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Temperatures Are Rising, It's Time To Play!

As the warm sun graces us with its presence and school bells ring their final farewell, it's time to embrace the season of endless possibilities and boundless fun.

From teambuilding athletics to refreshing pools, from serene parks and trails to engaging camps and special events, we've curated an array of opportunities for you to explore, connect, and make unforgettable memories. So, grab your sunscreen, lace up your sneakers, and get ready for an unforgettable summer in Des Moines!

Click To Find Your Fun


Join us for Free Flicks this summer, a Friday night outdoor movie series throughout the summer in neighborhood parks! The films will be shown on our brand-new 17x10 LED Screen. Admission is free for all and snacks, blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. Don't forget the bug spray! Our first movie of the year will be Disney's Luca, playing at the Northwest Aquatic Center!

Movies will not take place in the event of rain or severe weather. Watch our Facebook and Twitter for updates. Please text DSMEVENTS to 84483 to sign up for text alerts regarding weather.

Fee: Free 

Ages: All ages

Time: Movie will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Gray's Lake Rentals - Bikes Added!

Ready to get out on the water and trails?

Gray's Lake Concessions, Bicycle and Watercraft Rentals are open daily hours 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Come on down to rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, pedal boats and bicycles and enjoy one of the gems of Des Moines' parks system. Adult, child and tandem bikes available.

For hours and more information, visit

Aquatic Locations & Hours

14 Spraygrounds

A sprayground is a splash pad with spray features without standing water; offering water play specifically aimed at children ages 10 and under.

5 Wading Pools

Wading pools are specifically aimed at children ages 10 and under. Wading pools provide a great opportunity for children to meet other children, have fun, and build water confidence.

Pools Open For Summer!

School is out. the sun is shining, temperatures are rising, and Des Moines Parks and Recreation have opened all 28 aquatic locations!

2 Pools

Our swimming pools offer traditional amenities such as lane swimming, diving boards, baby pools and water basketball hoops.

3 Aquatics Centers

Our family aquatic centers offer pools with amenities such as water slides, rain drop water features and zero depth entry.

4 Splash Pools

A splash pool is a splash pad with standing water and spray features; offering water play specifically aimed at children ages 10 and under.

Yoga In The Park

Des Moines Parks and Recreation invites you to start off your Saturday with free yoga at Gray's Lake Park! Join us every week on the Southeast Lawn from June 3 - Sept. 30, 2023 from 9 - 10 a.m. for free classes led by volunteer instructors from around the metro.

View full instructors list here:

Yoga in the Park is perfect for all skill levels, from curious beginner to advanced yogi. Classes will not be held in the event of rain. Please text DSMEVENTS to 84483 to sign up for text alerts regarding weather.

Please note: Yoga will NOT be taking place on June 10 due to IRONMAN.

All participants must complete a participant waiver. This only has to be done once for the entire summer season. Click below and complete your waiver today or complete a waiver on-site at Gray's Lake Park. 

New EMC Downtown Park Officially Open

The ribbon is cut and the EMC Downtown Park is open, providing Des Moines with its first downtown neighborhood park. This new park will add a recreation option for over 2,400 residents living downtown within a 10-minute walk of this park at 701 Walnut Street and includes the Des Moines' first dedicated outdoor pickleball court. 

Thanks goes to EMC Insurance Companies for making this park project possible and helping us add to our award-winning parks and recreation system. We can't wait for you to stop by and enjoy this new park in the heart of Des Moines!

Adult Recess Returns In August

Mark your calendars, arrange the babysitters, and rally your friends! Adult Recess is back for 2023!

Adult Recess is a 21+ only FREE event that allows adults to be kids for a night. There will be nostalgic playground/tailgate games, a live band, food and beverage specials, and so much more!


Date: Friday, August 25, 2023

Time: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Location: Captain Roy's (1900 Saylor Rd.)

Cost: Free (Pre-registration is required.)

Register HERE! 

Become a Local History Buff

Learn more about Des Moines and the pioneers of this city as Cemetery Tours are underway.

Explore Des Moines' connection to the Civil War, the founders of Des Moines, and the notable women of early Des Moines with an array of walking tours through Woodland Cemetery and Glendale Cemetery.

Tours dates are scheduled until October.

Register For A Cemetery Tour

Programs and Events

Youth Rugby

Butterfly Hunt

Cemetery Tours

Adult Recess

Adult Summer Pickleball League

Stand Up Paddleboard Lessons

Adult and Youth Tennis Clinics and Leagues

2 Day Canoe School

Adult Ultimate Frisbee

Online Registration

Parks Directory

Become a Friend!

Donate to GIVEdsm Projects

Volunteer with us


Spring / Summer Program Guide
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