Resolve to get the kids out of the house and explore the metro. From theater events to inflatables, there’s so much to fun to be had through the winter. We also included some free events to keep the family budget healthy in the new year.
Kids need to burn off some energy? Check out our indoor play guide for a go-to resource for cabin fever cures.
January 2020 Events and Activities
Jan 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 | James and the Giant Peach, Des Moines Playhouse
Times vary by day.
This show is a great opportunity to introduce elementary-age kids to the theater. This play is full of humor and adventure. It’s a story the whole family will enjoy. Tickets are $14-$19.
Jan 4-5 | Paw Patrol LIVE, Civic Center
10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Nick Jr. fans in your house will L-O-V-E to see their favorite characters on stage as they rescue the day in Adventure Bay. Ticket prices vary.
Jan 7 | $2 Tuesday, Skateland Des Moines
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Take advantage of this deal for a fun night out for the whole family that won’t cost a fortune! Admission, skate rental (and even pizza slices) are just $2 each!
Jan 7 | Meet the Doulas, Breathe Physical Therapy & Wellness
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If you’ve thought of adding a doula to your birth team, but don’t know where to begin this event is for you. In this “speed date” style evening you’ll meet several doulas and discuss your family’s needs as you prepare to welcome a new baby. The event is free, but space is limited. Register today.
Jan 7 | Imagination Station, Central Library
Drop in for some sensory-experience fun at the library. There will also be winter stories and fun for the whole family. This event is free.
Jan 10 | The Brave Little Tailor, Des Moines Playhouse
9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 1:30 p.m.
This interactive show is great for preschools, child care centers, kindergarten classes, and families. Each month they dramatize a favorite story using their imaginations and the costume pieces and props they find in their Magic Trunk. This month the story is about the Brave Little Tailor who uses brains instead of brawn to get the best of some goofy giants. Tickets are $6.
Jan 10 | Family Night, Science Center of Iowa
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Science Center is open late so the whole family can explore the exhibits together. Admission is just $5 per person and free for members.
Jan 10-11 | Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo, Wells Fargo Arena
Brush off your cowboy boots and get yourself to the rodeo. This event features three fan-favorites: Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, and Bull Riding. Your kids are sure to love it! Tickets start at $10 for kids and $20 for adults.
Jan 15 & 23 | Paws to Read, Johnston Public Library
3:30 p.m. on the 15th
6:30 p.m. on the 23rd
Sign up for a 15-min time slot for your child to read with a certified therapy dog. This is a great opportunity for independent readers in grades 2-7 to practice reading aloud.
Jan 15 | One Minute Challenges, Waukee Public Library
3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Let your big kids have some after-school fun! Students in grades 6-12 can participate in one-minute challenges similar to those seen on Minute to Win It. No registration required.
Jan 16 | Kid’s Crafts Day: Scratch Art, South Side Library
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Drop in anytime for an art break. Kids can select from several scratch art designs to decorate and take home. This event is free.
Jan 17-18 | Kids Fest, Iowa State Fairgrounds
Friday: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. $10 for kids; $20 for adults
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. $7.50 for all ages over 1
Enjoy live entertainment, inflatables, and a make-and-take station at this fun-filled family festival to benefits Children and Families of Iowa.
Jan 18 | Des Moines Babywearing Alliance Meeting, Iowa Lutheran Hospital
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Interested in babywearing but not sure how to get started? At this meeting, educators will be available to assist and answer any and all babywearing questions. They also have a lending library so you can try a variety of babywearing products before you buy one.
Jan 18 | Story Sprouts, Des Moines Botanical Center
Warm up at the Botanical Center, and bring the kids, ages 2 to 5, to storytime. During each program, participants enjoy stories and an activity based on the week’s theme. After storytime is over take time to explore the facility. Free for members, $3 for youth, and regular admission for adults.
Jan 24-26 | Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Circus, Iowa State Fairgrounds, Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center
Times vary by day
See live freestyle motorcross, trapeze acts, and many more exciting acts. Adult tickets are $16 and tickets for children 12 and under are $8.
Jan 25 | Magic Treehouse: Showtime with Shakespeare, Civic Center
If your kids love to read the Magic Tree House Books by Mary Pope Osborne, they’ll love to see this show that puts Stage Fright on a Summer Night on stage.
Jan 29 | Kids in the Kitchen, Johnston Public Library
3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Registration is required for this free basic cooking skills session. Students in grades 3rd-5th will prepare simple and fun international foods in this hands-on cooking experience.
Jan 30 | Glow Skate, Brenton Skating Plaza
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Wear bright colors as the ice transforms into a glow party full of fun glow sticks and colorful lights! One free glow stick is provided with each paid admission, so be sure to swing by the dollar store and pick up a few extras for your kiddos before you hit the ice.
Jan 31 | Craft Lab, Waukee Public Library
4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Let your kids’ creative juices flow! Craft Lab is an open-ended, creative space that invites kids to express their imagination in crafting and making. Participants in grades K-5th work on creative projects alone, in groups, or with library staff. No registration required.
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.