Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

2017 Guide to Des Moines Summer Camps

summer camp guide 2017

You’re probably already exploring Summer Camp options for your kids (and your kids are probably already counting the days!).

Well, we’ve got you covered!

There are so many awesome, unique summer programs for your kids in the Des Moines area, whether they’re into sports, nature, science, arts, animals, or anything else!

We hope you find this list helpful in your summer planning. After all, summer is one of the best parts of living in Des Moines!

The 2017 Summer Camp Guide is sponsored by our featured programs, but it is a comprehensive guide to all summer camps in Des Moines. We so appreciate the support of the community and the opportunity to present our readers with valuable resources.

The Goddard School

summer camp guide

For nearly 30 years, The Goddard School has been a trusted name among parents and families. Its classrooms are safe, nurturing environments for children six weeks to six years, offering age-appropriate opportunities to explore and discover. From infants to toddlers, preschoolers to kindergartners, highly trained teachers lead each child to reach developmental milestones, preparing the children for social and academic success.

Our summer camp curriculum incorporates STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) into exciting, one-of-a-kind and fun experiences for your child every day! We offer a broad range of programs and mini-camps to pique the interest and curiosity of every child. 

The founding principle of The Goddard School’s curriculum is that children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun. We have integrated this philosophy into every aspect of our summer camp to foster play-based learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. We’ve created a variety of camps so your children can find a program they will absolutely love.


80 NE Carefree Lane, Waukee

The Science Center of Iowa

Summer Camp Guide

The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires visitors by bringing learning to life, and the same can be said for SCI Summer Camps! Using project-based curriculum on a variety of subjects, SCI Summer Camps will spark your camper’s interest in science and provide hands-on experiences using all the resources SCI has to offer. Week-long camps for students in grades Pre-K through 8th grade are taught by educators or future educators with experience in science, education and other related fields. From chemistry to astronomy and from invention to dissection, there’s always more to explore with SCI Summer Camps!

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

 The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden offers a series of week-long day camps that immerse children ages 6-8 into the world of plants through innovative, hands-on learning. Using the gardens as unique classrooms, children are inspired to create and explore. Each camp includes the opportunity to help care for a children’s garden, as well as complete creative projects and learn from guest experts. With a wide variety of themes—Green Thumbs, Garden Artists, Junior Botanists, Budding Chefs, Prairie Naturalists, and Outdoor Explorers—there’s a perfect camp for every child!

Camp Invention

Summer Camp Guide

Imaginations get their rocket fuel at Camp Invention®! An exciting, weeklong summer adventure for K-6th graders awaits with activities that explore connections between science, technology, engineering, and innovation. A nonprofit program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, Camp Invention allows children to experience real-world problem solving, creative thinking, invention, and teamwork. This summer, children will work together to transform the terrain and ecosystem of a distant exoplanet. They will also take risks as budding business owners, blast rockets, fire air cannons, fling rubber chickens, and wire circuits to create their own Spy Gadget Alarm Boxes! Local, certified educators lead this week of hands-on activities that fuel children’s confidence in their natural ability to dream and create. Use promo INNOVATE15 by 5/1 to save $15 on registration. Availability is limited, so don’t delay!

Grace Ballet

Summer Camp Guide

At Grace Ballet & Acrobatics Studio, there is something for everyone this summer! The summer programs start at age 2.5 with our Disney Princess camps where they have a magical time of dance, etiquette classes, and crafts with their favorite princesses. Six year-olds can attend American Girl Doll & Me camp with fun dances from different periods of time and crafts for girls and their dolls. The Ballet Intensive brings a guest teacher in from The New York City Ballet to inspire students in advancing their technique. The Acrobatics program is for ages 5 and up and is for all level of abilities from the true beginner to the advanced acrobat. 

Mad Science of Iowa

summer camp guide

School-age and pre-k/kindergarten kids and parents, it is time to gear up for an exciting, fun-filled summer camp. For school-age kids, Mad Science of Iowa presents its Forensics & Physiology camp for your fun and pleasure. General topics covered are: crime labs, scenes and investigations as well as the skeletal system and organs … all done tastefully and age appropriately! For pre-k/kindergarten, we offer our “Big Jump Start” camp. Plenty of hands-on activities and topic related make and takes. Sign-up now to join the fun!

Devine Dancers

Summer Camp Guide

Come dance this summer with the national-award-winning metro studio! We offer classes in: Storybook, Tumbling, Stretch & Strength, Classical Ballet, TRIX, Jazz, Lyrical, &  Hip-Hop in the summer. Visit to register.
Camp 1 – (Ages 3-10) – July 17th-July 20th
Camp 2 – (Ages 11-18) – July 24th-27th
State Fair Camp & a chance to perform at the State Fair – July 31st-August 2nd

WDMCS Community Education

Whether your children need a little extra help in reading, writing, or math, or simply a fun way to expand their knowledge in several subjects, WDMCS Community Education provides a wide variety of activities to choose from.

Highlight Listings

Living History Farms

Living History Farms offers summer day camps that feature history, science, outdoors, and fun! Campers will spend their days having fun in the outdoors and visiting LHF’s historic sites. The creek walk is always a favorite. Camps are available for children entering kindergarten through eighth grade. Scholarships are also available. Check them out on Facebook!

Blank Park Zoo

If your child is looking to have a wild adventure this summer, check out Blank Park Zoo’s weekly themed camps available June – August. These camps are offered for ages three years through grade seven and include fun activities such as live animal encounters, hands-on lessons, crafts, and games. Learn more on Facebook

Ready to be part of our Des Moines Summer Camp Guide?

We want to connect our readers with your business and help them engage their children in summer camps in the Des Moines area. Partnering with us offers your business greater visibility with a large targeted market of local parents. Join us in helping to enrich the lives of the residents of Des Moines. Fill out the form below to get started!

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4 Responses to 2017 Guide to Des Moines Summer Camps

  1. Michaela June 7, 2017 at 3:21 am #

    Do you know if any of them or which ones have grants or scholarship avallible.

    • Andrea Cooley June 7, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

      I’m sorry, I don’t know. You can ask individual camps.

    • Becky Shattuck June 13, 2017 at 12:14 am #

      Michaela, I know that the Des Moines Community Playhouse and LIving History Farms both offer scholarships for their summer camps.

  2. Becky Shattuck June 13, 2017 at 12:17 am #

    There’s also a LEGO summer camp called Bricks 4 Kidz that my kiddos always love. I think most of the camps are for kids entering K-5, but there might be some that are 5-8.

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