Blank Park Zoo educates the public about the wonders of the wild by re-creating far-flung habitats and ecosystems that house more than 1,000 animals and 104 different species ranging from Siberian tigers to hissing cockroaches. Zookeepers lead chats about animals and offer conservation tips, while exhibits include hands-on feedings that allow humans to go face-to-face or nose-to-beak with hungry giraffes and parakeets. Recent new arrivals welcome curious kids to commiserate with the growing pains and early bedtimes of young wallabies, camels, and seal pups, setting a foundation for learning that may be continued in classes designed for those aged 6 months to 5 years.
In addition to raising awareness about the environment, Blank Park Zoo contributes to conservation efforts to preserve the future of native animals and their natural homes. The zoo participates in seven endangered-species breeding programs and donates a portion of admissions proceeds to several different wildlife initiatives.
When it first opened it doors in 1970, the Science Center of Iowa was among the first interactive science museums in the world. It engaged the community with hands-on exhibits and programs. In 2005, the center moved to its 110,00-square-foot downtown location, where it fills its halls with a variety of experience platforms, each demonstrating different scientific principles. Build and launch a rocket in When Things Get Moving, learn about Iowa's native animals in What On Earth?, and explore the night sky in the Star Theater planetarium. A favorite of SCI's youngest visitors,
Small Discoveries exhibit features features a farm-to-table theme with a market and kitchen for interactive play. For the “full experience”, catch a film in the 216-seat Blank IMAX Dome Theater, which features a six-story dome-shaped screen that surrounds your field of view and a 12,000-watt digital surround sound system that lets you hear everything from a tiny drop of rain to a huge clap of thunder with crystal clarity.
As children and their caretakers enjoy a leisurely day at Union Park, a cluster of animals—storks, giraffes, brown bears, and ostriches among them —suddenly storms past. What sounds like a stampede is really the family-friendly site of The Heritage Carousel of Des Moines, which has been entertaining guests since 1998. For only 50 cents, participants can hop aboard the turn-of-the-century replica carousel, which builders hand carved from basswood and hand painted. As the dulcet tones of an old-fashioned band organ hum in the background, the carousel accommodates children, wedding parties, and bull riders in training. Elsewhere, riders can pause from carousel excursions to sample other Union Park attractions such as multiage play equipment and the Rocket Slide, whose recent repainting replicates its original look from the early 1970s.
Ease your appetite with delicious bites from Des Moines Art Center in Des Moines.
A night out deserves a drink to celebrate, and this restaurant has the perfect selection of beer and wine to go with your meal.
Check email, shop online, or get the latest game scores on Des Moines Art Center's free wifi.
For comfortable outdoor service, Des Moines Art Center sets up a seasonal patio.
Comfort is prioritized at Des Moines Art Center, where business casual is the name of the (dress code) game.
Des Moines Art Center offers complimentary parking at a lot close by.
Des Moines Art Center offers parking for all diners, including those who travel by bike.
Meals at Des Moines Art Center are affordable, with the average tab amounting to about $30 per person.
If it takes place on synthetic ice, it's probably going down at The Ice Ridge. The Ice Ridge rink, made of eco-friendly panels that mimic real ice, hosts skaters of practically every age and experience level, whether they're taking classes or celebrating birthdays. The indoor space, encircled by the expansive square's blue walls, is kept safe thanks to the watchful eyes of instructors and supervisors. Skaters may embark on a variety of activities, learning to play hockey, socializing at on-ice fundraising events, or having an adventure after being kicked out for ice-fishing attempts. An onsite pro shop equips rink-goers with boots, blades, and services, such as repairs and fittings.
What if someone told you they could combine the gentle cuddliness of a stuffed animal with the motorized mobility of a go-kart? Sounds like a work of mad fiction, right? Well, thanks to the ingenious inventors at Plush Animal Amusement Rides, it's actually an undeniable fact. From their shops in malls around Des Moines, the team welcomes riders for motorized jaunts around safe, indoor environs. The animal-vehicle hybrids come in the likenesses of dogs and other four-legged animals, and feature soft, fluffy exteriors that never betray the mechanical inner workings inside. Like real animals, they come in different sizes, and can accommodate riders up to 250lbs.