September is here! Celebrate that perfect beginning-of-fall weather with these fun, family-friendly Des Moines events. No need to spend time searching for something to do with your kids (or even for a moms’ night out!) — we’ve done the work for you. The only problem? Choosing between so many fun outings!
Send us an email if we missed anything, and we will add it to the list!
September 2017 events and activities
September 1-2 | Kid’s Closet Connection Fall Consignment Sale, Adventureland Inn, Altoona
Stock up on kid’s clothes for the school year and save 60% – 90% off retail! Admission and parking is free! Kids and strollers are welcome.
September 1-2 | Des Moines Jazz Festival, Des Moines Social Club, 900 Mulberry St., Des Moines
The Des Moines Social Club (DMSC) and Civic Music Association (CMA) will present The 2nd Annual Des Moines Jazz Festival Labor Day weekend. The festival is two days of world-class jazz performances, meet-and-greets, and post-concert jam sessions across the DMSC campus. Kids aged 10 and under are free.
September 1 to October 20 | Circus Exhibit, Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Step right up! “Behind the Scenes of the Circus Big Top, 1890–1965” explores a history fraught with intrigue and majesty and gives viewers their chance to run away with the circus. The exhibit is included with regular Living History Farms admission.
September 2 | Star Party, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
Join SCI staff for some after-hours fun and observe the Moon, planets and other celestial objects! SCI staff will set up several telescopes on the south side of the SCI building by the Martin Luther King Jr sidewalk for you to use. This event is free to the public and occur weather-permitting.
3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Bring the family out for an afternoon of food, fun, environmental education programming, drinks and live music – all illuminated by an evening bonfire. Discounted tickets available in advance. Tickets available at the door are $12 for children and $15 for adults. Children aged two and under are free.
September 4 | Mini Maker Faire, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, artists, educators, crafters, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, and students. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and share what they have learned.
September 7-10 | Pufferbilly Days, Downtown Boone
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Known for being a Railroad Town, Boone celebrates Pufferbilly Days the first weekend after Labor Day each year. Enjoy a carnival, parade, live music, barbecue contest, car show, and more!
September 8 | Family Night, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Explore SCI with your family with $5 general admission, documentary IMAX films and Food Chain Cafe specials. Kick off your weekend by building a rocket, traveling through outer space in one of SCI’s dynamic experience platforms or experiencing a larger-than-life IMAX film (for $5) with extended hours until 8 p.m.
September 8-10 | Just Between Friends Sale, Elwell Family Food Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, 3000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Grab your BFF, a couple of large shopping bags, and come check out this savings extravaganza. You’ll find aisles and aisles of gently used clothes, toys, baby equipment, books, and so much more!
September 9, 10 | Paw Patrol Live!, Civic Center
September 10 | Ladies’ Day Out, Jasper Winery, 2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines
1 – 4 p.m.
Ladies’ Day Out is a non-profit vendor event benefitting the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Shop from more than 30 local vendors. The winery will be serving wine and beverages, and there will be lots raffle prizes, too.
September 15 | Overnight Adventure, Science Center of Iowa
Discover the Science Center of Iowa after dark! Explore exhibits, see live science demonstrations and catch a larger-than-life IMAX film. When it’s time to snooze, roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of SCI.
September 15-16 | Beaverdale Fall Festival, Des Moines
Featuring a kid zone, parade, food vendors, live music, and a carnival, Beaverdale Fall Festival is a Des Moines classic.
September 15-17 | World Food & Music Festival, Gateway Park, Des Moines
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Check out 53 food vendors representing more than 25 countries and culinary regions.
September 16 | Des Moines Moms Blog Family Fun Day, Centennial Park, 1255 Warrior Lane, Waukee
9 a.m. to noon
A morning of fun for the whole family! Tickets are all inclusive and include all activities, snacks, a goody bag for each child ticket, and access to all giveaways as part of our raffle. Ticket price for adults and children is ONLY $5 per ticket. Little ones under 2 years-old are free!
September 16-17, 22-24 | Day Out with Thomas: The Friendship Tour 2017, Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad
Friday noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thomas the Tank Engine rides depart every 60 minutes, rain or shine. Tickets for Day Out with Thomas are $19 for ages two and up.
