Things To Do in Des Moines in May 2021

This article is sponsored by Polk County Conservation.

We are thrilled to partner with the Lauridsen Skatepark to promote its grand opening on May 22.  

Opening on May 22, 2021, the Lauridsen Skatepark will be the largest open park in the nation. The skatepark is at the north end of the Principal Riverwalk next to the Des Moines River. The 88,000 square feet attraction will showcase Olympic caliber park and street courses. Thrilling features include a promenade, flow bowl, amoeba pool, snake run, and a skateable art piece entitled WOW.



May 1 | Kites on the Green, Johnston Commons
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit the Kites on the Green Festival featuring giant show kite displays, free kite building, live music, a 3D chalk artist, and quality outdoor time with family.

May 1-May 31 | Wild Nights, Blank Park Zoo
7 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 limited capacity, social distance friendly festival. $20 per person or $72 for a four-pack of tickets. Discounts available for members.

May 1 | Downtown Farmers Market opens 
One of Des Moines’ beloved summer events is back! The Downtown Farmers’ Market is kicking off the season with a modified, in-person market. Social distancing measures and facemasks are required for vendors and visitors.

May 1 | Living History Farms opens 
Travel back in time to visit each of the three working farm sites: 1700 Ioway Farm, 1850 Pioneer Farm, and 1900 Horse-Powered Farm. Be sure to visit the 1876 Town of Walnut Hill, complete with a Blacksmith, General Store, Print Shop, and Flynn Mansion and Barn, which are both on the National Register of Historic Places. This season LHF is open Tuesday-Saturday from May 1 – October 30.

May 1 | Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo, Wells Fargo Arena
1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Watch cowboys working their way toward the National Championships. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

May 2, 9, 16, 23 | Sunday Tunes, Summerset Winery
Enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon at the winery listening to live music. Entry is $5 and wine is available for purchase. Pack a picnic to enjoy while you relax.

May 4-9 | ICubs Season Opener, Principal Park
Sing it with me now: Take me out to the ball game! Get back to a favorite pastime as the ICubs take the field for the first time this season.

May 5, 12, 19, 26 | 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. 

May 6-8 | Tulip Time, Pella
We are excited for the return of Tulip Time! There will be some changes, such as no parades, to accommodate social distancing. Check out the festival schedule to get all the details on what to expect this year. Don’t forget to try the poffertjes!

May 6, 13, 20, 27 | Caterpillar Club, Reiman Gardens in Ames
This popular Early Childhood Development program featuring stories followed by nature exploration and activities will be held outside this spring. It is best for children ages 2-5 with an adult. Attendance is limited to six family groups per session. Masks are required for persons 3 and older.

May 8 | Outdoor Storytime, Storyhouse Book Pub
11 a.m.
Bring the kids for an outdoor story session while you browse new releases from the most charming little book shop in Windsor Heights.

May 8 | Wild Art 2.0, Blank Park Zoo
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wild Art 2.0 is the Zoo’s take on a local art fair. There will be 13 art vendors will be on site, including live art demonstrations, animal art demonstrations, and enrichment workshops. Enjoy a beautiful day at the Zoo supporting local artists. General admission fees apply.

May 8 | Healthy Kids Day, Centennial Park, Waukee
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Don’t miss this fun and FREE event for the entire community! Healthy Kids Day provides all the ingredients for developing healthy, resilient kids. Join the Y and Waukee High School APEX for a morning of fun activities to celebrate kids being kids!

May 9 | Mommy & Me Painting, Smash Park
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Get away with your budding artist for a little mommy and me time at Smash Park. A master artist will deliver step-by-step instruction for you to follow along and create your own set of matching paintings. Plus you can enjoy $2 breakfast cocktails if you choose. Registration is required.

May 9 | Free Admission to Reiman Gardens, Ames 
Celebrate Mother’s Day at Reiman Gardens! They offer free admission to all mothers on Mother’s Day. No preregistration required. Admission for other family members is regular price.

May 11 | Every Woman Counts, Virtual Event Hosted by Count the Kicks
12 p.m.
Support the mission of Count the Kicks to decrease the number of stillbirths in the U.S. when you buy a ticket to this event. The key presenter will be best-selling author, Glennon Doyle. Share in this empowering interactive virtual event and support a great cause. Tickets start at $60 and you receive a Raygun t-shirt with your purchase.

May 14 | Parent & Child Play Session, Brenton Arboretum
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Jill Woodward, child therapist and local artist, is hosting a one-hour program to learn new skills for a fun and special way to interact with your child. Constructive play improves the relationship, communication, and understanding between child and adult. Bring your child(ren) and a few small floor toys (cars, figurines, Legos, etc.) The program is geared towards children ages 2-5 years old. Cost is $5 per parent/child group.

May 15 | Library Learning Bags, Des Moines Public Library
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stop by Curbside or DMPL Express Service at any of the six library branches to pick up a Library Learning Bag. This month’s bag includes Superhero and Luchadores Activities.  There are also bilingual activity books courtesy of Iowa Total Care Al Éxito. The Library Learning Bags are intended for ages 5-12 and are a great opportunity for your child to enjoy open-ended creativity. 

May 20, 27 | 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.

May 20-23 | Dew Tour, Lauridsen Skatepark
Watch the men’s and women’s skateboarding Street and Park competitions. This competition serves as the only U.S.-based global Olympic skateboard qualifying events for 2021. Spectators will be limited. COVID guidelines can be found on the Dew Tour site.

May 22 | Lauridsen Skate Park Grand Opening
6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The Lauridsen Skatepark is a shared public space. Have fun, be safe, respect others, and enjoy your ride! Following the Dew Tour’s departure on May 26th, the skatepark will be open from 6 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. seven days per week free of charge. Skate DSM will be offering programs and clinics for the public. Keep up-to-date about these programs and other skatepark news on Facebook and the Lauridsen Skatepark’s website at

May 24 | Outdoor Family Storytime, South Side Public Library
6:15 p.m.
Get outside and have some fun as a family. Join Miss Janee at the South Side Library for Outdoor Family Storytime at 6:15 p.m. Bring your own blanket or chairs and engage in fun stories, puppets, and silly songs on the South Library Lawn. Masks and social distancing are required. 

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 changing week to week, 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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