Things to Do in Des Moines in September 2022


kids running in leavesKick off your fall season at Glow Wild Saturday, September 24. Polk County Conservation is hosting family-friendly music, games, and educational experiences for National Public Lands Day at Jester Park Nature Center. Starting with free s’mores and ending in one of the biggest bonfires you will ever lay eyes on, Glow Wild has tons of activities for kids and adults of all ages. Tickets on sale now!


September is the transition month between summer and fall. With the days staying warm and the nights cooling off, it’s a perfect time to get out and enjoy events. From story time to crafts you can keep the kids busy. And for the adults, the Vintage and Made Fair and Just Between Friends return for their fall shopping events.

Plus, get a jump on fall favorite activities and head out to a Pumpkin Patch or Apple Orchard.

Things to Do in Des Moines in September 2022

September 1-5, 10-25 | Goat Cuddling, Howell’s Pumpkin Patch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Would you love to snuggle a baby goat? Head to Howell’s to snuggle all the baby goats you wish. Your ticket also gets you admission to Farmyard Play Yard. $8 at the gate or $6 online.

September 2, 16 | 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. 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 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.

September 3 | Water Lantern Festival, Water Works Park
5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
Make memories at this picturesque event. Check out food trucks and live music, design your own lantern, then release it at the end of the night. 
Tickets start at $26 and include a lantern and LED candle. 

September 4 | Hooray for Hollywood, Water Works Park
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Join the Des Moines Symphony in the Lauridsen Amphitheater at Water Works Park for a salute to the silver screen, from The Wizard of Oz to Star Wars and more. Bring your picnic blankets and join them for an evening of beloved film favorites.

September 6 | Block Party, Johnston Public Library
10:30 a.m.
It’s play time! Head to the Johnston Public Library for an hour of fun for kids to play with a variety of blocks and other building materials. Perfect for ages 2-5, but all ages welcome.

September 9-11 | Just Between Friends Sale, Iowa State Fairgrounds
Thursday (presale, tickets required): 
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 9–25 | Guys and Dolls, Des Moines Playhouse 
7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays & 2 p.m. Sundays
This classic Broadway musical tells the story of a New York City gambler’s attempts to set up the largest craps game in town. It includes famous musical numbers “Lucky to be a Lady”, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” and “A Bushel and a Peck.”

September 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 | 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.

September 10 | Touchdown Tailgate, Cowles Commons Des Moines
11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Head to the best tailgate in town and watch the Iowa vs. Iowa State football game on two Jumbotron TVs. Food trucks and local entertainment will be present. Bring chairs. No outside food or drink permitted. Admission is free. This is a family-friendly event. 

September 11 | Vintage in the Valley, Valley Junction
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A fun-filled day for everyone to shop on the streets filled with your favorite vintage sellers, artists, and food vendors.

September 12 | 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 12, 20, 23, 24, 26 | Monarch Tagging, Various Des Moines Public Library Locations
Join Des Moines Parks and Rec for a FREE tagging event to learn more about the Monarch butterfly and participate in some hands-on Monarch tagging. 

September 15–17 | Sonic Butterfly, Cowles Commons
Don’t miss this free, family-friendly concert that is a visual, musical experience. Sonic Butterfly is a 26 string acoustic, chromatic, long-string harp designed by Andrea Brook. 

September 16-18 | World Food and Music Festival, Western Gateway
Fri & Sat: 11 a.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 live entertainment and interactive culinary opportunities for visitors.

September 16-17 | Beaverdale Fall Festival, downtown Beaverdale
The annual true festival is a community celebration, steeped in tradition, riddled with charm, and defined by offering an amazing experience for all ages including a carnival, car show, inflatable slides, rides, obstacles, bake sale, pie corner, and more!

September 17 | Disney Junior Live On Tour: Costume Palooza, Des Moines Civic Center
4 p.m. 
Don’t miss this ALL NEW show featuring Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Doc McStuffins, Alice, the Puppy Dog Pals, and Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends. Costumes are encouraged! 

September 17 | Tail Waggin’ Readers, Grimes Library
9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
15 minutes of reading aloud and 5 minutes of play with our therapy dog, Liesl. This event will take place inside and is limited to one child at a time. Call the library to reserve your spot.

September 18 and 25 | Make and Take Crafts, Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset
12 p.m. to 2 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 23 & 24 | Windsor Heights Fall Festival, Colby Park
5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Looking for free fun for the entire family? You don’t want to miss out on Windsor Heights for live music, a petting zoo, bounce houses, pancake breakfast, a 5k race, parade, fireworks, and more!

September 23-24 | 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 24 | Glow Wild, Jester Park Nature Center
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This year, they are celebrating National Public Lands Day along with welcoming local Iowa bands and singer-songwriters to the stage for an evening full of fun, music, and activities for the entire family!

September 24 | Illumifest, West Des Moines
4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Illumifest, A Fall Festival of Light, offers a variety of activities and events for people of all ages! Join them for this family friendly event from the City of West Des Moines.

September 24 | 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 24-25 | 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 29 | Family Stem Night, Blank Park Zoo
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Join the Zoo for a night of fun and celebrate different STEM careers! Activities are designed for students in grades K-5 but older and younger kids can learn too. Admission is free but space is limited so registration is required. Last admission is 6:30.

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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