April showers bring May’s favorite event: Kites on the Green in Johnston.
Save the date for the ninth annual Kites on the Green event at Johnston Commons on Saturday, May 7. This family-fun event will be held in the green space near the Johnston Public Library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can enjoy giant show kite displays, kite fighting, free kite building, bol racing, live music, inflatable obstacle course, learn about stormwater best management practices, sidewalk chalk and more. Learn more here.
If you are unable to make it to the event on May 7, you can still take part in the free kite building at the Johnston Public Library on Saturday, April 23, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Build a kite and watch its beautiful colors fill the Johnston sky!
Spring is also a great time to get outside and check out the Wild Lights Festival at the Blank Park Zoo or visit Living History Farms’ Family Easter celebration. If you’re just looking for fun things to do in Des Moines we’ve got you covered. For easy (and inexpensive) activities to get the kids out of the house to have some fun and maybe learn a little along the way, here is a great round-up of storytimes and makers challenges at local libraries.
Fun Things to Do in Des Moines in April
April 1 | San Jose Taiko, Des Moines Performing Arts Wellmark Family Series, Des Moines Civic Center
This one-hour show will have the entire family feeling the beat of the drums in their bodies from start to finish. Tickets start at $12.
April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 | Drop-in Playdates & Perks, Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Make new friends for you and the kids. Drop into the library to enjoy some coffee, the company of other adults, and playtime for your kiddos!
April 1 – May 30 | Wild Lights Festival, Blank Park Zoo
7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Enjoy a visually stunning festival of larger-than-life illuminated animal-shaped Asian lanterns. Immerse your family in light and culture in a festival. Advanced tickets: $25 per person; $20 for zoo members. At the door: $30 per person; $25 for zoo members. $72 for a four-pack of tickets.
April 1 | Global Migrations, Jester Park Nature Center
Bring everyone for a family-friendly evening focused on the annual migrations of a chosen animal species. You will learn some geography, animal facts, and particular migration details that are sure to amaze us all. The program will involve a short presentation, hands-on fun, possibly a craft or game, and a brief group discussion. The event is free but registration is required.
April 2 | Mother/Son Nerf Battle, Valley Community Center
Battle it out with your sons and enjoy ice cream sundaes afterward. Cost is $30 per team and proceeds go to Single Parent Provision. Nerf guns and safety glasses provided.
1:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. = Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
3:30 p.m. -5:30 p.m. = 3rd grade – 5th Grade
April 2 | Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, Civic Center
Attention all Beatles lovers, this show is one you don’t want to miss. In celebration of the anniversary of the release of Abbey Road, RAIN will bring the greatest hits to life. This event is the next best thing to seeing the Beatles.
April 2 | Family Movie Party: Mitchells vs the Machines, Central Library
Skip the pricey movie theater and take the family to the library for a matinee. The event is free but registration is required.
April 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28 | Toddler Time, Get Air
Little jumpers get special access to the trampolines on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Admission is $8.99 (free for a parent). It’s a great way to burn some winter energy!
April 6 | Mini-Preschool Storytime, Waukee Public Library
Enjoy 15 minutes of stories, songs, and rhymes, with a craft to take home to make. This session is recommended for children ages 3.5-5 years old and their caregivers. Registration is required.
April 7, 14, 21, 28 | Caterpillar Club, Reiman Gardens in Ames
Get outside and have some fun with a weekly storytime at Reiman Gardens. This program is designed for kids ages 2-5 with an adult. Program is included with general admission to Reiman Gardens.
April 8 | Cinnaholic Grand Opening, Cinnaholic Bakery
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Savor a delicious cinnamon roll for $1 in honor of the grand opening of a new bakery in the East Village. Cinnaholic is a locally owned and operated bakery specializing in custom gourmet cinnamon rolls and homemade cookie dough, brownies, and cookies.
April 9 | Read to a Therapy Pet, Altoona Public Library
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Encourage kids to read by having them read to a pet. This is a drop-in event and each child will have 10-15 minutes to read with the pet. An adult guardian must remain in the room while the child is reading to the pet.
