Des Moines Experience Gift Guide

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This guide is sponsored by Des Moines Performing Arts

As moms, I think we can agree that all the stuff that comes with the holidays can be overwhelming! This year we encourage you to create meaningful experiences for your kids and family while supporting local businesses.

Share this guide with friends and family. Enjoy and shop local!


Give the gift of entertainment this holiday season from Des Moines Performing Arts!

The Wellmark Family Series features hour-long performances where you can sing, dance, and reimagine the very air we breathe to comedians, concerts, family shows, and more – there is truly something for the everyone. Let family-fun take center stage this holiday season and experience the magic and wonder of live theater for memories that will last a lifetime!

Learn more about the upcoming shows and get tickets here.
Season tickets for the 4-package start at $47.

More Experience Gift Ideas

Looking to create more memories and have less stuff? Here are our favorite local options. 

Old School Arcade

What kid wouldn’t love to spend an afternoon playing arcade games? Give them a gift card to Old School Arcade in Grimes and let them play to their heart’s content. Enjoy classics like Pacman, Frogger, and Pinball. 

Real Food for Kids

Aspiring chefs will love these highly personalized cooking classes from Real Food for Kids. Learn about ingredients, follow a recipe, and learn new techniques to prepare a favorite meal. Choose from a variety of classes. 

Warrior Lanes Bowling

Des Moines birthday party

Go bowling a gift card to Warrior Lanes in Waukee. This is a great way to spend a cold afternoon with the whole family. 

Science Center of Iowa

experience gifts

Spark curiosity through exploration, discovery, and learning disguised as play. Explore the Science Center of Iowa’s themed experience platforms full of hands-on exhibits, live interactive programs and demonstrations, engaging planetarium shows, and so much more!

AR Workshop

experience gifts
Bring the fun and beauty of AR Workshop Ankeny projects to your home! Kits include detailed instructions, all materials, and pro tips to create a finished masterpiece. Check out a kit to see what is inside as there are lots of skill and design options. 

HoneyNut Home

Maker Kits from HoneyNut Home are perfect for crafty kids. The projects are easy enough to do in under an hour and make great gifts! Choose from seasonal designs and more. 

Climb Iowa

experience gifts

Get the adventurer on your list a gift card to Climb Iowa. They offer an amazing experience at either of their locations for first-time climbers. The professional staff will be more than happy to assist you in taking the first step into the world of climbing. 

UrbanAir Adventure Park

Urban Air
Let your active kids jump and climb to their heart’s content with a monthly membership for unlimited visits to UrbanAir Adventure Park in Ankeny. Get ready to let ’em fly and enjoy endless play and big savings!

Rainbow of the Heartland

Give the gift of outdoor play this holiday season. Rainbow Play Systems are a fun way for your kids to play by allowing your kids’ imaginations to run wild. Kids can climb, swing, and slide on Rainbow Play System.

Brenton Skating Plaza 

Spend an afternoon ice skating in downtown Des Moines at the Brenton Skating Plaza. You can gift a one-time experience or get a 10-punch pass card.  

Kids Create

The artist on your list will love a gift card to take a class at Kids Create in Polk City. There are a variety of classes to choose from including painting and ceramics to Lego robotics. 

Glazed Expressions

Get creative at Glazed Expressions in Clive or Ankeny. Choose from a variety of projects starting at $7. Create a unique masterpiece! 

What are your favorite places to shop for local experience gifts in Des Moines? 

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Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”

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