We love the Des Moines Botanical Center! I didn’t have very high hopes for it being kid friendly when we visited for the first time, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a great way to feel like you’re outside, even when the weather is gross. They have specific kid programming regularly, which we’ve never attended, and then random enrichment stations spread around the indoor area. I did take an adult class that I loved, you can see the pressed flower art I made over at my crafting blog.
[You can see more specific details on the Des Moines Botanical Center page or check out its location on the interactive map.]
The dome shaped building is hard to miss, it’s right off 235.
I love this cheery sculpture out front.
Inside it is very warm and humid, so dress accordingly! All of the paths are smooth and paved, so a wheelchair or stroller would be no problem.
My kids like looking for the Koi fish in the stream, there’s a small waterfall and pond as well.
The stone stairs are fun to climb, they go up to a vantage point to enjoy the garden from above, with a pair of binoculars to peek up at the ceiling.
There is a little table near the “show room” that usually has kids’ activities on it, this visit they had neat laminated colors and botanical elements to put on a light box.
There always seem to be a few hands-on stations for kids to enjoy as well, I remember last year there was an interactive weaving exhibit and this trip we liked looking at this.
For this visit, and through early April, there was a beautiful stained glass exhibit as well!
There are outdoor exhibits as well, but we haven’t seen them yet since I tend to think of it as a good spot to explore in bad weather. I didn’t snag any pictures but it’s also worth noting that they have an adorable gift shop up front with cute kids’ toys, beautiful home decor items, cards, etc. Their web site says they have a scavenger hunt up front, which we haven’t tried yet, but it would also be easy to walk around and try to find all the colors, or how many different types of fruit there are blooming. We saw limes, starfruit, and bananas while we were there!