April 9-10 | Monster Jam, Iowa Event Center
Lovers of big trucks will have an incredible time at Monster Jam. It’s an action-packed motorsports experience for families. Monster Jam features world-class athletes locked in intense competitions of speed and skill.
April 11 | Storytime with Ruby the Reading Red Panda, Blank Park Zoo
Join Ruby’s storytime in person at the Zoo. Listen to a story and meet a special live ambassador animal from the Zoo’s education department. The event is free for members or with paid Zoo admission. You can also join in virtually at 11:45 a.m. with EveryStep for a special bilingual storytime. They’ll read a story in a different language and then read it again in English. Check the link to view the log-in instructions.
April 12 | Iowa Cubs Baseball Season Opener, Principal Park
Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Take your favorite baseball fans out to see the home opener for the Iowa Cubs.
April 13 | Storytime at Home Activity Pack, Waukee Public Library
Pick up activity packs that contain a simple craft or activity for children ages 2-5 years. There will be a new pack available on Wednesday afternoons each week on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.
April 16 | Family Easter, Living History Farms
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Celebrate Easter with ongoing egg hunts (divided by age), games, baby farm animals, and more. Living History Farms’ Family Easter is full of traditional holiday activities with a small-town twist. Cost is $8 per person/$7 for members.
More Easter activities:
April 16 | Make Cloud Dough, North Side Library
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Do your kids love to make slime or cloud dough, but you hate the sticky mess it makes in your house? Don’t worry, you can stop by the North Side Library and let them make cloud dough and then leave all the sticky ingredients at the library.
April 20-30 | Encanto Scavenger Hunt, South Side Library
We don’t talk about Bruno and his family hiding around the South Side Library! Your kiddos will have a blast searching for Mirabel and her family members. They will win a prize if they locate them all and make the family strong!
April 22 | Family Storytime, West Des Moines Public Library
Head to the Community Room at the West Des Moines Library for this class featuring stories, songs, and rhymes followed by gross and fine motor play all with an early literacy focus! This program is designed for ages 2-6 with an adult. The event is free, but registration is required.
April 22-May 8 |Pippi Longstocking, The Des Moines Playhouse
The kids will love this story of a young girl, Pippi Longstocking, who has a big imagination and even bigger adventures. Tickets start at $14.
April 22 | Maker Day Challenge, Forest Avenue Library
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Let your kids unleash their creativity as they complete a weekly challenge to build, play, or create something totally unique. The activity will be set up in the children’s area and finishers can claim a prize.
April 23 | Paddington Gets in a Jam, Des Moines Performing Arts Wellmark Family Series, Des Moines Civic Center
Paddington takes center stage in this heart-warming family comedy. Tickets start at $12.
April 23 | Free Admission for Earth Day, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Visit Des Moines’ favorite indoor garden for free in celebration of Earth Day. Masks are required for all visitors two years and older.
April 23 | Kite Building Workshop, Johnston Public Library
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
A kite building workshop will be held on Saturday, April 23, at the Johnston Public Library. This is an opportunity for you to make and fly a kite before the big event on May 7.
April 26 | Every Woman Counts, Iowa Events Center
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Every Woman Counts, presented by MercyOne Des Moines, will be held April 26 at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines. This annual event includes an uplifting and motivational 90-minutes program that supports our mission to save babies and improve birth outcomes.
April 26 | Grand Blue Mile, Downtown Des Moines
The Grand Blue Mile is the Midwest’s premier community street run for all ages and abilities. Held annually since 2010, the Grand Blue Mile has hosted more than 35,000 participants, including Olympic medalists, American record holders, and many of the world’s finest track and field athletes. Bring your family and be a part of the magic.
April 27-30 | Drake Relays, Drake University
Witness the best of the best at the Drake Relays. Go for one session or the whole weekend. Tickets start at $15
May 7 | Kites on the Green, Johnston Commons
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Head to the Johnston Commons for the ninth annual Kites on the Green event on Saturday, May 7. You’ll enjoy giant show kite displays, kite fighting, free kite building, bol racing, live music, inflatable obstacle course, and more.
Send us an email if we missed any fun things to do in Des Moines, 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.