Walnut Woods Park is a short drive from anywhere in the metro, but feels like you’re out in the woods. There are trails as well as a traditional playground, along with a busy bird blind. The playground is small, but has rubber footing under the playset and swings (there is a sand pit, however).
Ironwood Park (aka Pirate ship Park) is a unique playground with lots of pirate elements! Kids can “walk the plank”, see the giant Moai statue, or run up the large hills.
This is a super cool playground in Des Moines, built to be all inclusive and available for everyone to play on. There is a dirt nature trail for hiking that is perfect for young kids, too. The playground has all rubber footing, great for muddy days. Built in memory of a local realtor, you can see more about her story here.