Elementary from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The Elevator Family presented by Ankeny Community Theatre

​When the quirky Wilson family goes on vacation, they visit a nice hotel — and then decide to take up residence in the elevator. They quickly turn their tiny space into a cozy home nicknamed “Otis” where they play pick-up sticks, have meals delivered, and entertain guests.  But when the Wilsons suspect that a kidnapped girl may be hidden in the hotel, they may face their biggest challenge yet. Children’s shows will be performed on January 21, 2019 at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.  Tickets can be purchased on-line.

MLK Day Skate at Skate North Incrediroll

The roller rink will be open from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on January 21, 2019.  General Admission is $8 and skate rentals are $2.  Children (5 & under) $5.00 includes skate rental.

Iowa Wild Hockey Game

The Wild will take on the Rockford IceHogs as they celebrate Crash’s Birthday.  It’s Dollar Dog Night, they will be hosting a toy drive, and the first 1,200 fans, 12 and under, will receive a FREE Youth Jersey.  Combo Packs include: one game ticket, one hot dog voucher and one soda starting at $12.

Looking for even more options?  Check out our lists of local bowling alleys, skating rinks, movie theatres and indoor play spaces. Don’t forget you can visit our calendar and Winter Fun Gude 

How do you and your family plan to celebrate MLK Day? Tell us in the comments below. 

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