10 Entertaining Spring Activities to do in Des Moines

spring activities in Des Moines

Spring in Des Moines is a beautiful sight. It’s a season of budding trees, blooming tulips, warmer weather, pastel colors, patio dining and exercising outdoors. There’s so much to do during this time of year, especially in the Des Moines area! Watch the city come to life, as the snow melts away and the events begin. We’ve compiled a guide of spring activities to do in Des Moines (and the surrounding metro) this year!

Des Moines Spring Activity Guide


1. Downtown Earth Day Tour

April 20, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

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This year will be the seventh annual Downtown Earth Day Tour. Visit the Botanical Garden, Iowa Rivers Revival and the Science Center of Iowa, all while raising awareness of Earth Day and celebrating our great planet! Enjoy a brief walk or bike ride between locations and take in Des Moines during spring! Drop-in activities will be offered at each location, hosted from multiple different organizations. The event is completely free!


2. Living History Farms

May 1, During Normal Hours

Living History Farms opens for the general season on May 1! Learn about Iowa’s rich history of farming and settlements though interactive farm sites and educational exhibits. This season, from May 1 through October 18, Living History Farms is hosting an exhibit called “Bee-lieve it or Not! The Secret Lives of Honey Bees Exhibit.” You can learn why the bees are called “honey bees” and why pollination is important. Enjoy a beautiful spring day with your family while visiting the new exhibit!


3. Blank Park Zoo Eggstravaganza

April 20, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

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Another great spring activity is a visit to the zoo! You’re not the only one who will be enjoying the warmer weather, the animals will be too. On April 20, Blank Park Zoo will have Easter-themed crafts, a photoshoot with the Easter Bunny and a zoo-wide egg hunt. Look out for the golden Easter Eggs, you could win all sorts of prizes if you find one. Celebrate spring and Easter at the Blank Park Zoo!


4. Des Moines Art Center

During Normal Hours

The Des Moines Art Center is a great place to spend a rainy spring day. Enjoy traveling art exhibits, like Susan Collis’ exhibit “Without you the world goes on.” Take the kiddos for Books + Blankets and hear a child-friendly story while admiring incredible artwork. If the weather is on your side, take a short drive down to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park and walk between massive, incredible pieces of art. Admission to the museum is always free.


The Des Moines Public Library’s downtown location, Central Library, features unique architecture, an eco-friendly roof, free underground parking and public meeting rooms. The library has a large collection of books, media, magazines, newspapers, microfilm, periodicals, directories, sheet music and an extensive Iowa Collection. The library offers all kinds of family-friendly events to enjoy this spring. To kick off spring, Central Library is hosting “Rosie’s Spring Challenge,” a special scavenger hunt in the children’s section of the library.


6. Gray’s Lake Park

April through October, 5:00 am – Midnight

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If you’re looking to be more active this spring, Gray’s Lake Park is the place to be. The 1.9-mile trail around the lake is the perfect place for a jog, bike ride or walk with a friend. Stretch it out while doing yoga under a shady tree. The lake also offers tons of great fishing spots, rental sailing and canoeing and even swimming in the designated beach area. There’s no doubt, Des Moines natives love spending their spring days at Gray’s Lake Park.


7. Arie Den Boer Arboretum

During Water Works Park Hours

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The Arie Den Boer Arboretum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of flowering crabapple trees. Located in Water Works Park, the collection is named after its developer, Arie Den Boer, who during his lifetime established a collection of 300 varieties of trees. Today, the arboretum holds approximately 1,100 trees in the collection.

The trees bloom in late April and early May, and the urban forest attracts thousands of visitors to the arboretum. You don’t want to miss this gorgeous display of nature this spring!


8. Market Day Iowa

May 11, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

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Market Day Iowa is a pop-up market held in The Atrium at Capital Square in downtown Des Moines. Original artists, collectors and small business owners from all over the Midwest and beyond come together to share their work with shoppers and collectors alike! Shop small and support your local business owners and artists. Market Day is free to attend and a great way to spend a spring Saturday.


9. Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market

May 4, 7:00 am – Noon

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After a long winter, the Downtown Farmers’ Saturday Market returns! The market, held in the Historic Court District of Downtown, is a collection of nearly 300 vendors from 50 Iowa counties. Not only will you be able to shop fresh local produce, meat and eggs, you’ll also shop flowers, on-the-go meals, artwork and other cute knickknacks! While you walk, enjoy live music and entertainment from local artists. The first day of the Saturday Market season is May 4 and it occurs every Saturday until October 26.


10. Patio Season

During Restaurant Hours

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Warmer weather means your favorite Des Moines restaurants are opening their patios! Being able to sip a refreshing cocktail while soaking up the sun with friends is a sacred ritual for many who call Des Moines home. Looking to save money and avoid traffic? Build yourself your dream patio paired with a beautiful outdoor dining set and enjoy a meal in your own backyard.


Shop all Patio Furniture

What are you doing this spring?

Did we miss anything? Share your favorite spring things to do in Des Moines with us on Twitter or leave a comment below.

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