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Special Events

SpecialEventsOverview  024A3043  IMG_0033

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! 

Special Events

Trivia Night - One Thursday Night in January, February and March
Dates and Locations:
  • January 9, 2020: Grandview Golf Course - 2401 E 29th St, Des Moines, Iowa 50317
  • February 20, 2020: Blank Golf Course - 808 County Line Rd, Des Moines, IA 50320
  • March 26, 2020: Waveland Golf Course - 4908 University Ave, Des Moines, IA 50311
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Cost: $25 entry fee per eight member team. Limited to 15 total teams.

Come out to enjoy these exciting new events held at the three city golf courses. Trivia Nights are a fun way for friends to enjoy a weeknight activity and win cool prizes. Food and beverages will be for sale.

Trivia consists of four rounds:
  1. General Knowledge
  2. Actress/Actor Movie Identification
  3. General Knowledge
  4. Name That Tune 
Registration is now open!
Register at (button above)
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.

Registration starts: January 2, 2020
Register at (button above)
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!

Registration starts: January 2, 2020
Register at (button above)
Mayor's Annual Ride and Run - Third Saturday in April
Date and Location:
  • Saturday, April 18, 2020: Principal Park - 1 Line Drive
Time: Run starts at 8 a.m. | Bike Ride starts at 10 a.m.
Cost: $5 for children ages 5 - 17 | $30 for ages 18 and over | $50 for day of registration

Join us for the 33rd Mayor's Annual Ride and Run! Proceeds benefit the Des Moines trail system. The 20+ mile ride will start at Principal Park with music, breakfast and good company! In addition, there will be a 5K run and 1-mile family fun walk. The run will start at 8 a.m. with the ride at 10 a.m. Travel through many area neighborhoods using the wonderful trail system throughout Des Moines before ending back at Principal Park. Registration includes a breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., refreshments at the rest stop and a repair van. For more information please call 515-237-1386 or send an email to

Registration starts January 2, 2020. 
Register at (button above)
Free Flicks - Thursday Nights in May - August
Dates and Locations:
  • Thursdays in May - August and Parks TBD
Time: Sundown | Approximately 9:15 p.m.
Cost: Free for patrons | $350 for Neighborhood Association Sponsorship

Free Flicks is a summer-long series of outdoor movies in neighborhood parks. The films will be shown on a 25-foot portable screen and begin after sunset. Admission is free for all. Blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. People are welcome to bring their own snacks as concessions will not be available for purchase. Neighborhood Association sponsor the Free Flick events in their park on Thursday nights.

No registration required.

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 50 children (based on qualifications for free and reduced school lunch). Helmets, locks and safety lessons will also be provided.
Nature Trail Running Series - Wednesdays, late-August to mid-September
Dates and Locations:
  • Dates TBD: Nature Trails in Des Moines Park System
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 at 6 p.m. starting in August (specific dates TBD), 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 (north side) - 
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!