A- A+

The Science of Loving Des Moines

SCI in Downtown DSM

October 26, 2023

Des Moines, Iowa, is a city like no other, and we're so proud of it that we even have a t-shirt to prove it (thanks to Raygun). While the title of 'greatest city in the universe' may be open to debate, I'm here to make a case for why Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is truly special. I'll also share how you can become a part of our mission at Science Center of Iowa (SCI), where we're dedicated to engaging and inspiring Iowans on their lifelong journey of scientific discovery.

Des Moines offers the best of both worlds. It's large enough to provide ample opportunities for pursuing your passions, yet small enough to enjoy those passions with ease. Downtown DSM is a cultural hub, teeming with art galleries, theaters, music venues and a diverse range of cultural events. I encourage you to say 'yes' whenever you get the chance!

Every time there's a ballot initiative for more funding for parks, trails and outdoor activities, our citizens resoundingly say 'YES!' This commitment has led to numerous improvements in our quality of life and a promotion of a healthy lifestyle. The convergence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers in the heart of downtown offers picturesque views and recreational opportunities. You can walk or bike along riverfront trails, take part in water activities or simply relax by beautiful public art works. It’s wonderful to have these options in and outside of working hours in the heart of the city.

I joined SCI about six months ago, but I've had the pleasure of serving the downtown community through Des Moines Public Schools for the past 17 years. Working and living in our vibrant Downtown DSM has given me countless opportunities to stumble into meaningful experiences and have fun. Our local culture excels at celebrating our diversity in ways that are accessible to everyone. I encourage every reader to explore new restaurants in different neighborhoods and parts of the city. Take advantage of our city's small size, as it allows you to reach almost anywhere within 20 minutes. Say 'yes' to concerts, art events, cultural festivals and 'new-to-you' restaurants and experiences.

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Des Moines, SCI offers hands-on exhibits, special-format theaters and unique programming that captivates both locals and visitors. With daily visitors, a statewide educational outreach program, and an NAEYC-accredited SCI Preschool, we serve over 300,000 people annually. Our programming runs across Iowa, fostering cultural awareness and providing unique experiences for Iowans.

SCI actively supports the broader interests of Greater Des Moines (DSM) by serving as a significant hub for community gatherings and maintaining collaborative partnerships with cultural groups, Iowa businesses, the educational system, sponsors, investors and others who share our mission of developing skills and encouraging cultural exchange.

SCI prides itself as a hub of science learning for all ages. We are dedicated to staying at the forefront of innovative science education and fostering connections with our shared world. If it's been a while since you've joined us, please consider supporting our mission. We offer opportunities for all ages, including the following:

Upcoming Events

Ongoing Services

  • Innovation Lab: Robots, VR and AR, 3D printers, Glowforges and MORE! Discovery Labs | Science Center Our Innovation Lab team is also a great resource for ongoing Professional Development with educators from all walks of life. Educators | Science Center
  • Nocturnal Science Evenings (school, business and community): Nocturnal Science Nights | Science Center
  • After School Clubs: We’re taking the show on the road in more ways than just our typical Outreach programming. Our after-school club structure offers six sessions of ongoing informal and formal learning opportunities. Our SCIentists are ready and prepared to deliver after school STEAM clubs that focus on 3D design and AR, VR job exploration, microbits and robotics and coding.
  • Volunteer: Volunteer | Science Center
  • Giving: As a nonprofit, we rely on our community to help us deliver the magic of science discovery with our entire state. Ways to Give | Science Center

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options. Find event information and follow @downtownDSMUSA on Facebook and Instagram for other news, tips and events happening downtown.

Rob Burnett

Rob Burnett is the Vice President of Science Learning at the Science Center of Iowa. Rob oversees planning and operations related to STEM learning through programs, outreach, exhibits and the SCI Preschool. He has 16+ years of experience as an educator and administrator in Des Moines, Iowa.