There’s nothing like packing your bags, gassing up the car, and gathering the family for a planned or impromptu road trip to spice up your weekend routine. With fun outings the whole family will enjoy, you’re sure to find an excellent adventure in Greater Des Moines! Here are our top 10 things to check out when you road trip to Greater Des Moines. 

1) Stroll through the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market 

Every Saturday morning, enjoy the live music, mouth-watering smells, and vibrant colors of fresh produce and flowers at one of Des Moines’ hallmark events. Walk the streets of downtown lined with hundreds of vendors and view art collections and handmade goods, delicious freshly prepared treats, and enjoy live music from local performers!  

2) Visit with animals at the Blank Park Zoo 

Spend an afternoon wandering through the exhibits of the Blank Park Zoo. Meet ferocious lions, playful red pandas, and splashing sea lions. This zoo is perfect for curious minds and animal lovers, with daily workshops and activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy!   

3) Stop and smell the roses at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden 

Get your hands dirty learning about plants, flowers, trees, and pollinators. Learn about the beauty of nature while walking through the gorgeous greenery paths of the domed greenhouse and various indoor and outdoor gardens. Feeling hungry for a leafy lunch? Enjoy the plant-inspired menu at Trellis Café for a quick bite and a spectacular view of the greenhouse.  

4) Seek thrills at Adventureland Park 

Whether you like the adrenaline of a fast rollercoaster or the ease of lounging the lazy river, Adventureland Park will have you on the edge of your seat with entertainment. Take a spin in the teacups, try your hand at classic carnival games, and pack your sunscreen and beach towel for an afternoon at Adventure Bay Waterpark, you’re in for a full day of fun at Adventureland! 

5) Check out the Iowa State Capitol 

See for yourself why the Iowa State Capitol is known for being one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the nation. Learn about the history of Iowa with a tour, explore the splendid 5-story Iowa law library, and take in the iconic 23-karat gold dome.  

6) Travel back in time at Living History Farms 

Take in an 1800s-style baseball game, try rock candy from the drugstore, and even make your own broom. Engage with working farm sites from the 1700s-1900s through hands-on activities and explore the 1875 Town of Walnut Hill while visiting with period actors to learn what life was like for early Midwesterns! 

7) Relax and unwind at SmashPark 

Known for being the “Ultimate Year-Round Backyard Party,” SmashPark brings a new twist to outdoor fun. With a full menu and bar, take a break with a meal and a few drinks. While you’re there, try your hand at pickleball, corn hole, giant Jenga, darts, Ping Pong, and much more!  

8) Bike, walk, or run on Greater Des Moines’ popular 600-mile recreational trail system 

For outdoor enthusiasts, Greater Des Moines has something special for you. Numerous trails surround the area bringing the vibrancy of nature to life. Check out High Trestle Trail, known for the beautifully illuminated bridge, or explore the Art Route featuring many pieces of public art along the trails! 

9) Watch a standing ovation-worth performance at the Des Moines Civic Center or Des Moines Community Playhouse 

These outstanding venues bring in local and national talent for moving theatrical and live music performances. Catch a Broadway show or the symphony at the Des Moines Civic Center or watch a performance of a family-friendly story at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Whether you’re a fan of live music or musicals, you’re sure to find something for everyone at these local gems! 

10) Snap selfies with Des Moines Public Art 

All around Des Moines, you’ll find beautiful sculptures, Instagrammable murals, and more! Visit the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and immerse yourself in larger than life art pieces, or wander through downtown and spot colorful murals painted by local artists.