Guide to Winter Fun in Des Moines

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Winter FunWinter doesn’t mean you have to stay inside for months on end. Get bundled up and get outside for some winter fun. From ice skating to skiing, snowshoeing to sledding, there are places all over the metro to enjoy the winter, including lots of free options!

Ready to get outside but not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! Let this guide to ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snow tubing, and more in Des Moines and Central Iowa help you find fun things to do in Des Moines this winter. 

Looking for more winter activities? Check out our list of 30+ Family-Friendly Winter Activities

Here’s where you can go ice skating this winter in the Des Moines area:

Most locations are open from December through March depending on the weather. 

Outdoor Ice Skating in Des Moines

Ankeny Parks & Recreation Outdoor Ice Rink

Where: Sunrise Park, 506 SE Peterson Dr, Ankeny
Watch for the green flag for safe skating conditions.

Hours: Hockey skating dawn to noon; open skating noon to dusk

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates

Brenton Skating Plaza

Where: 520 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines

Hour: Vary by day

Admission: $8/Adults, $5/Children (6-12), skate rental available

Des Moines Parks and Recreation – Neighborhood Park Ponds

Where: Greenwood Park Pond: 45th and Grand Ave, Des Moines

MacRae Park Pond: SW 9th and Davis Ave, Des Moines

Witmer Park Pond: 610 34th St, Des Moines

Hours: Normal park hours – sunrise to sunset. 
Check online to be sure locations are open. They use a flag system to indicate the availability of public skating.

Admission: FREE

Grimes Parks & Recreation Outdoor Ice Rink

Where: Grimes Sports Complex, 50 S James St, Grimes

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates

Indianola Parks & Recreation Outdoor Ice Rink

Where: Soccer fields south of the Indianola Middle School, 403 S. 15th St, Indianola

Hours: Hockey from dawn to noon; open skating noon to dusk. 

A green sign will be posted at the gate to indicate that the rink is open; a red sign will be posted when the rink is closed. 

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates

Johnston Town Center Ice Rink

Where: 6245 Merle Hay Road, Johnston

Hours:  Vary by day

Admission: FREE. Skate rental available

Johnston Parks and Recreation Outdoor Ice Rink

Where: Johnston Commons, 6169 Northglenn Dr, Johnston and Crosshaven Park, 7909 NW 95th St, Johnston

Hours: Hockey from dawn to noon; open skating noon to dusk

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates

Urbandale Parks & Recreation Outdoor Ice Rink

Where: Lions Park, 72nd St and Aurora Ave, Urbandale

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates

Valley Community Center 

Where: 4444 Fuller Road, West Des Moines

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates

Waukee Parks & Recreation Outdoor Ice Rink

Where: Grant Park, 605 SE Driftwood Lane, Waukee

Hours: Hockey dawn to noon; open skating noon to dusk

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates.

West Des Moines Parks & Recreation Outdoor Ice Rink

Where: Raccoon River Park, 2500 Grand Ave, West Des Moines

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Admission: FREE. Bring your own skates

SnowshoeingWhere to rent winter gear in Des Moines: 

Active Endeavors

Where: 4520 University Avenue #130, West Des Moines

Rent cross-country skis, boots and poles and snowshoes during the winter.

REI

Where: 5901 Mills Civic Pkwy Ste 401, West Des Moines

Scheels

101 Jordan Creek Pkwy, West Des Moines

Here’s where you can go Snow Shoeing, Cross-Country Skiing, Downhill Skiing, and Snow Tubing near Des Moines

Dallas County Conservation

Where: Voas Nature Center 19286 Lexington Road, Minburn

What: Cross-country skiing when there are four or more inches of snow and staff is available. They have shoes, skis, and poles, mostly for ages 10 and up (with a very limited number of sets for younger skiers) available to rent. 

When: Check their Facebook page for ski days and times 

Cost: $3 per person for ski rental.

Des Moines Parks & Recreation

Various Locations

Explore the outdoors with Des Moines Parks & Rec this winter. They typically schedule several snowshoe hikes and ice fishing events throughout the season. If there is inclement weather or a COVID spike, events may be canceled or rescheduled. Check out their event calendar and follow their Facebook page for “Pop Up Programs”. Anyone under 12 years old will need to have a guardian present.

What: Snowshoeing and ice fishing

Hours: Vary by event

Cost: All events require registration, and most have a fee that includes equipment rental and instructions.

Polk County Conservation

Where: 11407 NW Jester Park Dr, Granger

The Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center is currently closed but is renting snowshoes and cross-country skis when there are at least 6 inches of snow on the ground. Equipment can be rented from the Center seven days per week for a full day or half-day when conditions are right. 

What: Cross country skiing and Snowshoeing

Hours:  Monday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Cost: Cross country skis, boots, and poles rent for $15 a day; Snowshoes rent for $10 a day.Winter Fun

Seven Oaks Recreation Center

Where: 1086 222nd Dr, Boone

Des Moines may not have mountains, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ski here. Hit the slopes at Seven Oaks Recreation Center in Boone. They also offer lessons and equipment rental as well as snow tubing.  

What: Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Snow Tubing

Hours: Weekdays 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Cost: Lift Rates $12 – $40

Warren County Conservation Board

Various Locations 

What: Snowshoeing. They have snowshoe hikes scheduled in January and February. Classes will be canceled if there’s not enough snow.

Hours: Event times vary.

Cost: FREE but registration is required.

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.

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