Are you planning a fun family roadtrip to the midwest? Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, is a must-visit! The vibrant and historic capital city is brimming with fun and unique activity options for families of all ages.
From history, to nature, to museums, playful entertainment, and excellent dining, you’ll find all that and more when you visit the capital of Iowa. The city is filled with culture and a unique Midwestern charm that you have to experience first-hand to understand the magic.
Whether your family is interested in fun activities, educational attractions, green spaces, or food, you’ll be guaranteed to find it all while making unforgettable memories together in Des Moines! It’s such an underrated destination, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to come back for more.
Read until the end of this article to discover our top picks for fun things to do in Des Moines.
If the weather is warm and sunny during your visit (or even if it’s chilly while well-bundled up!) don’t miss out on the visit to explore the stunning and expansive Gray’s Lake Park in the heart of Des Moines. Receiving over 1 million visitors per year, this spectacular natural oasis is a must-visit for any nature lovers visiting the city.
The 167-acre park boasts a large lake, nearly 2 miles of paved walking paths, boat rentals, picnic areas, a small beach area, a playground, public restrooms and more. Pack a picnic basket and spend the day here. It’s the perfect opportunity for young kids to run around and let out their extra energy. Go for a long walk around the lake along the walking paths. Rent a boat to peacefully paddle around the water. Let kids climb, swing, and slide for hours on end at the playground. When the weather is warm, don’t forget to bring your bathing suits and towels so that the whole family can splash in the water and play at the beach area!
Rent bikes in the city and go for a long, leisurely ride along the paths of the park before stopping at one of the many picnic benches and table areas for an outdoor lunch. It’s a fantastic place to watch the sunset.
Whether you’re traveling as a family with young kids or teenagers, a visit to Gray’s Lake Park is a must-visit whenever the weather is nice enough to enjoy the day outdoors! Out of all the parks in the city (of which there are many!) this one is one of the top picks for families and is one of the best things to do in Des Moines with kids.
If you’re looking for the ultimate family-sized thrill, look no further. Adventureland Resort in Altoona is one of the top things to do in Des Moines. It’s a place where fun and adventure meet, where smiles are generated, and where happy family memories are guaranteed.
The top-rated amusement park boasts over 100 rides, a water park, shows, an incredible array of dining options, and more. Make the fun last even longer by staying overnight at Adventureland Inn or at Adventureland Campground, where there is an accommodation option for every type of traveler.
Whether you’re traveling as a family with young children, teenagers, or adults, you’ll find plenty of ways to have a blast at Adventureland Resort together while creating unforgettable memories.
There’s not a better place in Des Moines to enjoy endless rides and entertainment. Check out all the different kiddie rides, family rides, thrill rides, and water rides offered at the park. Young children will have plenty of rides and attractions to keep them entertained. Ride in an old Wild West style wagon, drive a kid-sized semi truck, fly high in the air on a dragon’s back, throw your hands in the air on the Shakin’ Bacon, and so much more.
Got members of your group who want a thrill? You’ll find plenty of that at Adventureland Resort. Test your bravery on the newest roller coaster at the park, The Dragon Slayer, where you’ll spin round and round as you go up and down. Work up the courage to ride on Monster, which is the park’s first infinity rollercoaster and is considered to be the most thrilling ride at Adventureland Resort. Do you love old wooden roller coasters? Go for a ride on Outlaw or Tornado. These are just a few of the many Adventureland Resort rides for thrill-seekers.
When the weather is warm, be sure to bring your bathing suits to head over to the park’s very own water park, Adventure Bay. Ride waves as a family at the enormous Breaker Beach Wave Pool. Go for a lazy float down the Caribbean Cruiser Lazy River. Let kids splash and run around at the colorful Heron Harbor or Kokomo Kove. There’s not a better place to beat the summer heat in Des Moines than at Adventure Bay. Spending a summer day at this enormous, top-rated water park is one of the most fun things to do in Des Moines.
Have a blast on all the park’s many rides alongside your kids and family members while you connect with your own inner kid. It’s the perfect place to let loose, have some fun, and simply enjoy some quality time with your family for the day.
Make the most of your Adventureland Resort getaway by staying overnight at Adventureland Inn or at Adventureland Campground so that you can enjoy all the park has to offer over a multiple day visit. Book a comfortable family room at Adventureland Inn with a balcony, or book a suite large enough for the whole family to stay together. Rooms and suites are equipped with everything you’ll need for a pampered family getaway, including plush beds, flat-screen television, hair dryer, a mini-fridge, a Keurig Coffee maker, and more. Even better, guests at Adventureland Inn can enjoy the hotel amenities which include 3 large swimming pools, 2 hot tubs, a swim up bar, a full restaurant, free parking, and a free shuttle ride to Adventureland Park!
Want to enjoy the ultimate adventure with your family during your getaway? Stay overnight at Adventureland Campground. Opt for an RV pull-up site or a tent site. Amenities include electric hookups, modern showers, clean restrooms, RV facilities, a swimming pool, recreational areas, and a playground.
What are you waiting for? There’s not a better place in Des Moines to enjoy an entire day filled with fun, thrills, and adventure. Check out all the different ticket & pass options to find the perfect one for your group and start planning your unforgettable Adventureland Resort family visit today!