Things to do in Des Moines in April 2024


Mark your calendars for Kites on the Green on Saturday, May 4. Get set for a day filled with free, family-friendly activities and fun! Not to mention, it’s also the unofficial Star Wars holiday, so May the 4th be with you as you join the fun.

There are tons of new activities and performances including:

  • a magic show and balloon animals with Jonathan May
  • stilt walking and mesmerizing sway pole performances by Laura Ernst with Kinetic Entertainment
  • two obstacle bounce houses
  • and many more fun, FREE activities for your family.

Thank you to the major sponsors whose support has made this event possible – Veridian Credit Union, Polk County Board-Supervisors, Snyder & Associates, and The Foth Companies. 

For more information and a schedule of all the activities:


Ongoing Events in Des Moines

Tuesday & Thursdays | Toddler Time, Get Air
10 a.m.
Little jumpers get special access to the trampolines on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Admission is $8.99 (free for a parent). It’s a great way to burn some winter energy!

Thursdays | Caterpillar Club, Reiman Gardens in Ames
Get outside and have some fun with a weekly storytime at Reiman Gardens. This program is designed for kids ages 2-5 with an adult. Program is included with general admission to Reiman Gardens.

Thursdays | Tot Town, Valley Community Center
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Bring the little ones out to play at the Valley Community Center. This event is free.

Thursdays | Imagination Station, Valley Community Center
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Get crafty with your kids (without any mess in your house). Each week you’ll make a different winter craft. It’s a great activity to keep little ones and preschoolers busy this winter. 

2nd Monday of the Month | Storytime with Ruby the Reading Red Panda, Blank Park Zoo
11 a.m.
Once a month, go to Ruby’s Story Time at the Zoo. Each month they read a story and you get to meet a special live ambassador animal from the Zoo’s education department.

1st Thursday of the Month | Toddler Tales, Jester Park Nature Center
Let your imagination run wild with this nature-themed story time. Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft. This event is designed for ages 3 and up.

Once a Month on Wednesdays | Knee-High Naturalists, Jester Park Nature Center
Are you ready to get outside and explore? Come and hear a story followed by some outdoor fun! As naturalists, you will hike, investigate, and navigate the trails and grounds of Jester Park as you learn what makes the outdoors such an amazing place. Dress to be outside. Cost is free; registration is required.

Things to Do in Des Moines in April 2024

April 1 | Cupcakes in Disguise, Altoona Public Library
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
April Fool your friends and family with cupcakes that look like other foods! We’ll decorate cupcakes to look like foods such as ramen, pie, nachos, and spaghetti that you can take with you.

April 1 – 13 | Solar Eclipse Scavenger Hunt!, South Side Library
Drop in and search the library for all of the items on the sheet and win a prize.

April 2 | Iowa Cubs Baseball Opening Day, Principal Park
6:38 p.m.
Take your favorite baseball fans out to see the Iowa Cubs during opening weekend.

April 5 – May 30 | Wild Lights Festival, Blank Park Zoo
7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Enjoy a visually stunning festival of larger-than-life illuminated animal-shaped Asian lanterns. Immerse your family in light and culture in a festival. Non-peak tickets: $23 per person; $19 for zoo members, peak tickets: $25 per person; $21 for zoo members.

April 6 | Sit n’ Stitch, North Side Library
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Spend a few hours with other crafters and work on your knit, crochet, or needlecraft projects. Bring your own supplies and projects with you. Pleasant company is provided to share ideas and inspiration!

April 5 | John Mellencamp, Des Moines Civic Center
8 p.m.
The Live and In Person tour celebrates Mellencamp’s most recent album, Orpheus Descending, released to widespread critical acclaim this June on Republic Records.

April 6 | Beauty and the Beast, Hoyt Sherman Place
1 p.m.
School of Classical Ballet and Dance Presents this brand-new classical ballet production of Beauty and the Beast, choreographed by Lori Grooters. Enjoy this captivating story as Beauty goes on an adventure to rescue her father and is unexpectedly trapped in a huge castle.

April 8 | Solar Eclipse Watch Party, Iowa Arboretum 
12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Come see the solar eclipse. Bring your solar eclipse glasses and chairs and enjoy the afternoon. Admission is $10.

April 11 | Mean Girls, Stephens Auditorium
7:30 p.m.
Direct from Broadway, Mean Girls the hilarious hit musical comes to Stephens Auditorium.

April 12 | Nature Center After Dark – Hawaiian Luau, Jester Park Nature Center
6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Visit the Jester Park Nature Center after dark. The hour will include storytelling, crafts, open Nature Center exhibits, and a short program on the theme of the night. Feel free to wear your grass skirts and Hawaiian leis.

April 12 | Friday FunDay: The Golden Goose, Des Moines Playhouse
10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
This interactive show is geared toward kids ages 4 to 6. It is the tale of family bonds and acts of kindness as three siblings discover a Golden Goose hidden in an enchanted forest. 

April 12 | Taylor Swift Skate, Skateland
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Join them for 2 hours of Taylor Swift’s top hits. Open skate starts at 4 p.m. Come early if you’d like, Taylor’s best hits will start at 6 p.m.

