With our April guide to events and activities in Des Moines, your family will have no reason to say, “Mom, I’m bored!” — trust us!
This curated calendar features unique spring events (Beautiful Bulldog Contest! Donut festivals! Astronauts! Free pony rides!). Here’s to enjoying all that Des Moines has to offer this month: no assembly required.
April 2018 events and activities
April 5 | Iowa Cubs Opening Day, Principal Park, Des Moines
Take the family to an opening day at the ballpark. Get the first look at Chicago’s next wave of stars, taste test Principal Park’s new food and drink options, and of course, enjoy a ball game! First pitch is set for 3:08 p.m. against the Oklahoma City Dodgers. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive an Iowa Cubs 2018 magnet schedule.
April 6 | Friday Funday: Sleeping Beauty, Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines
9:30 a.m, 10:45 a.m, and 1:30 p.m.
Enjoy some interactive theatre created for young children. Tickets are $5.
April 6-8 | Iowa Horse Festival, Iowa State Fair Grounds, Des Moines
Daily, noon to 4 p.m
Enjoy free wagon and pony rides along with a kid’s fun area, equestrian trail conference, rodeos, mule jumping, drill team competition, an opportunity to drive a two-horse hitch, and more than 100 vendors. Kids 12 and under are free; general admission for adults is $10.
April 7 | Coffee & Donut Festival, 7 Flags Event Center, Clive
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The 2nd Annual Coffee & Donut Festival Des Moines will feature local donut and coffee vendors, donut-themed games and entertainment, and the opportunity to vote for best coffee and best donut. Kids under five are free, and tickets for kids 6-12 are $5. VIP tickets are $30 and general admission is $20.
April 7 | Rosie’s Zoo Celebration, Des Moines Public Library (South Side)
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Celebrate South Side Library’s renovated children’s area, “Rosie’s Zoo.” Families can make an animal mask craft, explore the new space, view live animals from the Blank Park Zoo, and meet Rosie, the library’s mascot/zookeeper. This free event is open to all ages.
April 7 and April 21| Kite Building Workshop, Johnston Public Library
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Get ready for the 5th Annual Kites on the Green Festival on Saturday, May 5, at a free Kite Making Workshop on April 7 or April 21 at Johnston Public Library. Attendees will receive a free kite-making kit, personal instruction, and a chance to test out their new kite.
April 7 | Mad Science Party, Des Moines Vineyard Church, 2332 Euclid Ave., Des Moines
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Bring your kids ages three and up to visit science stations with a variety of experiments, demonstrations, space-themed snacks, make-and-take projects, and more!
April 11 | Chrysalis Rocks: Create Kindness Rocks, The Hall DSM, West Des Moines
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Kindness rocks have become a movement to share encouragement and happy thoughts in a simple way. Attendees will make special kindness rocks for more than 800 adolescent girls in local Chrysalis After-School programs. Attendees will also learn how Chrysalis assures that girls succeed in school, gain confidence, and prepare for life while designing their own kindness rocks. Rocks and paint provided at this free event.
April 13 | Astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson at Drake, Sheslow Auditorium, Des Moines
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
With a total of 665 days in space, Peggy Whitson holds the U.S. record, placing eighth on the all-time space endurance list. The Iowa native also completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the station for Expedition 5 in 2002, and was the station commander for Expedition 16 in 2008. She is receiving this year’s Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award. This event is free but advanced tickets are required.
April 14 | Goldie’s Kids Club: History Mystery, State Historical Museum of Iowa, Des Moines
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Be a detective and investigate objects from the museum’s collection vault to see if you can guess how the objects were used. Adults and children can work together to solve the History Mystery. This program is recommended for children 8-12 years old. Each child must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the program.
April 14 | Young Women’s Resource Center Gala, Ron Pearson Center, 5820 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines
5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Enjoy this fun, meaningful way to support young women throughout Greater Des Moines while spending time with fellow community members. The evening begins with a silent auction, wine pull, and dinner. Guests will also have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win item/experience packages worth at least $500. This event is open to all ages, but is generally considered to be an adult-focused event. Individual tickets are $125.
