November Family-Friendly Events in Des Moines

This article is sponsored by Polk County Conservation.

We are thrilled to partner with the Jester Park Nature Center to bring you this monthly event guide. 

Get a head start on holiday shopping, at the Virtual Makers Market. This event is typically held at the Jester Park Nature Center (near Granger), but will now be an online shopping event November 12-December 12 where you can support local makers.

For more local gift-buying ideas visit our Holiday Market guide for a go-to guide for shopping local for the holidays.

November 12-December 12 | Virtual Makers Market, Jester Park Nature Center
You can still support local small businesses in the community this season. Shop the 2020 Virtual Makers Market online from the comfort of your own home.


November 1, 8, 15, 22 | Crafternoon Workshop, AR Workshop in Ankeny
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
If you love to craft, but don’t want the mess at home, check out the Sunday afternoon craft workshops at AR Workshop. It’s a fun way to make something personalized for your home, and to spend an afternoon crafting with friends. Costs vary depending on the project.

November 2, 10 | Muddy Boots Forest Camp
10 a.m.
Go for a toddler-paced hike at a local park and enjoy a healthy snack while you listen to storytime. With the $8 registration fee, your child will about get to choose a book to take home. Registration required.

November 2-30 | Des Moines Children’s Museum, Valley West Mall
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (closed Wednesdays and Sundays)
Looking for a place to play? There are new exhibits to explore at the DSM Children’s Museum. Masks are required for kids ages 5 and up. Check out their website for more information on cleaning procedures and social distancing measures.

November 3, 17 | Pony Tales, Jester Park Equestrian Center
11:30 a.m.
Bring your horse-loving kiddo to storytime at the Jester Park Equestrian Center where they will hear stories about horses and meet a real pony. Bring a blanket or chair to sit outside for this event. The event is free, but you must register ahead of time. Masks are required.

November 4, 11, 18, 25 | Storytime Online, Waukee Public Library (Virtual)
Every Wednesday there is a new storytime video from the team at Waukee Public Library. Work this into your routine at home whenever it works for your family and enjoy an engaging storytime experience.

November 4 – 8 | Weekend Comedy, Des Moines Playhouse
Live performances have resumed at the Des Moines Playhouse with paperless ticketing and a number of new procedures to keep patrons socially distant. With several seats between you and the next guest, this would make a great date night!

November 5, 12, 19 | Caterpillar Connection, Reiman Gardens (Virtual)
Tune in for a nature-themed storytime with the team at Reiman Gardens. This is a great way to supplement homeschool or remote learning days for preschoolers and early elementary-age kids.

November 5-29 | Science Center of Iowa  
One of your kids’ favorite places to play is now open Thursday, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can snag tickets online for either a morning session (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) or an afternoon session (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) Check out their web site for more information on masks and social distancing.

November 7 | Grandparent Breakfast, Blank Park Zoo
8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Let your kids spend the morning out with Grandma or Grandpa. They will enjoy breakfast and special activities at the zoo. Then they are free to take the morning to explore the zoo at their leisure. Cost is $12.

November 9 – November 22 | CDM Curbside Christkindlmarket
We love the holiday charm of the Christkindlmarket! As well as the yummy treats and fun vendors. This year you can shop online for your favorite items traditionally found at Christkindlmarkets, and then you’ll schedule to pick up your items curbside at Principal Park on December 3-6.

November 12-December 12 | Virtual Makers Market, Jester Park Nature Center
You can still support local small businesses in the community this season. Shop the 2020 Virtual Makers Market online from the comfort of your own home.

November 18 | Christmas Gnome Buddies, Knotty Nail
6 p.m.
Call your bestie and plan a girls’ night of crafting and lots of laughs as you create a set of Christmas gnomes. Cost is $50 and includes all the supplies and instructions. Bring your favorite bottle of wine and snacks to enjoy while you craft.

November 18 | Kids Night Out, Blank Park Zoo
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Kids ages 4-10 years old will enjoy meeting ambassador animals, playing games and doing crafts at the zoo while mom and dad enjoy an evening out. A pizza dinner is included. Cost is $35 for first child, and $30 each for additional children. Members get a $5 discount per child.

November 25-29 | Festival of Trees and Lights (virtual)
Another favorite Des Moines event is going online this year. Download the Festival of Trees and Lights app to view the stunning trees and participate in interactive games the whole family will enjoy.

November 26-December 6 | Disney on Ice Dream Big, Wells Fargo Arena at Iowa Events Center
Times and prices vary
Add a little magic to the holiday weekend as you watch 50 of the most beloved Disney characters perform on ice. Tickets this year are being sold in pods to allow for social distancing. Tickets start at $20, with a limit of 8 tickets per pod.

November 26 | Des Moines Turkey Trot (Virtual)
Get out of the house and burn some Thanksgiving calories. This year the Turkey Trot can be done anywhere! Order a Turkey Trot Challenge Box for $25, and you’ll get everything you need to participate, plus some great turkey swag.

November 27 – December 30 | Jolly Holiday Lights, Adventureland
5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $20 per car ($40 for limo or mini-bus)
Buy tickets ahead of time here
A central Iowa favorite for more than 20 years, Jolly Holiday Lights kicks off on Black Friday. Support the Make-a-Wish foundation and treat your family to a night of lights and holiday fun. (TIP: You can save $5 if you order tickets online by November 26.) Tickets will also be available at Des Moines area Hy-Vee, Casey’s, at the front gate and the Make-A-Wish Iowa office. Electronic tickets may be purchased at any time online

November 27 – January 3 | Santa’s Rock N Lights, Living History Farms
Santa’s Rock N Lights is an animated drive-thru light show. Experience themed worlds of light, including dinosaur world, with more than 700 feet of tunnels and over a mile-long route. Reserve tickets online ahead of time for a half-hour timeslot. Cost is $25 per vehicle up to 6 people.

 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.

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Content Coordinator Megan doesn’t really fall into any one mom category. With three kids from ages 5 to 12, she’s been a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. She’s breastfed and bottle-fed. She’s kept kids on strict sleeping schedules in their own beds and also embraced the benefits of co-sleeping. She’s a big believer in finding what works for you and your kiddo (and it’s often different for each kid). Megan is an Iowa native and lives in Ankeny with her husband Darren. They love to travel and are often planning their next road trip (even it’s a year away). They also enjoy entertaining and are famous among their friends for throwing big bashes to celebrate the Olympic Games. But her everyday life is mostly comprised of playdates, trips to the park, and trying to stay ahead of the never-ending laundry pile.    


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