It’s Great to Be a Kid in Ames: Spring Edition


We love Ames.

Just a short drive from Des Moines (approximately half the Frozen soundtrack, or if you’re in our car, Zootopia‘s “Try Everything” on repeat about nine times).

And while we love everything Des Moines has to offer, I thought I’d take this chance to fill you in on some of the fun awaiting your kiddos up north!

5. Parks Galore.

There are great parks in Ames. You could take a nap-inducing loop around Ada Hayden, go get your wiggles out at Daley Park, or let your rising star dance around the stage at Bandshell Park, and you’d barely be scratching the surface of what Ames has to offer.

It's Great to Be a Kid in Ames: Spring Edition | Des Moines Moms BlogBut one of our favorite “parks” is Central Campus! During nights and weekends, there’s close, free parking. It’s great for frisbees, bubbles, or even bringing your trike out to practice on a long, straight path between Curtiss and Beardshear. Our current favorite is Central Campus time with our stomp rocket!

4. Fun Transportation.  

Want to take your kiddos on a DART adventure but feeling a little overwhelmed?

Come on to Ames and hop on CyRide!

There are lots of short loops (that also swing by parks) for you to test out how you your kids do on the bus.

Personally, I love a convenient, eco-friendly, inexpensive way to avoid the car seat battle once in awhile.

3. Good Eats (and Drinks).  

Our favorite kid-friendly restaurants in Ames include the following:

  • El Azteca. Fast service, very kid-friendly waitstaff, and kids’ meals (we’re talking a quesadilla, rice, beans, and a drink) for around $3!
  • Jeff’s Pizza. On Tuesday nights, when you order a pizza, you get a free order of smotherella sticks. This is significant, people. Because do we eat cheese pizza in our house without arguing? Not often. But do we eat cheese breadsticks dipped in pizza sauce? Of course!
  • Texas Roadhouse. The bread place! A few months ago, our location started doing kids’ night on Tuesdays, and so far we’ve jumped rope, colored with sidewalk chalk, and even planted wildflowers.
  • Hickory Park. You’ve got to time it right to avoid crowds, but totally worth this Ames tradition!

Our favorite kid-friendly eats (and drinks) include these:

  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe. When your kiddos get up at the crack of dawn, it’s no problem to make it to Happy Hour! Yeah–not that kind. I never rarely make it to that kind. But on Monday through Saturday, you can go in between 7 and 9 a.m. and get a $2.99 smoothie. Since they divide their 24-ounce into two cups for kids (at your request), that’s a healthy, wallet-happy breakfast! It's Great to Be a Kid in Ames: Spring Edition | Des Moines Moms Blog
  • Dutch Oven Bakery. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve got lots of love for DD (especially since it’s right next to preschool). But Dutch Oven is where it’s at for our family on a Saturday morning. All the sprinkles you could want on your donut and all the trains your little Thomas-obsessed buddy could want right outside the window.
  • Ames Farmers’ Market. This growing venue has tons of awesome, local fare and even has a number of growing food trucks making an appearance this season. A truck that gives food?! My boys are IN. Let’s be honest–they get that from their mom.

2. Fantastic Events.

Would your city kid like the chance to milk a cow? Good thing there’s a school with a great agriculture program right up the road!

Any Pete the Cat fans? How about a hug from him during a book reading at the University book store?

Wanna watch a movie in a huge stadium? Then it’s a good thing there’s a free movie night at Jack Trice Stadium!

Seriously. There are so many fun-loving, hard-working college students in Ames. And as they are developing their event management skills, promoting their academic and career interests, and working with professionals in their industries, guess who benefits? Our kids!  

1. Great Families.

Whether it’s been through Adventures Preschool, the Ames Public Library, or the Furman Aquatic Center, we have met so many people who love their kids and come to love our kids! You already know that’s true through the Neighborhood Groups you’ve joined in Des Moines. Now it’s time to expand and bring that group up north! I know you’re going to have an awesome time and your kids (and you!) might even leave with a new friend or two (and a new found love for the Cyclones! No? Okay–we can hope!).

What are you most excited to do first when you head up to Ames this season?


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