April 15 | Sensory Sensitive Skate, Skate North Incrediroll, Des Moines
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
April is Autism awareness month and attendees with sensory sensitivities are welcome to join for a special skating event. No disco lights will be turned on and music will be very low (or off if requested). Admission to skate is $6 and skate rentals are $4. Non-skaters can walk out on the floor to help skaters.
April 18 | Goldie’s Kids Club: Story Hour About Beekeeping, State Historical Museum of Iowa, Des Moines
9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Listen to a short story about bees and then examine artifacts and exhibits related to the story. This program is recommended for children 3-7 years old. Each child must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the free program.
April 21 | Cabin Fever Event Series: Festival of Cheese, Living History Farms, Urbandale
3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Need some grown-up time? Visit with cheesemongers and other local food experts about their crafts, while tasting their wares in a casual atmosphere. Sign up for a 30-minute class exploring fondue with CJ Biernert of the Cheese Shop of Des Moines or cheese boards with Arielle Neher of Hy-Vee. Advanced tickets are available online through April 20 at noon.
April 21 | 2018 Central Iowa Heart Walk, 17th & Locust, Downtown Des Moines
9 a.m. to noon
How can you make a positive difference in the lives of your friends, family, and co-workers? Join the Heart Walk and make the commitment to lead a heart healthy life and become healthy for good.
April 22 | 39th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest, Drake University Knapp Center, Des Moines
Noon to 3 p.m.
The Beautiful Bulldog Contest, a Drake Relays tradition now in its 39th year, was the first-of-its-kind in the nation and continues to be a model for imitators from several states. The winner, who receives top honors as well as a crown and cape, appears before his or her royal subjects of 16,000 fans at the Drake Relays to be officially honored as the Relays mascot. This event is free and open to the public.
April 24 | Every Woman Counts Luncheon, Iowa Events Center, Des Moines
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Join the fourth annual Every Woman Counts Luncheon in supporting Count the Kicks and a mission to empower moms and save babies. This year’s event features the hilarious and inspiring Melissa Radke, whose book “Eat Cake. Be Brave.” comes out in June.
April 25 | Capital Square Pole Vault, Capital Square, Des Moines
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Join the Drake Relays team in the atrium at Capital Square to get up close and personal with world-class pole vaulters as they take to the skies. This kid-friendly event is free and open to the public.
April 27-29 | Junk Jubilee, Iowa State Fair Grounds, Des Moines
Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Explore treasure from industrial to architectural salvage, galvanized to farmhouse, vintage to retro. A $25 ticket is good all weekend. General admission is $8 daily. Children ages 14 and under are free.
April 28 | Attic Art Sale + Fundraiser, Compass Financial Services, 4801 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines
2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Shop for a purpose! This event will raise funds for Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage. Browse original art from local artists, reproductions and prints, photography, sculptures, quilts, pottery, and more. Central Iowa locals Lona Love and Penny Bassman have been gathering what they call “Attic Art” from all their friends: art of all kinds collecting dust in their homes. Lona and Penny are celebrating their 70th birthdays with snacks, drinks, and birthday cake. All proceeds go to advance the work of Cornerstone of Hope.
April 28 | Kids Yoga with Go Go Yoga for Kids, Colby Park, Windsor Heights
10:30 a.m. to noon
Sara Weis, owner and founder of Go Go Yoga for Kids, will lead a 30-minute kids yoga practice, made for preschool/school-aged children. Bring a yoga mat (or beach towel) and water.
April 28 | Market Day April: Spring Handmade Market, The Atrium at Capital Square, Des Moines
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy an ’80s-themed handmade and vintage market. Shop more than 65 independent makers, creators, and artists. Big City Burgers will be open and slinging burgers and beer. Mars Cafe will bring the caffeine.
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.