Zo-El Annett Woods: A Kid-Friendly Outdoor Experience

Des Moines, Iowa, Central Iowa, Zo-El Annett Woods

I love getting out in the outdoors with my kids. The problem is, my kiddos don’t always want to go on a 5-10 mile hike like me. So one of my favorite hiking trails to take them on is the one at Zo-El Annett Woods. Zo-El is a short drive south of Des Moines (around 30 minutes, depending on where you are coming from) down highway 28 thru the town of Norwalk. The wooded trail here is a smaller loop that any age level can handle. You get some natural elevation changes along with some stairs to climb and a wonderful suspension bridge to cross over. Plan to spend some time on the bridge to let your kiddos jump and play around!

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Paved trails to explore around Des Moines, Iowa

My first love will always be dirt trails but paved trails can be great if you want to use a stroller, wheelchair, have an early walker, or are trying to avoid mud. One drawback is having to compete with bicycles, but I’ve tried to note the trails below that seem to be more popular with cyclists. This is a subjective list, based off places we have hiked, that were paved but feel more immersed in nature than a typical sidewalk. There are lots of parks that have paved paths around them that might be great for little kids to bike on or shorter walks, you can find them all in the interactive map if you toggle it to show “places to take a walk” but I’ve narrowed that list way down to places that feel a little more wild without losing that paved footing.

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Playgrounds with rubber footing around Des Moines, Iowa

When the weather starts to finally warm up and the snow melts, playgrounds with lots of dirt or sparse wood chips can turn into mud pits. I thought I’d put together a list of playgrounds with rubber footing around Des Moines, Iowa so you can get outside even if you don’t want to do a million loads of laundry! These are are all parks you can visit without getting muddy and burn off all that stir crazy winter energy.

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