Things to do in Des Moines in August 2021

This article is sponsored by Polk County Conservation.

We’re excited to share the August Event Guide with our sponsor at Polk County Conservation.

The Glow Wild event is August 28 at the Jester Park Nature Center and is hosted by Polk County Conservation and Cumulus Media. This family-friendly event is fun for all ages!

Glow Wild is held at the Jester Park Nature Center in Granger, Iowa, right outside of the Des Moines metro area. This year, they are welcoming local Iowa bands and singer-songwriters to the stage for an evening full of fun for the entire family. They will also have fun programs, canoeing, horse-drawn wagon rides, signature bonfire, climbing walls, tethered hot air balloon rides, and many more fun activities throughout the evening. Go to for more information and to buy your tickets.

Summer Guides for Endless Fun

Ultimate Guide to Summer
Summer Bucket List
Pool Guide 
Spraygrounds & Wading Pool Guide
Outdoor Ideas for Toddlers
Outdoor Movies
Outdoor Yoga Classes
Summer Road Races 
Outdoor Concert Guide

Things to do in Des Moines in August 2021

August brings many opportunities for classic Iowa fun. We’re excited to get back to the National Balloon Classic and the Iowa State Fair. Before school starts again, get out and enjoy outdoor yoga or storytime in the parks.

July 30 – August 7 | National Balloon Classic, Memorial Balloon Field, Indianola
The beloved National Balloon Classic is back, but there are some changes to the event this year.
The biggest change is about admission: Tickets ($10 for guests 6 and older) must be purchased online and printed on paper. Tickets cannot be scanned from a mobile device, and cash will not be accepted at the gate. The parade, kids land, and Dawn Patrol are all canceled for 2021. Check the website for details and the full schedule.

Aug 1 | Clowns at the Carousel, Union Park
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Have fun and learn about bike safety at this free event near the Heritage Carousel at Union Park. There will be clowns and entertainment along with educational information about bike safety for kids.

Aug 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 | Yoga in the Commons, Cowles Commons
9 a.m.
Shake up your yoga practice with a yoga session in Cowles Commons. Each week’s practice is led by a different instructor. Classes are offered as a free-will donation, with all proceeds benefitting Des Moines Performing Arts. Click here for more outdoor yoga classes.

Aug 3, 5, 10, 12 | Storytime in the Parks, Urbandale Public Library
Explore a park and enjoy storytime with the Urbandale Public Library. This event is geared for younger kids, ages 2-8, but the whole family is welcome to join in on the fun. Check their website for the weekly location.

Aug 5 | Summer Concert Series, Jasper Winery
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Enjoy free live music at Jasper Winery. Bring a lawn chair, blankets, and snacks. Drinks and food will also be available for purchase at the event. Check their website before the event for the most up-to-date social distancing guidelines. Click here to see more outdoor concerts.

Aug 6, 13, 20 | Sips and Songs, The District at Prairie Trail
Kick-off the weekend with music, drinks, and family fun in Ankeny. The concert and parking is free. NOTE: There are no food vendors this year. You can pick a local restaurant to support and bring a take-out meal with you as you hang out with friends. Be sure to pack chairs or a blanket to sit on.

Aug 6, 13, 20, 27 | Pizza on the Prairie, Wallace Center
Come to the prairie on Friday nights for handmade-from-scratch brick oven pizza packed with straight-from-the-farm veggies and local meats! Live music plays from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Walk the prairie path and enjoy the outdoor art along the way. Seating is limited, so bring your own lawn chairs and blankets. Reservations required.

Aug 7 | Grain Harvest, Living History Farms
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Watch as the historic farmers bring in the year’s grain harvest, using hand power, horsepower, and steam. Hear the smash of the flail and the roar of the steam-powered thresher. Demonstrations will be weather-dependent.

Aug 7 | Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, Des Moines Playhouse
10 a.m.
The Des Moines Playhouse is performing within a Tent Theatre this summer. In this show, Lily Polkadot moves to a “Squares only” town and struggles to gain acceptance from her peers. It’s a story that reminds us all that our differences make us awesome. Tickets are $15 for all ages.

Aug 8 | Mermaid Princess Party, Clive Aquatic Center
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Meet Ariel and other mermaid princesses while you splash around. Crafts and treats will also be available at the event. Come in your favorite royal attire over your swimsuit for a photo opp. Parents are encouraged to be in the water with their swimmer for aquatic safety. Cost is $25 per child/parent.

Aug 9 | Make it: In the Mail, Johnston Library
Sign up to have a craft kit mailed to your house. Sign up August 9 and kits will be mailed out the week of August 16. Kits are available for ages 3-5 and grade K-5.

Aug 10 | Splash with a Princess, Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center
6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Your little one will love a chance to splash and play with a princess. Sign up to attend a pool party with  Snow White, Snow Queen, Ice Princess, the Little Mermaid, and more! Cost is $20.

Aug 11 | Nature Story Hour, Jester Park Nature Center
12 p.m.
Pack your picnic lunch and bring your family for an hour of nature stories and activities with a naturalist. This family-friendly program is free. Afterward, enjoy exploring Jester Park.  

Aug 11 | Lactation Webinar 
12 p.m.
New and expectant parents should check out this free with Dr. Nastassia Davis, DNP, MSN, RN, IBCLC, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Montclair State University and Founder of the Perinatal Health Equity Foundation. She will answer your most pressing questions about latch, supply, pumping, and so much more.

Aug 12-22 | Iowa State Fair
7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Join more than one million fellow fair-goers at the award-winning Iowa State Fair, right here in Des Moines! Check the website for a full listing of events, concerts, and attractions.

Aug 13 | Family Pool Day, Des Moines
Grab the family and jump into the pool! Enjoy $5 admission at all City of Des Moines aquatic facilities.

Aug 14 | Star Party, Ewing Park
6 p.m.
The Perseid meteor shower has been the most active meteor shower of the year, and this Star Party will be held on the meteor shower’s most active night. Meet at the Ewing Park Lilac Arboretum at 6 p.m. for crafts, experiments, and other activities. While the sun is setting, there will be guest speakers talking about the night sky and an outdoor movie. While this event is free and open to the public, there is also overnight primitive camping available for $25, which is available by reservation.

Aug 28 | Dam to DSM Race
7 a.m. start time
Lace-up and join other runners for one of Des Moines’ favorite road races that takes you from the Saylorville Dam through Des Moines and ends downtown. Register today!

Aug 28 | Glow Wild, Jester Park Nature Center
4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Enjoy local Iowa bands and singer-songwriters on the stage for an evening full of fun for the entire family! There are also fun programs such as canoeing, horse-drawn wagon rides, signature bonfire, climbing walls, tethered hot air balloon rides, and many more fun activities throughout the evening! Tickets are $5 for children and $15 for adults.

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, as COVID guidelines are always changing, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.

Previous articleBreastfed and Formula Fed: One Mother’s Journey
Next articleTaste of Des Moines :: a HUGE GIVEAWAY!
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.    


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here