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Things to Do

The city of Des Moines has a long history back to the 17th Century, but that doesn’t mean that it is old and dull by any means!  Both residents and tourist enjoy the attractions that the city offers.

The Des Moines area is a thriving, diverse destination known for it’s outdoor activities, attractions, nightlife and above all…fun!  Here are some of our favorite things to do in Des Moines.

Adventureland Park – located in Altoona, just northeast of Des Moines, Adventureland Park offers over 100 rides, shows and attractions. The park’s plan and layout was inspired by Disneyland. As you enter the park, you arrive at the train station. Just beyond the station is the Main Street area, just like Disneyland. Plan out your trip before you go because the park offers many themed areas such as Adventure Bay, Alpine Village, Bernie’s Barnyard, County Fair, Dragon Island, Last Frontier, Outlaw Gulch, Space Shot Midway and more.

Living History Farms – Living History Farms is an outdoor interactive museum. Its purpose is to educate and entertain people of all ages to experience 300 years of Midwest frontier history. Bring your family to this 500-acre open-air museum. Before you visit, check their calendar for seasonal activities and demonstrations.

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden – This 7-acre open-to-the-public garden is a must see attraction while in Des Moines. Enjoy exotic flora in their iconic geodesic-domed conservatory that features tropical and desert plants. Stroll thru the garden and enjoy the water garden, rose garden and conifer garden before you stop for lunch at Trellis Café. Round out your day by shopping at the Garden Shop. Check their calendar before visiting for regularly scheduled classes.

John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park – Located in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park, this 4.4 acre park features 31 sculptures that were created by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists. The original 24 sculptures were donated by philanthropists and art collectors, John and Mary Pappajohn

Des Moines Art Route – Put on your walking shoes and get ready to enjoy murals, architecture, 6 painted street intersections and sculptures. The Des Moines Art Route features 87 pieces of public art and guides viewers thru the route with a painted sidewalk path of circles and chevrons, so no map is needed.

Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel – located next to Adventurland in Altoona, this complex features live horse racing from April to October. The casino is ready to test your luck with over 2100 slot machines and 54 game tables.  If you are hungry, check out AJ’s Steakhouse and, if you want to stay awhile, their hotel offers a heated indoor pool, business center, fitness center, a bar and lounge. The Finish Line Show Lounge is a great place to take in some live entertainment on the weekends.