Des Moines Experience Gift Guide


experience gifts des moines


During this weird year, the need to support local businesses has become even more apparent. As we spend more time at home, the need to create meaningful experiences, instead of filling our lives with stuff, has become even more obvious. Here at Des Moines Mom, we’ve put together a few ideas for purchasing local experience based gifts. Enjoy and shop local!


Experience Gifts

Looking to create more memories and have less stuff? Here’s a few suggestions!

Ted Lare Design Build Garden Center

experience gifts

Do you have someone who is interested growing all the things? Or perhaps they have a black thumb and they are looking to improve their skills. Improve your garden skills and design abilities with one of the class kits from Ted Lare Garden Center. From wreaths and herb garden kits to planters, there is sure to be something of interest for all ages and abilities. 

Wallace Centers of Iowa

experience gifts

Join Chef Katie for a virtual cooking class with Wallace Centers of Iowa! She will email you recipes, a grocery and equipment list along with a Zoom link and helpful tips on getting connected. Gather all the ingredients and tools in your own kitchen, then watch while Katie demonstrates right alongside as you work. 

Goldfish Swim School Urbandale

goldfish swim school urbandale

Skip the typical presents and give the gift of swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School – Urbandale! Swim lessons provide essential skills that last a lifetime. Kids learn safety skills while having fun, making friends, building confidence, and learning life lessons. Kids love Goldfish’s fun, tropical environment and 90-degree pool. Parents get the peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are learning an essential life skill based on our proven curriculum. 

Science Center of Iowa & Blank Imax Dome Theater

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, larger-than-life IMAX films, and so much more!

AR Workshop Ankeny

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. 

School of Rock West Des Moines

experience gifts

Do you have someone who dreams of being a rock star? Give the gift of music at School of Rock West Des Moines with lessons, workshops, and camps in the areas of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals.

Climb Iowa

experience gifts

Climb Iowa offers an amazing experience at either of their locations for first-time climbers. Bring an adventurous spirit and be ready to step outside your comfort zone. The professional staff will be more than happy to assist you in taking the first step into the world of climbing. They have experience working with individuals of all ages and abilities. Get the adventurer on your list a gift card to Climb Iowa.

Cupcake Addict

experience gifts
For the mom who wants the fun of decorating sugar cookies, but wants the ease of someone else doing all the baking the Cupcake Addict’s sugar cookie decorating kits are the perfect solution! They include a dozen cutout sugar cookies, three frosting colors, and five kinds of sprinkles! 

Rainbow of the Heartland

rainbow playsystems

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.

PepperHarrow Farm

experience gifts

PepperHarrow Farm is a 20-acre farm is located in Winterset, Iowa, cozied amongst the covered bridges of Madison County. The owners cultivate local farm fresh flowers at their boutique Iowa flower farm. They host a variety of wonderful classes and workshops from lavender soap making and tea mixology, to floral design! 


experience gifts

From cross stitch kits to macrame or unicorn sewing kits, Artfull has something for all levels of makers in your life! In normal times, they also hold workshops and events, but they’ve adapted and offer a wide variety of take-home art products!

Tent Ventures

experience gifts

Bring the outdoor camping experience inside (especially in these cold Iowa winters!) with Tent Ventures. Take your sleepover to the next level with a tent adventure! They deliver, set up, style, and collect everything you need from a-frame tents and wooden tables; creating a simple, fuss-free gathering!

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

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Kara Knaack
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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