Temperatures are rising and the kids are finally out of school. This summer, make the entire family happy with these free kids activities that are fun for the everyone and won’t break the bank. Now you have a few extra bucks to put aside for that next big family vacation, the Labor Day block party, or to spend on yourself, we won’t judge.
Every Friday join the West Des Moines community at Jaycee Park for a free lunch hosted by Ashworth Road Baptist Church. Kids will love playing games, joining in on a craft, and seeing their friends. Parents and caretakers will love that they don’t have to worry about lunch—it’s a win-win all around. Plus they’ll be so tired from all of the afternoon’s activities that you might even be able to find a few moments of peace afterward.
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
From wildlife watching to a walk through the exhibition hall the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge has something for every member of the family no matter the weather. Try taking a hike around the refuge and counting the different types of wildlife you encounter. For the budding photographer (or the child who will take any excuse to get ahold of your phone) challenge them to take photos of different things they see in nature. Make a short list and if they cross them all off by the end of your time at the refuge treat them to a small prize like shaved ice at Ashworth Snow.
Ashworth Road Church’s Community Events
If you like swimming, cookouts, or movies Ashworth Road Baptist Church has an event for you. Once a month join Ashworth and the West Des Moines community for a completely free and public event. From movies on the church’s lawn to family swim night at Clive Aquatic Center these community events are sure to please everyone in the family. Happening on the second Friday of the month, gather the family (and your friends!) and head to community night.
Union Park is one of the five original parks in Des Moines. Having been around since 1894, this park is a Des Moines staple. With a water play area, basketball and tennis courts, and the infamous rocket slide, this isn’t your average park. Pack a picnic to eat in the flower garden or treat the family to a ride on the Heritage Carousel. At 50 cents for kids and one dollar for adults, the Heritage Carousel isn’t free but won’t break the bank either.
Ashby Splash Park
In the dog days of summer it’s important to keep cool. If you’re not lucky enough to have a pool— or you don’t have a membership at the community water park, head over to Ashby Splash Park. Kids will be able to have the same exhilarating experience of running through the sprinkler—without the damage to your yard. Bonus, it’s an unofficial rule of summer that if you play in the sprinkler you don’t have to take a bath that night. Enjoy an extra glass of wine mama, you deserve it.