Des Moines Experience Gift Guide

This guide is sponsored by Des Moines Performing Arts
experience gift ideas in Des Moines

As moms, I think we can agree that all the stuff that comes with the holidays can be overwhelming! This year, create meaningful experiences for your kids and family while supporting local businesses.

Share this guide with friends and family. Enjoy and shop local!

Treat your family to two nights at The Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre at The Des Moines Playhouse with a Family Four-Pack season ticket!

You decide what shows you want to see and when: your 8-year-old can have a date with mom at Ivy + Bean The Musical and grandpa can take your 5-year-old to Dragons Love Tacos, for example.

As with all Playhouse season tickets, benefits beyond savings on tickets include early and discounted registrations on classes (never again miss out on the popular Harry Potter summer camp).

For more information visit Des Moines Playhouse or call 515-277-6261.


More Experience Gift Ideas

Looking to create more memories and have less stuff? Here are our favorite local options. 

Climb Iowa

experience gifts

Get the adventurer on your list a gift card to Climb Iowa. They offer an amazing experience at either of their locations for first-time climbers. The professional staff will be more than happy to assist you in taking the first step into the world of climbing. 


At Artful you can choose from curated craft kits, art projects, private events, and workshops for all ages (both kids and adults) to enjoy.

Rainbow of the Heartland

Give the gift of outdoor play this holiday season. Rainbow Play Systems are a fun way for your kids to play by allowing your kids’ imaginations to run wild. Kids can climb, swing, and slide on Rainbow Play System.

Old School Arcade

What kid wouldn’t love to spend an afternoon playing arcade games? Give them a gift card to Old School Arcade in Grimes and let them play to their heart’s content. Enjoy classics like Pacman, Frogger, and Pinball. 

Real Food for Kids

Aspiring chefs will love these highly personalized cooking classes from Real Food for Kids. Learn about ingredients, follow a recipe, and learn new techniques to prepare a favorite meal. Choose from a variety of classes. 

Warrior Lanes Bowling

Des Moines birthday party

Go bowling a gift card to Warrior Lanes in Waukee. This is a great way to spend a cold afternoon with the whole family. 

Science Center of Iowa

experience gifts

Spark curiosity through exploration, discovery, and learning disguised as play. Explore the Science Center of Iowa’s themed experience platforms full of hands-on exhibits, live interactive demonstrations, planetarium shows, and more!

Kids Empire

Kids Empire
Give the gift of play with a gift card to Kids Empire. This is perfect for winter days when no one wants to be outside. Kids can climb, dance, slide, build, and more! 

The Palms Theatres & IMAX


Palms Theater

Who doesn’t love a trip to to movie theater? Enjoy reclining, heated chairs for a family movie night at The Palms Theatres in Waukee. 

Brenton Skating Plaza 

Spend an afternoon ice skating in downtown Des Moines at the Brenton Skating Plaza. You can gift a one-time experience or get a 10-punch pass card.  

Blue Zoo Des Moines

Blue Zoo

Opening soon in West Des Moines, Blue Zoo is a combination aquarium and zoo. A great gift for animal lovers! 

Five Monkeys, Inc

Five Monkeys

Get creative and paint your own pottery at Five Monkeys, Inc in Valley Junction. Choose from a variety of projects and take home your very own masterpiece! 

What are your favorite places to shop for local experience gifts in Des Moines? 

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Kara Knaack
Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


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