Full of amazing cities, there’s no limit to what you can do in Polk County!
- Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
- Des Moines Art Center
- State Historical Museum
- Iowa State Capitol
- Iowa Hall of Pride
- Easter Lake Park
- Blank Park Zoo
- Science Center of Iowa
Stop and smell the flowers. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a cultural institution that strives to engage visitors in the exploration of the world of plants. Every visitor can curate their own unique experience by exploring the fourteen gardens full of plant diversity and wide variety of educational programming.
Calling all artists and art enthusiasts! The Des Moines Art Center is home to extensive collections of paintings, sculpture, modern art, and mixed media. By connecting people and art through feeling, imagining, dreaming, and creating, the art center promotes the power of humanity and transformation.
State Historical Museum
Want to learn more about the great state of Iowa? Visit the State Historical Museum to walk through Iowa’s vast history from the earliest settlers to the state’s role in society today. This museum is host to many information exhibits, tours, collections, programs, and many events throughout the year.
We may be biased, but we think our State Capitol is one of the most beautiful in the country. The 23-karat golden dome towers above the city and is a favorite among sightseers. Four smaller domes flank the central dome, and within you can find the governor's offices, legislature, and the old Supreme Courtroom. Townie tip: streaming live audio of Senate and House proceedings is available on the Capitol's website whenever the chambers are in session. Touring this stunning building is free. Learn about the grounds, walk through the courts, dive deep into our state's history, and see the best views of Des Moines while peeking out from the golden dome. On the tour, you'll also see the State Law Library on the second floor. It has earned its recognition as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It's a fully functioning library as it provides a highly specialized legal collection of treatises, as well as state and federal statutory, regulatory, and case law to Iowa lawmakers, government employees, the legal community and the general public. Tours are available Monday through Saturday. Groups of 10 or more need to call in advance.
Sports lovers unite! The Iowa Hall of Pride recognizes former Iowa students who excelled in sports and who were great ambassadors of their communities. Real stories of great Iowans are brought to life and explored through the Hall of Heroes. While you’re there, test your football skills in the game room, which highlights football, basketball, virtual soccer, and more!
Enjoy scenic views at Easter Lake Park. Known for its beautiful 178-acre lake, Easter Lake Park includes five picnic shelters and three children’s playgrounds. Want to try your hand at catching a fish or two? Cast a line in the lake, home to catfish, walleye, and bass stocked by the Conservation Board.
Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Make a trip to the Blank Park Zoo and see a multitude of exotic animals. Since 1963, the zoo has been a part of the Greater Des Moines area and educated thousands of people. Check out exclusive workshops, exhibits, and other events the zoo has to offer.
Become engaged in learning at the Science Center of Iowa. You're sure to make long-lasting memories at one of the hands-on exhibits, specially formatted theaters, or innovative programming.