Things to Do in Des Moines in September 2021

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With the big kids back in school, there are lots of opportunities for toddlers and preschoolers to experience storytimes at local libraries and outdoor venues.

Plan a weekend outing at one of Des Moines’ great outdoor festivals or head north to see Thomas the Train at the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad. Better yet, call up your friends for a long-overdue girls’ night out. We’ve got lots of ideas for family—and grown-up—fun!

Things to Do in Des Moines in September 2021

September 2,9,16, 23 | Caterpillar Connection, Reiman Gardens
10:15 a.m.
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.

Starting September 7 | Storytime at Kirkendall Library, Ankeny
In-person storytimes are returning to the Kirkendall Library in Ankeny. Find a variety of times on weekdays from morning to evening and programming for different age groups and interests. There are also some virtual storytime sessions still available.

September 7 | Block Party, Johnston Public Library
10:30 a.m.
It’s playtime! Head to the Johnston Public Library for an hour of fun just playing with a variety of blocks and other building materials. Perfect for ages 2-5, but all ages welcome.

September 9 | Strong Moms Strength Class, Valley Community Center
9 a.m.
Bring the kids and a yoga mat to this bodyweight workout class that will benefit both mom and the kids. This class embraces the joyous chaos of life. Seriously, bring the kids!

September 10 | Homeschool Session, Jester Park Nature Center
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Enrich your homeschool experience with a nature lesson at Jester Park Nature Center. On the second Friday of each month there will be a new topic. This program series will be delivered in a flexible format that is specially designed for homeschool students in grades K-5. The event is free, but registration is required.

September 10-12 | Just Between Friends Sale, State Fairgrounds
Friday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Grab your BFF, a couple of large shopping bags, and check out this savings extravaganza. You’ll find aisles and aisles of gently used clothes, toys, baby equipment, books, and so much more!
FYI: On Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., many items are 50-percent off!

September 11 | Wicked Wine Run, Water Works Park
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If you love to run and love to drink wine, this race is for you! The start time for the 5K Wicked Run begins at 5 p.m. and the 1K Wicked Tasting Walk begins at 6:30 p.m. Stay for the after-race party and enjoy live music and wine.

September 12 | Adventure Playmates, Walnut Woods
3 p.m.
Hike to the hidden teepees of Walnut Woods to learn how Indigenous people used pictures to tell a story. Wear clothing that can get dirty as you’ll be digging in the dirt! This is a great activity for parents to do with their children. $10 for an adult and one child.

September 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 | Day out with Thomas the Train, Boone Scenic Valley Railroad
Have a train lover in the house? Head to Boone for a day of family fun with Thomas the Train. A ticket for Day Out With Thomas includes a ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine, storytelling and video viewing, temporary tattoos of Island of Sodor friends, an Imagination Station with arts and crafts, a trolley ride, museum admission, and more. Tickets start at $20 per person. Please note, per TSA regulations, masks are required at all times.

September 13 | Storytime with Red Panda, Blank Park Zoo
11 a.m.
Once a month, you can attend Ruby’s Story Time at the zoo! Each month there is a story and an opportunity to meet a special live ambassador animal from the Zoo’s education department. Storytime is included with regular admission.

September 17-19 | World Food and Music Festival, Western Gateway
Fri & Sat: 11a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is free to this fun-filled outdoor festival, but you’ll want to bring your pocketbook so you can sample delicious fare from the many food vendors. There will also be great art from some of our favorite Des Moines muralists.  

September 18 | Vintage and Handmade Fair, Dallas County Fairgrounds in Adel
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit the best makers and vintage finders from across the Midwest. From antiques and handcrafted goods to food vendors and music, there is much to enjoy. Get a discount on tickets if you buy them in advance online.

September 19 and 26 | Patch Crafts, Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset
12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Plan a fun Sunday outing to The Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset. There will be a variety of crafts and supplies to create and enjoy with your friends and family included in your admission price to the ranch.

September 25 | Applefest, Living History Farms
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy a day of family fun celebrating the apple harvest season! Visit the historic sites to see how past cooks would prepare and serve apple recipes, such as apple butter, cake or pie, and cider. Print an apple recipe in the print shop and purchase some apple treats to enjoy from local vendors.

September 25 | Superheroes at the Patch, Howell’s Greenhouse and Pumpkin Patch
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Superheroes will be on hand at the Pumpkin Patch for photo opportunities. This event is part of Heroes weekend on September 25 and 26, where active and veteran military members, law enforcement officers, firemen, and first responders get free admission and half-price admission for up to 4 family members with an ID.

September 24-25 | Oktoberfest, Downtown Des Moines
3 p.m.
The annual Oktoberfest returns to Des Moines with all the favorite celebrations including a huge selection of German and craft beers, delicious German food, live music, competitions, a Silent Disco, and much more.

September 25 | Cat & Nat Reunion Tour, Hoyt Sherman
7 p.m.
This is the girls’ night out you’ve been needing since 2019. Enjoy this hilarious and highly entertaining comedy show, hosted by the two of the most honest, unfiltered, pee-your-pants funny moms on the planet. Tickets start at $28.

September 25-26 | Latino Heritage Festival, Western Gateway Park
Experience the diversity within the Latino community at this festival that showcases performers, artisans, and food vendors. The entire family will enjoy a variety of activities at the cultural booths that offer insights and education into the many countries and cultures that make up the Latino community.  

September 30 | Grimes Food Truck Fest, Grimes Public Library
4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Double the trucks, double the fun! Enjoy a delicious fundraiser for the Grimes Public Library as you sample foods from several food trucks.


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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