September 17 | Monarch Festival, Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines
Noon to 4 p.m.
The Festival will highlight the miraculous migration of the monarch butterfly and will offer everything from traditional Mexican dancing, puppet shows, monarch tagging, and habitat education to free seeds (limited supply) to start your own butterfly garden. It will feature a “Bug Parade” – so dress the kids up in their favorite insect costume!
September 21 – East Village Bash, 315 E. 5th St., Des Moines
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Celebrate and support the Historic East Village to raise funds for outdoor holiday lights and other initiatives of the Historic East Village Neighborhood Association. In addition to a silent auction of desirable goods from East Village boutiques, there will be activities, delicious food, and live music. Tickets are $20.
September 23 and 30 | Saturday Story & Sketch, Cowles Commons, Des Moines
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Join Drake Theatre People as they provide live readings of imaginative children’s literature and family-friendly art activities.
September 23 | Fresh Fest Hip Hop Music Festival, Brenton Skating Plaza, Des Moines
1 p.m. to midnight
Fresh Fest is an annual festival curated by Media Fresh Records. Local and regional hip hop acts will be featured, along with more than 25 vendors and food trucks. All ages welcome. Children 10 and under are free with an adult.
September 23 | Applefest, Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Spend the afternoon in our 1875 town celebrating all things apple! Try your hand at stirring the copper kettle of apple butter and take your turn cranking the cider press. Children’s games and crafts round out the fun.
September 23 | Illumifest: Festival of Lights Royal Promenade, 4200 George Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines
5 – 7 p.m.
This unique event, created to complement the Illumifest special event, is brought to you by West Des Moines and Little Princess Parties. Join several princess characters for a meet-and-greet before the Illumifest movie (Live-action Beauty and the Beast) plays on the giant 28′ outdoor movie screen. Characters will be stationed around the pond as the sun begins to set and fill the sky with golden light! Registration is $10 and includes an autograph book.
September 23-24 | Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival, John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines
Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The festival includes traditional Latin American foods from countries that include Cuba, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Argentina, and a variety of entertainment from martial arts performers to folkloric dancers, artists’ works and displays about the history of Latin American cultures. New this year: More entertainment opportunities for children and more emphasis on healthy lifestyles. There will be mini soccer demonstrations for children, visits from Latina princesses, activities from the Des Moines Playhouse, and more.
September 23 – 29 | Rhea Lana’s, 801 S Ankeny Blvd, Old Hancock building, Ankeny
9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The premier children’s consignment event in Ankeny-Des Moines! Admission and Parking are always free. You will find name brand items at a fraction of retail.
September 24 | Hy-Vee Pinky Swear 5K and Fun Run, Principal Park, Des Moines
The Hy-Vee Pinky Swear 5K & Fun Run connects fitness and fundraising to support kids with cancer in the community and across the country. All ages and fitness levels are invited to become “keepers of the pinky swear promise” through an inspiring run/walk and family fitness festival in honor of All-Star kids with cancer. All participants receive a fundraising packet, participant t-shirt and bib, race bag, and finishers medal.
September 28 | The Pump and Dump Show, Funny Bone, 560 S Prairie View Dr,, West Des Moines
Enjoy this Moms’ Night Out event filled with irreverent fun, boisterous laughter, hilarious music, games, and prizes. Tickets are $25.
September 29 | Friday Funday: The Reluctant Dragon, Des Moines Community Playhouse
9:30 a.m.; 10:45 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.
Interactive Theatre Shows for children ages 4-6!
September 30 | Date Night to Beat Cancer, Speck USA Showroom
Doors open at 6 p.m., event starts at 7 p.m.
Beat Cancer Today is hosting the first annual Date Night to Beat Cancer fundraiser. Guests will enjoy heavy hors doeuvres, cash bar, raffle, and silent auction.
September 30 | Girls in Science Pajama Party, Science Center of Iowa
This girls-only event includes team challenges and hands-on activities and local women from STEM fields sharing their stories and discussing their careers.