It’s May! Here’s our just-for-you guide to fun family events around Des Moines this month. From splash pads and playground grand openings to duck races and magic shows, you’ll have your pick of fun excuses to get out of the house.
May 2018 events and activities
May 1 | Spraygrounds Open, Des Moines
The start of the summer aquatics season kicks off with the opening of Des Moines’ nine spraygrounds. A sprayground is a splash pad that has spray features but no standing water. Spraygrounds offer unsupervised water play specifically aimed at children ages 10 and under. City of Des Moines staff is not provided at spraygrounds and parental supervision is required. They’re open daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Des Moines Spraygrounds open all summer:
Columbus Park – 1921 SE 1st Street
Evelyn K. Davis Park – 1400 Forest Avenue
Fairmont Park – 2520 Hull Avenue
Good Park – 1103 17th Street
Grandview Park – 3230 Easton Boulevard
Greenwood Park – 4500 Grand Avenue
McHenry Park – 1012 Oak Park Avenue
Sargent Park – 3530 E Douglas Avenue
Woodlawn Park – 3126 Twana Drive
May 5 | Johnston Kites on the Green, Johnston Commons, 6700 Merle Hay Road
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The celebration will feature giant show-kite displays, kite contests for people of all ages, celebrity bol races, and free kite building. Plus, the whole family can enjoy live music from Grammy-Award winner Justin Roberts, and delicious food to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
May 5 | Healthy Kids Day, Waukee Stadium
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Come join the fun with this free event designed for children in kindergarten through 5th grade. Play alongside Waukee High School athletes and students as they demonstrate and teach kids of all ages different ways to stay active, including track, football, soccer, baseball, Tae-Kwon-Do, tennis, volleyball, cheer, and dance. Kids can also hula hoop, jump rope, and have fun with colorful parachutes. This event is sponsored by the Waukee Family YMCA and UnityPoint Health.
May 5 | Springtime Party Kids Fest, Hy-Vee, Merle Hay Road, Johnston
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It’s party time! Enjoy a bounce house for the kids as well as face painting. The Fire Department will be in attendance and grilled food available for purchase.
May 5 | Wild About the Child Shindig for Wildwood Hills Ranch, Stine Barn, West Des Moines
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Join Wildwood Hills Ranch at the Stine Barn for a Cinco De Mayo-themed evening full of food from local eateries, music, dancing, and live and silent auctions: all to help local children at-risk in our community. Purchase tickets here.
May 5 | YESS Duck Derby 2018, Jordan Creek Town Center
Noon to 3 p.m.
The YESS Duck Derby is back to celebrate eleven years of fun! This event has raised more than $2.5 million to date, all to support kids in crisis. Get a duck for as little as a $5 donation to YESS. Every duck provides hope to children in crisis and enters you for a chance to win fabulous prizes including $10,000 cash.
May 6 | Urbandale Mayor’s Bike Ride, 9000 Northpark Dr.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Mayor’s Bike Ride event will start and end at Delta Dental of Iowa. The Mayor’s ride will offer three routes of different distances for the bike ride participants. Registration includes a t-shirt, lunch, refreshments, and pre and post-ride activities. The Bike Ride is open to children and adults. The pre-registration fee for the “Mayor’s Bike Ride – UCAN Loop Urbandale” is $30 per single rider and $15 for each additional family member. The Urbandale Complete Streets Committee is sponsoring a variety of fun activities for kids from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and you don’t need to participate in the Mayor’s Bike Ride to enjoy the free kids’ activities at this event including a chance to win a new bike, face painting, sidewalk chalk, bike course for kids, helmet fitting, and give away.
May 6 | Family Day at the Races, Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel, Altoona
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Come out to the racetrack for a day of family fun activities and get an educational look at Prairie Meadows racing. A welcome station will be located on the north end of the Track Apron where children will receive a coloring book and crayons (while supplies last). Enjoy root beer floats at Homestretch concessions on the Track Apron. Activities include princess appearances, face painting, balloon animals, and spin art.
May 7 | Terra Park Playground Grand Opening, 6300 Pioneer Parkway, Johnston
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The City of Johnston is excited to announce and invite the public to attend the Grand Opening of the new one-of-a-kind playground at Terra Park. The playground includes equipment for both young and older children, with swings, and stations that encourage active movement. Each of the five pods has both play and education involved, but require movement to get to each of the areas.
