Things to do in Des Moines in November 2021

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This article is sponsored by Polk County Conservation.

November events in Des MoinesWe are thrilled to partner with Polk County Conservation to bring you this monthly event guide. 

Get a head start on holiday shopping at the Jester Park Nature Center’s Locally Grown, Raised, & Created Fall Makers Market. It is a handcrafted marketplace where you can support more than 42 local merchants in a beautiful park setting. Attend on Sunday, November 21, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Jester Park Nature Center in Granger to shop for gifts or goods just in time for the holiday season!

While there, explore the nature center’s exhibits and if the weather allows, relax on the back patio in an Adirondack chair by the fireplace, or grab a cup of hot chocolate at the Outdoor Recreation Center!

Nov. 21 | Locally Grown, Raised, & Created Fall Makers Market, Jester Park Nature Center
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Support local small businesses in the community this season while shopping at the Fall Makers Market at the scenic Jester Park Nature Center.

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

Fall Makers MarketThings to Do in November 2021

Nov. 1, 15 | Little Lotus Yoga, Johnston Public Library
6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Enjoy playful yoga poses combined with picture books, crafts, and other age-appropriate props to spark your child’s love of yoga. This program is designed for children ages 4-10 and their parent or guardian. The class is free, but registration is required.

Nov. 4, 11, 18, 24 | 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.

Nov. 4, 11, 18 | Tot Town, Valley Community Center
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Bring the little ones out to play for a morning at the Valley Community Center. This event is free!

Nov. 4, 11 | Homeschool Series, Science Center of Iowa
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
With hands-on workshops for students and parents, the Homeschool Science Series is a unique opportunity for homeschoolers to enhance their curriculum through STEM programming led by SCI staff. Workshops also provide an opportunity for homeschoolers to share ideas and expand their network of like-minded learners. Cost is $19 per student, $10 for members.

Nov. 5-14 | Junie B Jingle Bells Batman Smells, Des Moines Community Playhouse
Return to the playhouse with a fun-filled show about Junie B. Jones and her first-grade holiday sing-along disaster. You can purchase tickets to view on-demand at home or you can get a ticket to see the show in real life. Note: Masks are required regardless of vaccination status.  

Nov. 5, 12, 19 | Drop-in Playdates & Perks, Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library
Interested in making new friends for you and the kids? Drop in to the library to enjoy some coffee, the company of other adults, and playtime for your kiddos! 

Nov. 5- Jan. 2 | Winter Wonderlights, Ankeny Uptown
Walk, bike, or drive through Uptown Ankeny after sundown to see 30 animated light displays.

Nov. 7 | Holiday Desserts, Real Food 4 Kids
Just in time for Thanksgiving! Your kid or teen will create a couple of different pies to take home and share with you. They’ll make both a traditional pie and a free-form galette. They can recreate it for your Thanksgiving table.

Nov. 8 | Storytime with Ruby the Reading Red Panda, Blank Park Zoo
11 a.m.
Join Ruby’s storytime in person at the Zoo! They will read a story and you will 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.

Nov. 8, 15, 22, 29 | Baby Time, Waukee Public Library
10 a.m.
The youngest learners will enjoy attending baby time at the library. The program includes 15-20 minutes of songs, rhymes and stories for infants ages 0-17 months and their caregivers. Registration is required.

Nov. 10 | After-School Adventures, West Des Moines Library
3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Extend the learning with an after-school adventure. Head to the Community Room after school to embark on an adventure! This program is designed for ages 5-12, registration required.

Nov. 12 | Pete the Cat Kit, Grimes Public Library
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bring the fun of the library home with an activity kit. Stop by the library to pick up a Pete the Cat puppet kit.

Nov 6, 13, 20 | Ceramic Tree event, Glazed Expressions in Ankeny or Clive
Remember those ceramic trees at Grandma’s house? You can recreate your own with a variety of ceramic trees and specialty glazes. Grab your friends, throw on an ugly sweater, and make it a fun day out.

Nov. 13 | Single Parent Break, Valley Community Center
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Single parents need a break. This program provides a fun and safe environment for kids to play and enjoy dinner while single parents have uninterrupted time to run errands, finish chores, study, or simply have some personal time to recharge.

Nov. 14 | Adventure Playmates, Brown’s Woods
3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This outdoor session will be all about imagination as you hike to a hidden tiny village to help the fairies and gnomes build their houses. Older kids will be able to master their skill of den building. Please dress appropriately for the fall weather, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are required as you’ll be in the woods. Cost is $10.

Nov. 18 | Diaper Bank, Indianola
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Attention Warren county families! Anyone who meets income requirements can pick up free diapers at this event in Indianola. Check out the link for more information on this great resource for families.

Nov. 19, 26 | Holiday Promenade, Historic East Village 
Get in the holiday spirit and do some shopping at local businesses in the Historic East Village. Enjoy holiday-themed activities, entertainment, shopping, and family-friendly fun. 

Nov. 19-21 | Just Between Friends Holiday Sale, Elwell Food Center at Iowa State Fair Grounds
Save money and stock up on kids’ clothes at this pop-up resale event. 

Nov. 20 | Downtown Winter Farmers Market, Court District Downtown Des Moines
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Downtown Farmers Market returns for a couple of winter events, once in November and once in December. The Winter Market will take place outdoors in the streets of the Historic Court District. Participating vendors will have seasonal local produce, meat, cheese, eggs, and local art available for purchase. There will also be breakfast and lunch street food options on-site.

Nov. 21 | Locally Grown, Raised, & Created Fall Makers Market, Jester Park Nature Center
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Support local small businesses in the community this season while shopping at the Fall Makers Market at the scenic Jester Park Nature Center.

Nov. 26-Dec. 6 | Disney on Ice, Wells Fargo Arena
We love this Thanksgiving weekend tradition in Des Moines. See an exciting Disney show on ice at Wells Fargo Arena. It’s always a memory-making event!

Nov. 26-28 | Festival of Trees and Lights, Iowa Events Center
As a fundraiser for Blank Children’s Hospital, the Festival of Trees and Lights is back with an in-person event this year. See beautifully decorated trees and shop the vendor shops for cute holiday finds.

Nov. 26 – Jan. 2 | Jolly Holiday Lights, Adventureland
5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $25 per car ($20 when you buy online in advance)
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. Tickets will also be available at Des Moines area Hy-Vee, Casey’s, at the front gate, and the Make-A-Wish Iowa office.


 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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