Things to do in Des Moines October 2021


October is a busy, fun-filled month, and we have curated this list of free festivals, storytimes, great local events.

For Halloween-themed events happening in the metro, check out our haunted houses guide and Halloween events guide.  

New and expecting moms, you don’t miss BLOOM our virtual baby shower. It happens Sunday, October 3, and features great resources for new and expecting moms, plus SWAG bags and, of course, BIG GIVEAWAYS!!

Things to Do in Des Moines October 2021

October 1-2 | Celebrasian, Western Gateway Park
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Experience more than a dozen Asian Villages where you can delight all five of your senses including authentic Asian food, educational activities, and live cultural entertainment! Each year the festival unites the different Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa.

October 2 | Mayor’s Bike Ride, Urbandale
We love free family fun! And this event starts with pancakes from the Lion’s Club, and will be followed by a family-friendly bike ride. There are three different ride lengths to fit your family’s ability.

October 2 | Fall Fest, Polk City Town Center
3 p.m.
Enjoy small-town family fun at its best in Polk City. There will be a farmers market with food trucks and kid-friendly activities, such as inflatables, trick-or-treat decorating bags, and more. There will also be superheroes and princesses stopping by, so check out the event schedule for more info.

October 2 | Raccoon River Rally, Raccoon River Park
Kick off the month with a free family-friendly event at Raccoon River Park. The Raccoon River Rally is the first fall festival celebrating West Des Moines’ community and waters. Attractions for the event include a morning bike ride, live music, cardboard boat races, a vendor fair with fun activities for kids, a beer tent, and food trucks.

October 3 | BLOOM (virtual)
6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
New and expecting moms are invited to join Des Moines Mom and our partners for a virtual baby shower. Log on from the comfort of home and enjoy an event with educational resources, giveaways and swag, fun experiences, and connecting moms and families with relevant local resources! 

October 3-29 | Storytime, Waukee Public Library
There are a variety of play and storytimes throughout the month at the Waukee Public Library. Check the calendar for dates and times that work best for your family. 

October 7, 14, 21, 28 | 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.

October 7-10 | Water Circus, Jordan Creek Town Center
Gather under the big top, in the Jordan Creek Town Center parking lot, for an Aquatic Spectacular. The stage holds 35,000 gallons of water that performers dazzle over while thrilling the audience.

October 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.

October 10 | Adventure Playmates, Location TBD
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.

October 10 | Elevate Festival, Water Works Park
This event has a 5K race, yoga practice, and meditation session to raise funds for Above + Beyond Cancer. A community picnic and live music will follow the morning activities.

October 10 | Annual Fall Harvest, Franklin Jr High
2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Hosted by Veggie Thumper, this harvest celebration will include fried green tomatoes, red beans and rice, and more fall favorites. Bring your chairs and masks and be ready to enjoy all-vegan food dishes!

October 11 | 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.

October 14 | Strong Moms Strength Class, Valley Community Center
9:30 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!

October 16-17 | Great Iowa Pet Expo, Horizon Events Center in Clive
If your family recently added a pet to the family (or are considering a new furry friend), you should check out the pet expo for product ideas and info on training and adoptables. Tickets are $6-$10 and available online.

October 17 | Nitro Circus, Principal Park
6 p.m.
Head to Principal Park for a night of high-flying, thrill-seeking fun. This sports spectacular stars the best athletes in FMX, BMX, skate, scooter, and more. Tickets start at $29.

October 17 | Gypsy Gem October Sip & Shop, Jasper Winery
Grab your best “ghoul-friend” and come out to Jasper Winery for some BOO-tiful deals with some SCARY-GOOD local businesses! Sip while you socialize and shop local! There will be lots of opportunities to win great door prizes too! 

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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