Exploring Geography: Des Moines, Iowa

Today’s Exploring Geography come from Andie of Crayon Freckles! Here are three activities from her blog that I love: Press Here Book Activities (love that book!), Using Legos to Teach Math and Writing, and 5 Senses: Touch – and while you’re there, check out her entire senses series – love it! Andie is also the artist behind the beautiful button (and book cover art) for the Small Hands Creating Hope project!

Exploring Geography at Mama Smiles

Des Moines, Iowa is our home away from home. We go there about every other month to visit my in-laws. I love the city… If I had to pick another other city to live it, it would be Des Moines, hands down.

Driving on the interstate in Iowa is often breath-taking because of the gorgeous scenery. We are also always left in awe of the fields full of windmills that generate energy for nearby communities. I wish I could find the pictures that I have. Seeing a field of about 100 windmills is an experience in itself.

science center

One of the places we love to go to is the Science Center of Iowa. The SCI is a very family friendly museum with an IMAX and exhibits for older and younger children. The younger children’s section has a blue screen to explore how weatherman do the weather report, a small cavern to walk through, and lots of hands-on activities. As seen in the picture above, there is a farm section with a conveyor system and a huge bubble station!

ramada tropics

We found the Ramada Tropics Resort quite by accident. We had planned to stay at the Adventureland Inn, but they hadn’t remodeled in a while and drove our allergies crazy within 5 minutes of being in the room. We drove around and found this amazing place. Since it was the night of our stay, the front desk gave us a HUGE suite to stay in. The best part was the pool area. There was a pirate ship and water slides for the kids. A large zero-depth entry pool, and 2 hot tubs for the adults.

blank park zoo

The Blank Park Zoo is a great way to spend a day. It’s big enough that there’s plenty to see, but small enough that you can make it through everything in a day. They have a budgie encounter where you can buy sticks with seed on them to feed the birds. Many of them even land right on the stick you’re holding. My favorite part is the giraffes. As you can see, you can get pretty close to them.

jordan creek mall
The Jordan Creek Town Center is a huge mall! It’s one of our normal stops because it takes a whole morning to walk through and it’s free :) Our favorite part is the kid’s play place in the center. They also have really neat fire engine strollers, a Build-a-Bear Workshop, and Auntie Anne’s Pretzel. Perfect.

iowa state fair

Our most favorite thing to do when we go to Des Moines in the late summer is the Iowa State Fair. Bear’s favorite part is that Clifford the Big Red Dog has been there the past two years. If you’ve never been to the state fair, I can’t even begin to explain how massive and incredible it is. And! You can get just about anything you want fried on a stick. Healthy, I know. Each time we go there we also eat lunch at the Stein and Steer. They have amazing nachos!

Other Des Moines Attractions to See:
Adventureland
The Living History Farms
Clive Aquatic Center
National Balloon Museum
Silos and Smokestacks

CF sig-original

Thank you, Andie for such a fun post! I’ve always thought it would be fun to see the Iowa State Fair, and now I have a few other places to visit in Des Moines, as well!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

10 thoughts on “Exploring Geography: Des Moines, Iowa”

  1. Elisa | blissfulE

    Yea! What a fun post! I got to spend one of my university spring breaks in Iowa with my Iowegian roommate – I loved the huge quirky statues we saw, and I’ll always remember helping immunise tiny piglets. So cute!

  2. I use to be one of those people who had never been to Des Moines!
    Iowa will suck you right in!
    We lived there for 10 yrs…and it is my all time favorite!
    This post made me miss it!

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