Spring is in the air and there are so many great things to do in Des Moines in May! The month kicks off with Tulip Time in Pella and the Des Moines Farmer’s Market and wraps up with the end of school and Memorial Day weekend. We hope you use this guide to get out and enjoy all that Des Moines has to offer this month.
Send us an email if we missed anything, and we will add it to the list!
May 2017 events and activities
Through May 21 | Fancy Nancy The Musical, Des Moines Community Playhouse
Nancy believes more is ALWAYS better when it comes to being fancy. She loves her frilly bedroom, her lace-trimmed socks, and will take any chance she gets to show-off her fancy French!
May 1 | Living History Farms Opening Day, Living History Farms
Summer season hours begin. Open daily.
May 1 | May Day, Brown’s Woods
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Enjoy a short hike at Brown’s Woods, look for spring wildflowers, and make a May Day basket to take home.
May 4 – 6 | Tulip Time Festival, Pella
May 4 | Farmers Market/Music in the Junction, Historic Valley Junction
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
May 6 | Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market, 300 Court Ave
7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Every Saturday until October 28
May 6 | YESS Duck Derby, Jordan Creek Town Center
12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Adopt a duck for as little as a $5 donation and watch it race across the Jordan Creek Town Center lake. Every duck adopted helps children find safety and care at YESS, Iowa’s largest emergency shelter for kids.
May 6 | Cinco de Mayo Festival, Valley Junction
12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Enjoy Mexican foods, artwork, live music, dancing and family activities
May 6 | Kites on the Green, Johnston Commons, 6700 Merle Hay Road
May 6 | Mother’s Day Mom and Child Cooking Class, Real Food 4 Kids
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
May 7 | Paint Your Dreams, Union Park 725 Thompson Ave., Des Moines
12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Paint beautiful water color pictures by Palek Studio, ride the carousel, have your face painted by ArielPaints, meet Buttons the Clown and more! The Outside Scoop and Miss Molly’s Jamaican Patty food trucks will be on site for purchase.
May 11 | Tail Waggin’ Tales, Ames Public Library
May 12 | Cinderella, Des Moines Community Playhouse
9:30 a.m.; 10:45 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.
May 12 | Family Night at Science Center of Iowa
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
May 13 | Bubble Run, Iowa State Capitol, 1007 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines
May 13 | Bike and Cache, 580 SE 54th St. Ankeny, IA
Grab your bike and join us on a biking and geocaching adventure!
May 13 | Tractor Day, Living History Farms
May 16 | Books and Blankets, Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Ave
May 18 | Nitefall on the River: Chase Rice, Brenton Skating Plaza, 520 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines
May 19 | Commons Off the Clock
11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
A special daylong festival of music and fun to kick off this series sponsored by Kum & Go.
May 20 | Market Day, Capital Square Atrium, Des Moines
A free pop-up market featuring independent makers.
May 20 | Kids Build Weekend Workshop, Carpenters Training Center
2160 East Douglas Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50313
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Details: Kids make wood projects, build skills, and gain confidence
Admission: free; registration required
May 21 | Valley Junction Art Festival, Valley Junction 5th St. West Des Moines
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
May 21 | Animal Days: Endangered Species Day, Blank Park Zoo
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
May 25 | Nitefall on the River: Everclear, Brenton Skating Plaza, 520 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines
May 26 & 27 | Celebrasian, Western Gateway Park 1330 Grand Ave, Des Moines
Experience over a dozen Asian Villages and enjoy authentic asian food, educational activities, and live cultural entertainment.
May 28 | Spring Fest, Jasper Winery 2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines
2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Free Blues music on the lawn.