Summer is a great time to get out and explore and get a little wet!
From a very young age, my boys loved the outdoors. One of our favorite things to do is jump in the car and go hiking. This usually leads to stomping around and exploring a creek nearby. Our go-to place is Ledges State Park in Madrid, but there are a few places around town we love as well.
- Jester Park, 11121 Jester Park Drive, Granger
- Greenwood Park, 4500 Grand Ave, Des Moines
- Thomas Mitchell Park, 4250 NE 108th St, Mitchellville
- Brown’s Woods, 195 SE Brown’s Woods Ct., West Des Moines
- Easter Lake Park, 2830 Easter Lake Dr, Des Moines
- Raccoon River Park, 2500 Grand Ave, West Des Moines
- Gray’s Lake Park, 2101 Fleur Dr, Des Moines
- Big Creek State Park, 8794 NW 125th Ave, Polk City
- Walnut Woods State Park, 3155 SE Walnut Woods Dr., West Des Moines
- Margo Frankel Woods State Park, 6245 NW 2nd St, Des Moines
Interesting Places to Explore
Maffitt Lake 12460 Maffitt Lake Road, Cumming, Iowa
Ankeny DMACC Pond
There’s a great place for sliding down the drainage pipe
Fort Des Moines Park 7200 SE 5th St, Des Moines
Features a fishing pond and trail
Tips for Creek Walking
My biggest piece of advice when going creek stomping is to be prepared.
- You want either an old pair of tennis shoes or shoes specifically made for the water. NO flip-flops or something that will slide off easily.
- My favorite creek-walking shoes ever are speedos similar to these.
- Pack a towel and an extra set of clothes for the walk/ride/bike trip home. There is nothing worse than a 45-minute car ride back in wet, muddy clothes because you weren’t expecting to get in the water.
- Pro Tip: Just keep an extra bag in your car this summer.
There are a lot of cool places to explore in the Des Moines metro area, and as long as you’re careful to avoid poison ivy, oak, and sumac, or an area that has been used as a party zone with broken glass everywhere, you and your kids will have some good old-fashioned fun and experience play the way it used to be.