May 11 | Mom-Son Superhero Night, Clive Parks and Recreation, 1900 NW 114th St., Clive
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Your super dates will meet at least two of their favorite superheroes, experience superhero training courses, make super crafts, eat super snacks and take super pics with all their new friends!
In the past, junior heroes have met superheroes like Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Green Lantern, Clark Kent, and the Dark Knight. Join us to see what special guests will be there this time. Boys, grab your superhero outfit and a lady you love and help us fight crime in Clive. Superheroes can bring their mother, grandmother, aunt or any other “super” lady. Registration required.
May 11 | $5 Family Night, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
5 to 8 p.m.
Admission is only $5. Attendees can enjoy $5 documentary IMAX films and $5 specials in the Food Chain Cafe.
May 12 | Family Workshop: Carnivorous Plant Terrariums, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Discover the world of carnivorous plants and how to care for them. Create and plant a terrarium of these curiously dangerous plants. Cost for members is $20 for each youth/adult pair and $10 for additional youth; Cost for non-members is $25 for each youth/adult Pair and $15 for additional youth. Registration required.
May 12 | Waukee Firefighters’ Association Annual Pancake Breakfast, Waukee Public Safety Building
7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Each year, this Waukee Firefighters’ Association family-friendly event draws hundreds of residents who enjoy “all you care to eat” pancakes and sausage. Plus, kids can burn off all of that syrup-induced energy with inflatables and fire truck rides. The cost is $5; kids four and under eat for free. Guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items or cash donations for the Waukee Area Christian Services Food Pantry.
May 13 | Mother’s Day Brunches in Des Moines
We’ve rounded up 10 amazing brunches around Des Moines. Enjoy!
May 13 | Free Admission for Mother’s Day, Reiman Gardens, Ames
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In honor of Mother’s Day, all moms are admitted free of charge. Free for mothers, Reiman Gardens’ members, and ISU students.
May 13 | Free Admission for Mother’s Day, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Thanks to Principal Financial Group, all mothers receive free admission to Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there’s a plant sale and garden art and merchandise fair. Guest are also welcome to attend a drop-in demonstration of scented geraniums from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests are welcome to celebrate Mother’s Day by learning about a variety of flowers and then creating handmade flower crowns and wands with your little prince or princess. Cost for members is $20 for each youth/adult pair and $10 for additional youth; Cost for non-members is $25 for each youth/adult Pair and $15 for additional youth. Registration required.
May 15 | Wild Kratts Live, Des Moines Civic Center
Animated Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, “come to real life” in a classically Wild Kratts story. Off “To the Creature Rescue!” the Kratt Brothers activate some fan favorite Creature Power Suits to confront a comic villain. Through hilarious pratfalls and amazing animal ‘wow facts,’ the Wild Kratts team rescue their favorite invention from Zach’s clutches so the animals of the creature world are safe once again.
May 16 | Goldie’s Kids Club: Storytime, State Historical Museum of Iowa
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Come listen to a short story and then examine artifacts and exhibits related to the story. This program is recommended for children three to seven years old. Each child must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the program. The topic is bison. The book read will be “The Buffalo are Back” by Jean Craighead George. Children can view the bison in the Delicate Balance exhibit.
May 19 | KIDS Clubhouse Adventures Premiere Event, Iowa Public Television, 6450 Corporate Dr., Johnston
9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Please join us for the premiere of the third season of KIDS Clubhouse Adventures (formerly called the IPTV KIDS Clubhouse) where you can enjoy an exclusive screening of the first episode of the new season and tour the Clubhouse. This is a free event, but space is limited and will fill up fast. Register here.
May 19 | The Great Inflatable Race of Des Moines, Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Bounce houses aren’t just for the kids. The Great Inflatable Race is a fun run with inflatable obstacles spread throughout the running course. You and your friends will feel like kids again as you jump, dive and bounce on our custom-designed inflatables. Get fit, support a good cause, and create memories that will last you a lifetime. Register here.
May 19 | The Big Magic Show, Hoyt Sherman Place
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Enjoy an evening of magical fun supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa. The show will feature some of the top names in magic with special guest emcee, Oscar Munoz. Ticket cost for adults is $15 in advance and $5 for children 12 and under.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Experience over a dozen Asian Villages featuring authentic Asian food, educational family activities, and live cultural entertainment! Each May the free festival unites the different Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa.
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.