New year, new things to do in Des Moines. Keep the winter scaries away by getting out and enjoying a chilly outdoor activity or check out your local library for everything from story times to scavenger hunts. And make time for yourself with adult-only activities.
Let’s start out the year with some fun!
More Winter Fun
Things to do in Des Moines in January 2023
Jan. 1-31 | Ice Skating, Brenton Skating Plaza
Ring in the new year and go ice skating downtown. Cost is $9.50 for adults and $5.75 for kids 12 and under. You can rent skates for $4.50 or bring your own. Online registration is recommended. Walk-up admission is available if under capacity.
Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27 | Maker Day Challenge, Forest Avenue Public Library
Calling all makers! Can you complete the weekly challenge to build, play, or create? Each week they will have a different activity set up in the children’s area and finishers can claim a prize.
Jan. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 31 | 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!
Jan. 3-8 | Cats, Des Moines Civic Center
Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including BEST MUSICAL, CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn.
Jan. 3-7 | Winter Animals Scavenger Hunt, East Side Library
Look around the children’s area to discover images of animals who can survive an Iowa winter! Can you find them all?
Jan. 3-31 | Sing and Shake, Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library
Join Ms. Kelly & Ms. Brittany for singing, dancing, bubbles, and fun! Sing & Shake is offered on a variety of days and times.
Jan. 4, 11, 18, 25 | Arts & Snacks, Johnston Public Library
3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Plan an after-school art session at the library. Kids in grades K-5 can drop in for a variety of art activities on Wednesday afternoons. All supplies will be provided as well as light snacks and beverages.
Jan. 4 | Toddler Tales, Jester Park Nature Center
Let your imagination run wild with this nature-themed story time. Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft. This event is designed for ages 3 and up.
Jan. 6-22 | Go, Dog, Go!, Des Moines Playhouse
Three dogs snorkel. Blue dogs howl. Small dogs ride a Ferris wheel. ALL dogs sing and dance and climb trees in an exploration of movement, color, and space. A big and little musical world of doggy fun! PD Eastman’s classic children’s book comes to life on stage like a pop-up book that never stops.
Jan. 6 and 20 | Homeschool Nature Lessons, Jester Park Nature Center
This program series will be delivered in a flexible format that is specially designed for homeschooled students. Cost is free, but registration is required.
Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30 | Baby Time, Waukee Public Library
This 15-20 minutes story time session is designed for infants ages 0-17 months. There will be songs, rhymes, and stories. The event is free, but registration is required as attendance is limited to 10 infants and their caregivers.
Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27 | Dome After Dark, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Experience the garden in a whole new way with Dome After Dark. You can stroll through the lush conservatory illuminated with unique lighting and luminarias. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Trellis Café.
Jan. 11 | Knee-High Naturalists, Jester Park Nature Center
Are you ready to get outside and explore? Come and hear a story followed by some outdoor fun! As naturalists, you will hike, investigate, and navigate the trails and grounds of Jester Park as you learn what makes the outdoors such an amazing place. Dress to be outside. Cost is Free, registration required.
Jan. 12 | Movie Matinee, Waukee Public Library
Head to the library on the second Thursday of every month to watch a movie on the library’s big screen. It is free and you are welcome to bring snacks of your own. No registration is required.
Jan. 12-14 | Chow’s Winter Classic, Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center
Top gymnasts converge in one of the biggest gymnastic meets in the midwest. With over 1,000 gymnasts competing, including two collegiate meets, this is a must-attend event for any gymnastics fan.
Jan. 13-14 | Cinch’s World’s Toughest Rodeo, Wells Fargo Arena
Bring your little wranglers downtown for a night of rodeo fun. The Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo will spotlight fan-favorite events: Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, and Bareback Riding.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, search for pictures of historic figures from the Civil Rights Movement while you learn about who they were. Find all the pictures and take home a prize.
Jan. 20-23 | Winter Cabin Retreat with Wander Women, Whiterock Conservancy
Get ready to get cozy at the warmest, most fun winter cabin weekend. Unwind, relax, reflect on the year ahead and eat some seriously delicious food. Held at Whiterock Conservancy, one of Iowa’s true hidden gems, to embrace winter’s slow moments and celebrate a brand new year of adventure and outdoor community!
Jan. 20 | Kids Night Out, Blank Park Zoo
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Parents, enjoy a kid-free evening while the kids enjoy the zoo! Let us be your sitter for the night and send the kids to Blank Park Zoo for an animal-tastic evening. Kids will experience the exhibits after hours, an ambassador animal program, crafts, stories, games, and more. Pizza dinner is included.
Jan. 20 | Family Fun Night Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Nature Center
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Gather your friends and family together for a night of fun of bouldering (age 4+) and archery (age 10+). Light snacks will be provided. Registration required.
Jan. 21 | Collision of Rhythm, Des Moines Civic Center
Collision of Rhythm is a duo comprised of tap-dancing classical virtuoso, Aaron Williams, and beatbox-juggling keynote speaker, Bronkar Lee. With drumming, tap dancing, rhythmic juggling, marimba, piano, saxophone, flute and so much more, the show has been described as “Stomp meets Blue Man meets Cirque du Soleil.”
Jan 21. | FamilyFest, Lutheran Church of Hope – Waukee
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
This FREE, family-friendly event will help the kids burn off some energy! Check out Waukee area businesses, play games and jump on inflatables.
Jan. 22 | Chinese New Year Celebration Jester Park Recreation Center
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
It’s the year of the rabbit! Learn about the history of the Chinese New Year, similarities between Chinese zodiac and western astrology, and of course, rabbits. Shadow Fist Kung Fu will be back for a live lion dance and kung fu demonstration. Event is free; registration required.
Jan. 27 – 28 | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert, Des Moines Civic Center
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Grab your broom and get ready for the tasks ahead! The Triwizard Tournament comes to Hogwarts™ in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert. Relive the magic of Harry Potter™ soaring across the big screen in high-definition, accompanied by the Des Moines Symphony performing Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score live at the Des Moines Civic Center.
Jan. 28 | Winter Wonderland, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Take your family to enjoy and explore all things winter and plants. Drop in any time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to complete crafts for kids of all ages as well as fun activities to experience the Garden together! Activities are available for ages 0-12. Members $7 per youth, non-members $12 per youth.
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.