Winter 2020: Indoor Play Times at Des Moines Area Community Centers

Winter 2020: Indoor Play Times at Des Moines Area Community Centers

It’s that time of year. The weather is increasingly dreary and predictably unpredictable. Playgrounds are icy even when the sun’s out. And yet, if you have a child who is too young for full-day school or drop-off activities, you’ve gotta find a way to fill the days and burn off everyone’s energy. While some indoor playgrounds cater to big kids, too, we are especially grateful for drop-in play times that are specifically for toddlers, and young preschoolers.

Find more indoor winter activities on our Calendar, Winter Fun Guide and sign-up to receive our Weekend Fun Guide.

Here’s the skinny on 10 of our favorite play times at Des Moines area community centers:

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 2019 – March 2020; 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 through Kindergarten 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 8 through March 12, 2020 Tuesdays 10:00 to 11:30am. 

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 9:00 am 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 8 – March 11, 2020; 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

Winter 2020: Indoor Play Times at Des Moines Area Community Centers –

Toddler Obstacle Course

Toddlers can expend some pent-up energy in this specially designed active obstacle course for little ones. 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.

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

When: January 19, February 16, March 15 and April 19 2020 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

Cost: FREE

Tot Time

Want to get your little one out of the house to play? Join 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: January 8 to February 19, 2020; Wednesdays at 9:30 to 11:00 am

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? Tak 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: January 7 through February 25, 2020; Tuesdays 9:00 to 10:30 am.  REGISTRATION DEADLINE: December 31, 2019.

Cost: $14 for the 8 week session.

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, 2019 – March 31, 2020; Tuesdays 5:00 to 7:00 pm; Wednesdays 8:30 to 10:30 am.

Cost: $1 per day or $20 for a season pass

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 6 through April 8, 2020; Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (No Indoor Playground during Spring Break or when school is not in session.)

Cost: FREE

Tot Town

Tot Town is a fun and safe children’s playgroup that is open to the community. Valley Community Center’s gym space turns into an indoor playground designed for children ages 2 to 6 years and their families. Tot Town features a large Inflatable bounce house, games, ball pit, toys, puzzles, books, and more.

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

When: Thursday 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Cost: FREE



Did we miss one? Tell us your favorite indoor play time in Des Moines.

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