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Special Events

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Des Moines Parks and Recreation provides a variety of special events that allow community members to participate in safe and organized leisure activities in an outdoor setting, recreation center or other locations throughout Des Moines. Most of these events have a minimal cost or are free.


Take a peek at the events below and discover ways to get involved! 
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Special Events

Father Daughter Dance - First Saturday in February
Date and Location:
  • February 1, 2020: Science Center of Iowa  - 401 W Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person
Who: Parents, relatives, guardians and/or role models are welcome to attend with their children.

Don’t miss out on this memorable opportunity at our annual Father Daughter Dance, sponsored by the Des Moines Parks and Recreation and Boesen The Florist. Dads are invited to bring their daughter(s) to our annual Father Daughter Dance. This event provides an evening of dancing, refreshments, photo opportunities, ASAP art project and exhibits. A carnation flower will be given to all daughters and a chocolate fondue station with dipping options will be available for everyone to enjoy.

Thank you for participating!
Mother Son Fun Night - First Saturday in March
Date and Location:
  • March 7, 2020: Pioneer Columbus Community Recreation Center  -  2100 SE 5th Street
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person
Who: Parents, relatives, guardians and/or role models are welcome to attend with their children.

Enjoy live animals from the Blank Park Zoo, compete on our inflatable obstacle course, enjoy a live magician, make a special take home project for mom with the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, get your face painted, meet members of the Des Moines Police Department, say hi to the K-9 unit dog, tour a fire truck with the Des Moines Fire Department, test your sports skills and play laser tag. This event provides an evening of Mother and Son bonding experiences through interactive play. When you run out of fuel, grab a slice of pizza and a drink to get ready for more action!

Thank you for participating!
Mayor's Annual Ride and Run - Third Saturday in April
Save the date for April 17, 2021!
Free Flicks - Thursday Nights in June - August

In accordance with Mayor Cownie’s proclamation, guidance announced by the Centers for Disease Control, and in our continued effort to keep patrons and staff safe, Des Moines Parks and Recreation has canceled Free Flicks for 2020. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Yoga from the Park - Saturday Mornings in June - September
For the 2020 Yoga from the Park schedule, visit Yoga in the Park!

Time: Yoga classes launched at 9 a.m. on Facebook and YouTube
Dates: Saturdays in June - September (schedule below)
Location: From the comfort of your own home or backyard
Cost: Free 

To keep our community safe, we're bringing yoga to you in 2020! Enjoy yoga from Gray's Lake Park each Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on Facebook and YouTube. These virtual classes, taught by volunteer instructors from around the metro, are perfect for all skill levels, from curious beginner to advanced yogi. 

No registration required.

31 Miles Your Way - July
For the specific details on this virtual fitness event, visit 31 Miles Your Way!

Date and Location:
  • July 1 - 31, 2020: Fitness can be done in your neighborhood, on the trails, at the gym, in the pool, etc. 
Time: 24 hours
Cost: $10 per person
Who: Ages 5 & up

It is easy to participate and we are willing to bet you'll love how easy it is to accomplish. We invite you to complete 31 miles your way in 31 days! Staying inside is not easy so this virtual event is to keep you inspired, healthy and motivated from a safe social distance. All you have to do is register, complete 31 miles your way, and track it! You can walk, run, bike, swim, stroll, sprint or crawl your way to victory.

Registration is open!
Bike Back to School - First Saturday in August
Date and Location:
  • Saturday, August 1, 2020: Des Moines Police Station - 25 E 1st Street
Time: 10 a.m.
Cost: Free

Bike Back to School is presented in partnership by the Des Moines Police Department, Des Moines Street Collective and Des Moines Parks and Recreation. Free bikes provided to the first 75 children (based on qualifications for free and reduced school lunch). Helmets, locks and safety lessons will also be provided.
Nature Trail Running Series - Wednesdays in September
Dates and Locations:
Wednesday, September 2 = Ashworth Park & Greenwood Park
Address: 102 45th St, Des Moines, IA 50320

Wednesday, September 9 = Ewing Park
Address: 5300 Indianola Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315

Wednesday, September 16 = Grandview Park
Address: 3230 Easton Blvd, Des Moines, IA 50317

Wednesday, September 23 = Ashworth Park & Greenwood Park
Address: 102 45th St, Des Moines, IA 50320

Wednesday, September 30 = Ashby Park
Address: 3200 38th St, Des Moines, IA 50310

Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: Free

Runners of all levels explore nature trails in our park system, guided by volunteers from Fleet Feet Sports and Capital Striders. Each Wednesday in September at 6 p.m., participants are invited to join the three or six mile guided runs. In the event trail conditions are not ideal, runs will be on paved surfaces.
Fall Family Fun Fest - Last Saturday in September
Date and Location:
  • Saturday, September 26, 2020: Union Park - 2009 Saylor Road
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.
Cost: Free for activities | $10 per participant for Trikathalon

A fun filled day is planned for the whole family! Activities are open to play from 1 - 4 p.m. and include inflatable obstacle course, slide and bounce house, DJ, face painter, Police SWAT vehicle and K-9 dog, fire truck, the Rocket Slide and Heritage Carousel (rides = 50¢/person). 

The Trikathalon is designed for youth aged 8 year olds or younger! Ride, run, splash! Register online. The cost is $10 to participate.

At 2 and 3 p.m. watch or participate in our Food Eating Contest! Participants can only enter one competition. This will be more about speed and accuracy over volume… but the quantity of food will still have an impressive vibe. Each competition will be six minutes in length with the person finishing all food placed in front of them first or consuming the most amount of that food in the time allotted will be declared the winner.  The winning participant will be awarded a generous prize pack for their efforts. Participants will be contacted the week of the event to ensure their spot in their selected event.  Interested contestants can register online prior to the event.
Jingle Bell Parties - Two Thursday nights in December
Date and Location:
  • Date TBD: Fourmile Community Recreation Center
  • Date TBD: Pioneer Columbus Community Recreation Center
Time: 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free | Pre-registration is required
Who: Ages 14 & under (and family members)
Registration starts November 1
  • Call 248-6315 to register for the Fourmile event
  • Call 248-6316 to register for the Pioneer event
Do not miss out on the holiday spectacular where families will be able to craft, play in a bounce house, create environmental projects, boogie on the dance floor, grab a healthy snack, receive a gift (or two!) and snap a photo with Santa. Volunteers are needed. More information to come!