March into spring with family-friendly events all-around Des Moines. Don’t miss annual events like March Madness at Cowles Commons, Just Between Friends consignment sale, and the DSM Book Festival. Plus, check out extra fun events for spring break.
Wednesdays | Arts & Snacks, Johnston Public Library
3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Plan an after-school art session at the library. Kids in grades K-5 can drop in for a variety of art activities on Wednesday afternoons. All supplies will be provided as well as light snacks and beverages.
Tuesday & Thursdays | Toddler Time, Get Air
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!
6:15 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Families with children of various ages will delight in making memories during the Thursday night programs. These programs are free, and pre-registration is necessary. Please register each child who will be attending the programs where registration is required. Go online, call, or stop in the library to register.
Things to do in Des Moines in March 2023
February 24 – March 12 | The Hundred Dresses, Des Moines Playhouse
Maddie Reeves has a dilemma. New classmate Wanda Petronski is a Polish immigrant with one dress. Peggy is a popular rich girl with dozens. When Peggy makes fun of Wanda, Maddie learns that being a bystander can be just as bad as being a bully.
6 p.m – 9 p.m.
Sample the night away as the finest restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries in Iowa come together for the popular tasting event and fundraiser. All proceeds raised during the event directly support Des Moines Metro Opera’s music education programs. Tickets are all-inclusive and only $50 if purchased in advance.
March 4 | Family Fun Night, Pioneer Columbus Community Rec Center
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Enjoy an inflatable obstacle course, laser tag, animals from the Blank Park Zoo, a live magic show meet the Des Moines Police Department & Des Moines Fire Department members plus, take home a special project from the Greater Des Moines Botanical Center. Cost is $10.
March 4 | Dinofest, Indianola Public Library
The 2nd Annual Dinofest means even MORE dino-stuff! Dinosaurs, stories, crafts, games, activities. It’s going to be dino-tastic!
1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Meet Jester Park Nature Center’s Resident spider, cockroach, or snake and learn about these unique animals. Discover the importance of the ambassador animals and their special role in education. View them close up and live, watch them move, and touch these unique critters.
5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Join in for a fun night of music with your little ones ages birth to preschool. They will be playing instruments, singing, dancing, puppet and dramatic play, movement exploration, and sing-along time with the guitar and ukulele.
March 13 | Storytime with Ruby the Reading Red Panda, Blank Park Zoo
Enjoy a world of books with Ruby the Reading Red Panda. Ruby is a plush red panda who loves to read. Learn new crafts, meet some Zoo animals and get ideas on how to get outside and explore nature in our own backyards.
March 14, 15 | Family Escape Room, Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library
Multiple time slots available.
Bring your family and friends and try to rescue an Italian plumber from the castle of a fire-breathing turtle! This super brother is trapped, and it’s up to you to follow the clues and bring him home safely. Gather your team (3-8 people), register for your timeslot, and see if you can save the hero!
March 16-18 | Hoops and Hops, Cowles Commons
Plan an afternoon or evening out with your partner or a group of basketball friends to enjoy the NCAA tournament. The event is free to watch games on large screen TVs (in heated tents), and there will be food trucks and a beer tent available to purchase food and drinks.
March 17 | St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Downtown
Join the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of Central Iowa for their annual parade that starts just before the intersection of Mulberry and 15th streets and makes its way to Grand Avenue. Don’t forget to wear green!
March 17 | Spring Break Story Sprouts, Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens
Join us for this fun, interactive storytime for children ages 2 to 5 that explores nature and plants. The theme is deserts. Cost is free for members, $3/youth non-member, and adults & seniors pay general admission.
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Don’t miss the Globetrotter stars and their amazing basketball skill, outrageous athleticism, and a non-stop LOL good time.
March 24 | Kids Night Out, Blank Park Zoo
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Parents, enjoy a kid-free evening while the kids enjoy the zoo! Let us be your sitter for the night and send the kids to Blank Park Zoo for an animal-tastic evening. Kids will experience the exhibits after hours, an ambassador animal program, crafts, stories, games, and more. Pizza dinner is included.
March 24-26 | Just Between Friends Sale, Iowa State Fairgrounds
Friday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (half-price sale day)
Stock up on shorts and t-shirts for the summer at a deep discount at this huge sale. For new moms, this is also a great place to stock up on baby gear, toys, and books.
March 25 | DSM Book Festival, Capital Square
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The DSM Book Festival connects people who love books with people who create them. The Festival features nationally acclaimed authors, hands-on workshops, children’s activities, and more. You can also support your favorite local merchants and business and literary programs that will be in attendance on-site and near the venue in Downtown Des Moines (DSM).
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free Admission. Comics, Toys, Action Figures, Artists & Craftsmen, Trading Cards, and more!
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Check out thousands of reptiles, amphibians, feeders, invertebrates, supplies, and more. Bring your kids, and explore the show. There will also be a huge variety of supplies including cages, tanks, bedding, toys, and decorative items.
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.