Des Moines, IA

Free Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer in Des Moines

Kimberly Ritter

School is out in just over a month. Are you ready for your children to be home for the summer? If you're starting to make summer plans for your family, here are some fun and free things to do in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

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Take Advantage of the Adventure Pass
Want to visit the Science Center of Iowa, the Blank Park Zoo, the Des Moines Children’s Museum or other fun area attractions? If so, look no further than your local library. Central Iowa area libraries have access to what is called the Adventure Pass where you can get free admission for up to four people to these local metro area attractions. Learn more about the Adventure Pass and how to request it for your family here

Look at Your Local Libraries
In addition to the Adventure Pass, our Des Moines area libraries also have outstanding programming and events. While most of their events are still virtual, they are hosting some amazing programs and activities regularly, and many include fun kits that you can do at home. Be sure to also check out their summer reading programs where kids can earn some amazing prizes for reading all summer long and for more fun summer reading programs check out the article here.

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Get Inspired by Local Art
Did you know that the Des Moines metro has some amazing local art museums and displays that you can visit free of charge? The Des Moines Art Center, the Ankeny Art Center, and the Pappajohn Sculpture Park all offer free admission and amazing learning opportunities.

Have Fun at Free Events
Need to get out of the house, but don’t have much of a budget? Des Moines regularly has lots of fun and free events to enjoy. From events in the park, to outdoor drive in movies, keep an eye on local event listings on Facebook and shared by our local news stations to find fun events near you. Catch Des Moines also has an excellent of both free and paid events for the Des Moines metro.

Kids Bowl Free
Did you know that kids can bowl free during the summer at participating locations? This fun activity can be done regularly and all you have to pay for is shoe rental. Lots of central Iowa bowling lanes participate including ones in Des Moines, Ankeny, Waukee and more. Learn more and find where kids bowl free at

Free Roller Skating For Kids
In addition to free bowling, kids can get free skating too! Visit to learn more about locations where kids can roller skate for free, and all you do is pay for skate rental.

Learn More About Iowa’s History
Help your children learn more about Iowa’s history with a visit to the free State Historical Museum of Iowa. This no charge museum features large interactive exhibits that engage children and adults. Discover Iowa’s history and culture with permanent and rotating exhibits.

Take a Walk in the Park
Did you know that Des Moines has over 75 parks with over 4000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails? Take a walk in a beautiful setting, play on the playgrounds or hit the bike trails to get exercise and fresh air with your family.

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Go Fish
Have a fishing licence and a rod and reel? Fishing as a family can be fun and affordable, and even if you haven’t gone before, can be easily done with a small purchase of equipment. Don’t have a fishing licence, but want to try it out with your kids? Take advantage of Iowa’s free fishing days. Learn more at

No matter what your family likes to do, there are lots of fun and free things to do in Des Moines, Iowa this summer. Know of something we missed? Leave it in the comments below!

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Two Kids and a Coupon is a frugal family website that shares news, ideas, entertainment, activities, recipes, and tips for today’s busy parents and family on a budget.


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