July is for trips to the pool, town festivals, family vacations, and soaking up the sunshine. Des Moines moms can find a variety of kid-friendly activities around the metro, as well as a few ideas for date night or an evening with friends.
Most importantly, July is when we celebrate our nation’s independence. Check out our guide to Des Moines Fireworks Displays.
We also have some great guides to help you plan a fun-filled summer.
July 2019 Events and Activities in Des Moines
July 1 | Red, White & Blooms, Pinot’s Palette
7 to 9 p.m.
Enjoy a glass of wine while you paint a patriotic picture. At $35 per painter, it’s a great option for a girls night out.
July 2-6 | USA Gymnastics Championships, Iowa Events Center
Starting at 9 a.m. each day
Watch the national championships for acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. The five-day championships include both Junior Olympic and elite levels.
July 2 | Terrace Hill Open House, 2300 Grand Ave.
10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Terrace Hill with a free self-guided tour.
July 3 | Toddler Tales, Jester Park Nature Center
Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed story time! Hear a story followed by an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft. This free program is geared for kids ages 3-6 years old.
July 5 | Stories in the Park, Campbell Park
Join the Clive Library for story time adventures in the park. Enjoy a morning filled with stories, music, and recreational activities. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch.
July 8 | Iowa Predators with Polk County Conservation, Forest Avenue Library
Learn about natural predators in Iowa. Make science exciting when you can see and touch animal pelts and bones. The free event is ideal for kids ages 5 to 12.
July 11 | I Mom So Hard, Des Moines Civic Center
Grab your mom friends and plan a girls’ night out right now. Two hilarious moms will have you rolling in the aisle with their oh-too-relatable stories of motherhood. You KNOW we will be there!
July 11-14 | Ankeny SummerFest, Ankeny
5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to midnight Friday; 7 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday
Ankeny’s annual SummerFest is a four-day celebration with carnival rides, parades, bands, food, and tons of opportunities for family fun. On Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy a free family day featuring superheroes, balloon artists, a bubble bash, and more. (And don’t miss the fireworks on Sunday night!)
July 12 | $5 Family Night, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cool off with some inside fun! This evening features $5 admission and $5 cafe specials.
July 12-13 | 80/35 Music Festival, Western Gateway Park, Des Moines
4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday
Check out live music (and two free stages with local bands!), enjoy local food and drink, shopping, and art. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, visit the Sammons Kids Zone, featuring large inflatables, face-painting, hula hooping, arts and crafts, and large grassy shaded areas.
July 13 | Norwalk Summer Bash, St. John the Apostle Catholic Church West Parking Lot, Norwalk
7 p.m. to midnight
Enjoy a summer evening and raise money for the Norwalk fireworks fund with live music, food, and a kids’ corner. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 4-10, and kids 3 and under are free.
July 12-13 | Waukee Arts Festival, Centennial Park, Waukee
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday
Enjoy a Friday night concert by The Brazilian 2wins and Saturday night by The Nadas, art from more than 100 regional artists, food trucks, and craft beer. Free kids entertainment and activities on Saturday.
July 14 | Camel, Zebra & Ostrich Races, Prairie Meadows, Altoona
1 p.m to 4 p.m.
Arrive early to this popular (and free!) family event. The track opens at 11 a.m., with live racing kicking off at 1 p.m. Camels, zebras, and ostriches will race between the regularly-scheduled live horse races.
July 15 | Outta’ This World Bugs! with ISU Insect Zoo, West Des Moines Library
Leave the bug spray at home and learn about more than 100 species of alien-looking bugs up-close and personal. This free event is a great opportunity to learn about these interesting creatures in a fun, friendly way.
July 19-20 | Clive Festival, Clive
This annual summer celebration is filled with fun events for the family. Our favorites? Bring the whole family to the Clive Aquatic Center for just $15 on Friday night, and on Saturday visit the giant slip ‘n’ slide hosted by the Clive Fire Department and cozy up for an outdoor movie: LEGO Movie 2. And don’t miss Clive’s “Thunder Over Clive” fireworks display on Saturday night!
July 20 | Beaverdale Bluegrass Festival, Tower Park
5 to 10 p.m.
Enjoy a night of free music in the park. Food trucks will be on hand, and beverages will be available for purchase. We recommend bringing blankets, lawn chairs, bug spray, and a water bottle.
July 25-28 | 2019 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships, Drake Stadium
Take the family to see the nation’s best track and field athletes compete for a spot on Team USATF for the World Outdoor Championships. Tickets start at $5 on Thursday. Costs are $10-$25 for the rest of the weekend.
July 26-27 | Italian American Heritage Festival of Iowa 2019, Western Gateway Park
Friday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission is free before 5 p.m., but donations to the Food Bank of Iowa will be accepted. Enjoy inflatables, a children’s craft tent, face painting, balloon artists and puppet shows. There will also be bocce ball tournaments and a pizza eating contest.
July 26 – August 3 | National Balloon Classic, Memorial Balloon Field, Indianola
Gates open at 5 a.m. for morning attendees and 4 p.m. for afternoon and evening attendees
Watch nearly 100 hot air balloons paint the Iowa sky with brilliant colors and playful shapes. Cheer on skilled pilots as they compete for points and prizes, enjoy live music, and maybe even buy a balloon ride for a one-of-a-kind view. The event also features Dawn Patrol, Nite Glow, Kids Land, and, of course: food and fireworks! Cost is $8 at the gate for adults and children over five (cash only). Or buy tickets in advance online for $6 each.
July 31 | Generic Wizard and His Legally Compliant Birthday Party, Iowa Taproom
5 to 7:30 p.m.
Hey Hufflepuffs, call your favorite Potterheads and plan a happy hour in honor of everyone’s favorite wizard’s birthday. Come dressed as your favorite wizarding character and enter to win prizes.
Send us an email if we missed anything, and we’ll add your event to the list.
We work hard to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.