Des Moines

Des Moines

  • By Mary P
  • Travel Tips
  • 11.05.2016

Iowa has Des Moines as its capital. The city has some hidden secrets and many who visit it say it's something of a gem. Des Moines is emerging as a green city. With festivals in the open air, plenty of trail space, ecotourism features and more; it's an excellent tourism spot for lots of reasons.

Things to See

Iowa State Capital

At Grand Avenue and East 19th, you will find the state capital building with a 23 karat main dome and four smaller ones. Bring your camera and click away, for this is a picture-worthy edifice. Tours are available. Iowa-themed and capital-themed gifts are available in the gift shop.

Principal Riverwalk Tour

If you start at The Hub SpotĀ  on Court Avenue (North), you will see such an eyeful before you're finished that you'll wonder how you managed to let so much time go by before visiting Des Moines. Sculptures, an Asian garden (Robert D. Ray with it's red pavilion), the Long Look Garden and grand bridges of note are along this route. In fact, one bridge is the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge (it connects the city's west and east), and the Union Railway Bridge pigmented in red. Oak trees, a skating park, picnic space and more are found along this route.

Science Center of Iowa

There's never a dull moment at this venue, which offers adventure theatre and star theatre. Live programs and Cafe Scientifique, science for little explorers and the sound/visual feast offerings at IMAX make this a favorist tourist pit stop. Swinging by twice during a vacation is not a bad idea.

Things to Do

Paddling at Gray's Lake

This 167 acre park offers all kinds of outdoors experiences. You can go paddle boating, walk, bike, and more. Head to 2100 Fleur Drive for a variety of fun happenings all year. There’s even a moonfloat on the lake. If you are ecofriendly, there's plenty of trails that join up with increasing green spaces.

The Sternwheel Paddler at Saylorville Lake is available for public or private charter. The John Anderson White Riverboat offers top-shelf paddlewheeling fun.

Cascade Falls

Aquatic fun of all sorts can be had at Cascade Falls. A swirl bowl slide, diving platforms, many water slides, a lap pool, a flow surf machine, a zero depth pool, full-service concessions and more are all under this roof.

Lions and tiger and bears

Wildlife ambassadors at the Academy of Wildlife Education provide daily programs for the family at this locale. Lions, tigers, bears, cougars and wolves are just a short distance away from the walking classroom. Located at Merle Hay Hall, 3580 Merle Hay Hall, visitors get to cash in on some unique wildlife educational experiences.


Get your fill of cultural and art, outdoor and indoor fete; and capture the pure essence of Des Moines. They roll out the red carpet, but you have to keep your eyes open to see it. The carpet paths lead to destinations beyond imagination.