April 13 | Kite Building Workshop, Johnston Public Library
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Get ready for the 10th Annual Kites on the Green Festival on Saturday, May 4 by attending a free Kite Making Workshop at Johnston Public Library. Attendees will receive a free kite-making kit, personal instruction, and a chance to test their new kite.

April 14 | Love You Des Moines FAMILY Day, Valley Community Center

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Bring the whole family for an afternoon of fun and games! There will be multiple activities taking place for all ages to participate in. This is a free event and registration is not required.

April 13 – 14 | Monster Jam, Iowa Event Center
Lovers of big trucks will have an incredible time at Monster Jam. It’s an action-packed motorsports experience for families. Monster Jam features world-class athletes locked in intense competitions of speed and skill. 

April 16 | Women in the Woods with Wine, Jester Park Nature Center
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with a glass of wine before we light up the night – with fire. We will share some tips and tricks so you can easily master or improve fire building. Show off your new skill as a pro fire starter at your next camp, cookout, or bonfire. Dress for the weather as the program will take place outdoors.

April 18 | Kane Brown: In The Air Tour, Wells Fargo Arena
7 p.m.
Don’t miss country star Kane Brown with special guests Tyler Hubbard and Parmalee.

April 20 | What Do You Do With An Idea?, Des Moines Civic Center
11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Told through movement, music, and narration, an ensemble of dancers creates a magical world where ideas grow and take flight. Based on the New York Times best-selling book, this is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, or too difficult.  

April 20 | ChildServe’s Bubble Ball
5:30 p.m.
The Bubble Ball is ChildServe’s signature gala – and one of Des Moines’ most unique events! Volunteer designers debut their Bubble Wrap creations as part of a themed runway show production and gallery of stationary designs. Attendees are treated to dinner, musical entertainment, performances, and other surprises.

April 20 | Free Admission for Earth Day, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Visit Des Moines’ favorite indoor garden for free in celebration of Earth Day. 

April 20 | Healthy Kids Day, Des Moines YMCA
Learn how the Y is helping support kids and families keep their minds and bodies healthy and active.

April 20 | Wildflower Walk and Pollinator House Build, Grandview Park Mahaffey Shelter
10 am to 12 pm 
Enjoy a guided hike along the scenic nature trail, where you’ll discover vibrant wildflowers in full bloom and learn all about the fascinating insects that visit them. Pre-registration required.

April 21 | Grand Blue Mile, Downtown Des Moines
The Grand Blue Mile is the Midwest’s premier community street run for all ages and abilities. Held annually since 2010, the Grand Blue Mile has hosted more than 35,000 participants, including Olympic medalists, American record holders, and many of the world’s finest track and field athletes. Bring your family and be a part of the magic.

April 21-27 | Drake Relays, Drake University
Witness the best of the best at the Drake Relays. Go for one session or the whole weekend. Tickets start at $15

April 22 | Changemakers Luncheon, Iowa Events Center
10:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Formerly known as the Every Woman Counts Luncheon, this annual fundraiser is an uplifting and inspi­ra­tional oppor­tunity to celebrate babies saved while raising awareness and funds to support their mission. Join the community of Count the Kicks Change­makers who are working to create systemic change, improve birth outcomes, and make still­birth a maternal health tragedy of the past.

April 25 | Bingo with Cats, Coffee Cats WDM
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Bingo in the Cat Lounge! Join them for a night of bingo and cats. There will be prizes! Each person entering the lounge will need to buy a reserved spot $12.50 each.

April 25 – 26 | Zach Bryan, Wells Fargo Arena
7 p.m.
See Zach Bryan over two nights on The Quittin’ Time Tour with special guests The Middle.

April 25 | Garden Design for Beginners, Des Moines Botanical Garden
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Want to get into garden design but don’t know where to start? Learn from an expert at the Botanical Garden! This beginner-level class will show you how to plan and plant a beautiful garden perfect for your skill level. Learn how to plan out your space, research and select the right plants, and create a color scheme like the pros! Registration required.

April 26-May 18 | Central Campus Plant Sale205 County Line Rd
The Central Campus Horticulture students will be selling perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, veggies, herbs, houseplants, and more.
April 27 | Fiberfest, Franklin Event Center
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Des Moines Weavers and Spinners Guild hosts Fiberfest. Come enjoy classes, check out vendors with their weaving and spinning wares, see some Angora bunnies, or come for the camaraderie by meeting up with fellow guild members and other fiber enthusiasts.

April 27 | Baby Prom & Graduation, Waukee Public Library
10 a.m.
You are invited to a celebration of your little one’s milestones! Feel free to dress in your best and stop by for a baby-friendly dance party, plus a graduation celebration for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten participants! If you aren’t already a part of the 1,000 Books program, you can sign up at the event or at the library anytime.

May 4 | Kites on the Green, Johnston Commons
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Head to the Johnston Commons for the eleventh annual Kites on the Green event on Saturday, May 4. You’ll enjoy giant show kite displays, kite fighting, free kite building, bol racing, live music, an inflatable obstacle course, and more.

Send us an email if we missed any fun things to do in Des Moines, 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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