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Ideas for Kids and Families Over Winter Break in Downtown Des Moines

Winter Break Ideas

December 20, 2022

Winter break is just around the corner, but don’t fret! It’s never too late to make plans for fun and engaging activities for kids and families while school is out over the holidays. Take a look at these day camps, activities and events coming up in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) for ideas on how to stay busy during winter break. 

Winter Break Activities 

Sign your kiddos up for a day camp or hands-on class in Downtown DSM, with several unique, interactive options to choose from:   

Day Camps at Science Center of Iowa
Date options: Dec. 26 – 30 
SCI’s a la carte camps provide a one-day experience for kiddos in grades Kindergarten through 8th. Some of the topics of choice include Robot Friends, Snow Stories, Dinosaur Discoveries, Coding and A.I. and the Inventor’s Workshop. See SCI’s website for available classes, dates, times and rates.   

Day Camps at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Date options: Dec. 27 – 30
The Botanical Garden is offering two themes for their Winter Break Day Camps this year: Jungle Safari (ideal for students in first through 5th grades) and Tropical Adaptations (perfect for 6th through 8th grade students). Classes are filling up! Check out the Botanical Garden’s Day Camp web page for available class dates, times and the cost to participate.   

Camps + Programming at the State Historical Museum of Iowa
Date options: Dec. 27 – 30
On Tuesday, Dec. 27 kiddos ages 6-10, along with their adults, can participate in Goldie’s Family Day Camp: Explore a historic object, visit the museum’s vault, hear stories and make a fun craft. Family Vault Tours will also take place during Dec. 27 – 28, for young historians aged 9 and up. Additionally, Goldie’s Winter Break Programming over Dec. 28 – 30 means drop-in activity stations with stories and activities to keep kids and families engaged while visiting the museum over winter break. Learn more.  

Programming at Des Moines Public Library
Date options: Dec. 28 – 31
Check out the winter tracks scavenger hunt at Central Library! Stop by the youth section where kids can play and learn how to spot animal tracks during the wintertime with this fun, interactive hunt.   

Art Classes at Mainframe Studios
Date option: Dec. 31
Art educator, Jess Quinn, will teach several classes on New Year’s Eve with options based on the students’ age (classes range for students aged 5 to 10, 9 to 17 and teens/adults aged 16 and older). Each class is tailored to age and ability; learn more and reserve a spot on Mainframe Studios’ website.   

Seek adventure and stay active.

Give the kiddos a chance to try their hand (and their feet!) at bouldering indoors at Climb Iowa in the Historic East Village. Enjoy the outdoors, twinkling lights and Downtown DSM skyline views while ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza (open daily in December, weather-permitting).   

Check out a family-friendly event in Downtown DSM to continue the holiday spirit and beat cabin fever! Here’s a look at what’s taking place over winter break, perfect for kids and adults:   

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
Dec. 22 | Des Moines Civic Center

Iowa Wild Hockey
Dec. 23, 28 & 30 | Wells Fargo Arena
The Friday, Dec. 30 game is a New Year's Eve Celebration presented by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and will feature post-game fireworks.

Bluey’s Big Play
Dec. 27 – 28 | Des Moines Civic Center

Snowglobe Des Moines Festive Dining Experience
Now – Jan. 8 | Exile Brewing Co.

Iowa Wolves Basketball
Dec. 29, Dec. 31 & Jan. 1 | Wells Fargo Arena

Make it one epic winter in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) by exploring, experiencing and enjoying what Downtown DSM has to offer. Plan your visit to Downtown DSM with these tips for parking and navigation.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.