September Family-Friendly Events in Des Moines

This post is sponsored by Living History Farms.

September events

We are thrilled to partner with Living History Farms to bring you this guide to family-friendly event guide. 

Make plans to go to Living History Farms for Applefest, September 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit their historic sites to see how past cooks would prepare and serve apple recipes, such as apple butter, cake or pie, and cider. Print an apple recipe in the print shop and purchase some apple treats to enjoy from local vendors. And, for even more fun, catch the action at an 1870s-rules baseball game.

With a new school year starting, we’re all trying to adjust to new routines and new schedules. If you’re doing remote learning or homeschool, there are some great online storytimes and local events here that you can use to supplement learning. We also found lots of outdoor activities for families to enjoy.

We didn’t forget about you, mom. There are weekly yoga in the park sessions, a huge consignment sale, and lactation support groups for new moms that will have you feeling calm, confident, and connected.


September 26 | Applefest, Living History Farms
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy a day of family fun celebrating apple harvest season! Visit the historic sites to see how past cooks would prepare and serve apple recipes, such as apple butter, cake or pie, and cider. Print an apple recipe in the print shop and purchase some apple treats to enjoy from local vendors. And, for even more fun, catch the action at an 1870s-rules baseball game* at 1:30 p.m.

You can also purchase tasty treats from Iowa Orchard including bags of apples, homemade caramel apples, homemade pies (whole and by the slice), freshly pressed apple cider, preserves and honey, and tasty fudge! You can also get your fair food fix with hot beef sundaes, deep fried oreos, tenderloins, and walking tacos from Fair Food Fridays Food Truck.

*Please note: This season they have removed the bleachers to encourage social distancing. Please bring a lawn chair or blanket to watch the game and spread out from other visitors.

septemberAugust 31 – September 7 | Fall Flight, Water Works Park
Soak your senses and celebrate the importance of clean water and open spaces. Join Water Works Park’s Foundations partners for a week of free activities designed to safely immerse you in our natural resources.

September 1– November 8 | Farmyard, Center Grove Orchard
All month long you can pick apples and let the kids play in the farmyard. Toward the end of the month, pumpkins will be ready. Be sure to visit the sunflower field for a great photo opp. Admission is $12 during the week and $16 on the weekends. Season passes are also available for $40.

September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 | Storytime Online, Waukee Public Library (Virtual)
Every Wednesday there is a new storytime video from the team at Waukee Public Library. Work this into your routine at home whenever it works for your family and enjoy an engaging storytime experience.

September 3 | Toddler Tales, Jester Park Nature Center
10 a.m.
Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed storytime! Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft. This event is free, but registration is required.

September 3, 10. 17, 24 | Caterpillar Connection, Reiman Gardens (Virtual)
Tune in for a nature-themed storytime with the team at Reiman Gardens. This is a great way to supplement homeschool or remote learning days for preschoolers and early elementary-age kids.

September 3, 10, 17, 24 | Gentle Yoga, Greenwood Park
7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Gather at the Sylvan Theater in Greenwoork Park (behind the Art Center), for a relaxing and peaceful yoga glow. This is a wonderful opportunity to forget the chaos of life. Bring a mat and a towel. Masks are also encouraged until the session begins. Cost is a free-will donation.

September 3 | Teen Take & Make, Johnston Public Library
Calling all big kids! This is a great activity for middle school and junior high students. Register Sept 1-2, and pick up your crafting kit on Sept. 3 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. This week’s project is to make dragon eggs.

September 4 | Homeschool Day, Living History Farms
Since there are more of us doing homeschool this year, plan your first field trip to Living History Farms where you can learn about history together. Demonstrations and activities will take place 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. TIP: You can save $1 on admission when you purchase tickets online.

September 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 | Science Center Exhibits, Science Center of Iowa
To reduce crowds, the Science Center is only open on weekends, and tickets are sold online for a specific time. Your family can get back to this fun-filled museum, full of STEM learning opportunities, without being exposed to a large crowd. 

September 5-7, 12-13, 19-20 | Renaissance Faire, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park
Take a step back in time to an old-world filled with a mix of fantasy and history. Adults and children alike can become a knight or lady-in-waiting, a pirate or fairy, or simply remain an entertained observer. There is a different theme each weekend. Tickets start at $12 online.

September 7 – November 3 | Howell’s Pumpkin Patch, Howell’s Farm
Fun on the farm is open for the fall season starting September 7. Daily admission is $11, but season passes are available for $30 if you plan to again and again. With wagon rides, pedal tractors, giant slides, and lots of outdoor fun, this is a great place to hang out this fall.

September 7, 15, 26 | Boots and Books, Muddy Boots Forest Camp
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Meet at a local park and enjoy a toddler-paced hike. Then it’s snack and storytime. Every kid gets to go home with a new book to read. Cost is $8.

September 9, 23 | Lactation Support Group, Sacred Health
10:30 a.m.
This is a great way for new moms to find support on their breastfeeding journey. Meet other mothers, and get assistance with latching, pumping, positioning, and more. Registration is preferred, not required.

September 11-13 | Just Between Friends Sale, State Fairgrounds
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Grab your BFF, a couple of large shopping bags, and check out this savings extravaganza. You’ll find aisles and aisles of gently used clothes, toys, baby equipment, books, and so much more! (Can’t make it on Friday or Saturday? On Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., many items are 50-percent off!)

September 14 | Boots and Beats, Muddy Boots Forest Camp
10 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.
Designed for kiddos three and under, this session combines music and nature for a fun outing with mom (or any caregiver) and baby. You’ll enjoy a toddler-paced hike and then gather to sing and make music with shakers, sticks, and drums. Cost is $8.

September 19 | Vintage + Made Fair, Dallas County Fairgrounds, Adel
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Don’t miss this popular event featuring indie crafts, local artists, food, and more! Prepurchase tickets online or at the gate.

September 19 | Walk to Save Animals, Blank Park Zoo
10 a.m.
Sign up to walk and fundraise for the Blank Park Zoo. All the funds will go to support the zoo animals. Bring the whole family and walk in-person or register for free to do it virtually.

September 26 | Fall Family Fun Ride, the ride begins at Captain Roy’s
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Join Des Moines Parks and Recreation for a 10-mile bike ride. There is a family-friendly scavenger hunt that is included with registration, where you are challenged to find city amenities along the route based on photos and riddles. The scavenger hunt is a fun activity for you, your family or group; no submission required or prizes included.
Registration: $10
Virtual Registration: $12

September 29 | Grandparenting Class, Eastview Community Center
6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
This class is led by a grandma (from Basking Babies) with 35 years of nursing and teaching experience. This one-of-a-kind class gets grandparents who are excited to be involved in baby care and shares with them the basics of how things have changed since they raised you. Class is $50 for a set of two grandparents.

Send us an email if we missed anything, and we’ll add your event to the list.

We work hard to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.

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Megan Boettcher
Content Coordinator Megan doesn’t really fall into any one mom category. With three kids from ages 5 to 12, she’s been a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. She’s breastfed and bottle-fed. She’s kept kids on strict sleeping schedules in their own beds and also embraced the benefits of co-sleeping. She’s a big believer in finding what works for you and your kiddo (and it’s often different for each kid). Megan is an Iowa native and lives in Ankeny with her husband Darren. They love to travel and are often planning their next road trip (even it’s a year away). They also enjoy entertaining and are famous among their friends for throwing big bashes to celebrate the Olympic Games. But her everyday life is mostly comprised of playdates, trips to the park, and trying to stay ahead of the never-ending laundry pile.    


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