Things to do in Des Moines in January 2024


JANUARY EVENTS GUIDE DES MOINESHappy New Year! Have you resolved to get out more this winter? There are plenty of January events to make that possible. And don’t forget to snag some me-time after the holidays.

Let’s start the year with some fun!

More Winter Fun in Des Moines

Where to Go Sledding
Ice Skating in Des Moines
Winter Bucket List
Outdoor Winter 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 for a morning 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’ll 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 required.

Things to do in Des Moines in January 2024

Jan. 1-31 | Ice Skating, Brenton Skating Plaza
Get outside and go ice skating downtown. Cost is $9.50 for adults and $5.75 for kids 12 and under. You can rent skates for $4.50 or bring your own. Online registration is recommended. Walk-up admission is available if under capacity.

Jan. 2-6 | Try Something New Scavenger Hunt, Forest Avenue Public Library
The new year is a great time to try something new. Can you find all the hobbies to win a prize? Best for ages 6+

Jan. 2 | Clothespin Play, Johnston Public Library
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Clothespin Play is an engaging program designed to promote the development of fine motor skills in children aged 2 to 4. Kids will enhance their dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive abilities while having a blast.

Jan. 2-14 | I Spy: Hobbies, Central Library
January is National Hobby Month! Come celebrate at the Central Library by finding all the pictures in the youth area to claim your prize.

Jan. 5 and 19 | Homeschool Nature Lessons, Jester Park Nature Center
This program series will be delivered in a flexible format that is specially designed for homeschooled students. Cost is free, but registration is required.

Jan 5, 12, 19, 26 | Dome After Dark, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Experience the Botanical Garden in a new light! Enjoy the conservatory and Gardeners Show House illuminated with unique and colorful lighting at this family-friendly event.

Jan. 6 – 7 | Iowa Diecast Toy Show, Iowa State Fairgrounds
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Dealers from around the Midwest set up and sell a wide variety of die-cast toys and related memorabilia. This is a family-friendly event, and there are toys to appeal to all ages.

Jan. 7 | Harlem Globetrotters, Wells Fargo Arena
3 p.m.

Jan. 7 | Art Class: Paint with Coffee and Ink, Hoyt Sherman Place
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Learn how to paint with coffee and learn botanical inking with local artist Betty Walker. All skill levels are welcome. Students will be guided step-by-step through the process of drawing a floral subject in pencil and then inking it out in pen. Afterward, enjoy painting with coffee and gold metallic.

Jan. 8, 22, 29 | Sing and Shake, Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library
1:30 p.m.
Singing, shaking, dancing, and bubbles! Adult participation is required.

Jan. 11 | Drop-In: Scratch Art Bookmarks, East Side Library
Stop in the Children’s Area and make a scratch art bookmark.

Jan. 12 – 14 | STOMP,  Des Moines Civic Center
STOMP is explosive, provocative, sophisticated, utterly unique, and appeals to audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered an armful of awards and rave reviews and has appeared on numerous national television shows.

Jan. 12-14 | Chow’s Winter Classic, Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center
Don’t miss top gymnasts converge in one of the biggest gymnastic meets in the Midwest. With over 1,000 gymnasts competing, including two collegiate meets, this is a must-attend event for any gymnastics fan.

Jan. 12-13 | Cinch’s World’s Toughest Rodeo, Wells Fargo Arena
Bring your little wranglers downtown for a night of rodeo fun. The Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo will spotlight fan-favorite events: Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, and Bareback Riding.

Jan. 13 | Princess Skate, Brenton Skating Plaza
12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Glide around the enchanting plaza and mingle with some of your beloved princess characters. Character appearances are based on availability.

Jan. 16 | Books on Tap, Waukee Public Library
6 p.m.
Meet at Mickey’s Irish Pub (50 S. E. Laurel Street) at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. Come for food, drinks, and a discussion of each month’s book. Copies of the discussion book may be obtained at the Library’s front desk or at Mickey’s during the meeting, while supplies last.

Jan 19 | Family Fun Night, Jester Park Nature Center
6 p.m.
Try bouldering (age 4+) and archery (10+), play a variety of family games and puzzles, and enjoy time outdoors, or in, by the fire making s’mores. Light snacks will be provided. Pay cash (preferred) or card at the door for this open-house-style event. No registration required. $5 per person.

Jan 20 | FamilyFest, Lutheran Church of Hope – Waukee 
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Let the kids burn off some energy at this FREE, family-friendly event by Waukee Parks & Rec. Check out Waukee area businesses, play games, and jump on inflatables.

Jan 21 | Growing in Raised Veggie Gardens Tips & Tricks, Early May Garden Center
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Come learn all the tips and tricks about how to grow in raised veggies gardens this coming gardening season! Does it require more water? How about fertilizer? Are raised beds good for growing all crops?

Jan. 21 | Board Game Day, Peace Tree Brewery
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
This event is family-friendly, so feel free to bring the kids – their game collection is great for all ages.

Jan. 23-28 | Mama Mia, Des Moines Civic Center
A mother. A daughter. 3 possible dads. And a trip down the aisle you’ll never forget! Set on a Greek island paradise where the sun always shines, a tale of love, friendship, and identity is beautifully told through the timeless hits of ABBA.

Jan 24. | Paint & Sip, Big Grove Brewery
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Registration price includes the use of all necessary paint supplies and aprons, instruction, and an 11×14 take-home canvas! All painters receive a free 7 oz pour of beer or seltzer, and 20% off on an appetizer at Big Grove during this event.

Jan. 27 | Cabin Fever Reliever, Greenbelt Landing in Clive
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Activities planned include professional ice sculpting, chainsaw art/woodcarving, ice fishing demonstrations, star gazing telescopes, indoor crafts, campfire rings for smores, food trucks, and more.

Jan. 27 | Winter Wonderland, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Bring your family to enjoy and explore winter and plants at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Activities are available for ages four through 12.

Jan. 28 | Cake Decorating Class, Jasper Winery
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Have an interest in cake decorating, but not sure where to start? This is the class for YOU! Each class, taught by the talented staff at Molly’s Cupcakes, includes a tutorial on designing your 6-inch cake and a glass of wine. Choose your cake, choose your filling, and choose between THREE beginner designs and take your masterpiece home.

 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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