Escape the realities of the winter by stepping inside the dome of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. The Garden offers visitors a chance to cultivate nature’s beauty all year round. Offering events that are tailored to people of all ages, you could take a class in hopes of mastering the art of gardening or enjoy some yoga. This tropical conservancy is a one-of-a-kind stop for your wintery Des Moines weekend. When you’re finished at the garden, visit Trellis Café. Trellis Café serves a locally sourced, plant-based menu that changes monthly. The café overlooks the Botanical Garden’s water garden and beyond!

If the family is looking for one of the best hills to sled down in the area take them out to Sleepy Hollow Sports Park! Sleepy Hollow offers snow tubing, zipfy sleds and stiga sleds. Sleepy Hollow makes their own snow all winter long and grooms daily. Allowing families to enjoy the fun safely all winter long.

After an adventure-packed start to your day wind down with a show at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Over the course of these winter months you can catch the timely classic of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” running from November 2-25 and “Elf” which runs November 30-December 23.

Brenton Skating Plaza is another must stop in Des Moines. This outdoor ice-skating rink is located along the Des Moines River, providing skyline views and easy access to downtown restaurants including Zombie Burger, Fongs, RoCA and attractions like Wells Fargo Arena, the Des Moines Civic Center and the Iowa Hall of Pride. Whether you are an old pro or a beginner, Brenton is the perfect place to enjoy a few laps around the ice.

Brenton Skating Plaza
Credit: Downtown Community Alliance

Once you’ve gotten your nature fill for the afternoon take a quick drive down the road to the Science Center of Iowa. The Science Center is great for families and individuals of all ages. One minute you’re exploring through Iowa’s native habitats including prairies, marshes, forests and caves, then the next you’re a TV sensation! Stop over to the WHO-HD weather studio to live out your dreams as a newscaster and try your hand at forecasting weather in front of the green screen. You’ve also got to make sure you stop and play at the new Brick by Brick exhibit! Build and test structures to withstand earthquakes and heavy winds, explore unconventional LEGO building techniques to solve design challenges, and more. You can also see 10 spectacular LEGO models constructed by LEGO Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker. If you’re looking to take a piece of science home with you stop by the A-Ha! Store and pick up a building set, telescope, stomp rocket and more. Don't forget about a stop at Chocolaterie Stam to end the evening!