5 Activities to Get You Out of the House This Winter in Des Moines, IA

Winter, Des Moines, Iowa, things to do

Don’t let the cold weather ice-olate you! Being cooped up all winter will give you and the kids a severe case of cabin fever. Fortunately, there’s an easy cure. Here are five activities to get you out of the house this winter in Des Moines, IA.

Go Sledding

Sledding is the go-to outdoor winter activity for kids everywhere. Finding the perfect hill, racing down it as fast as they can, and running back to the top to do it all over again. Winter Park in Urbandale is open to the public all winter.  Iowa has gotten more than its share of snow this season, so we might as well put it to good use. Not enough snow for you? Head over to Sleepy Hollow Sports Park on Dean Avenue. When mother nature doesn’t cooperate, they make their own snow. You can sled or go tubing down their hills. And you don’t have to walk back up. The $25 admission price ($22 for kids) gets you a ride on the mechanical lift along with two hours of sledding and tubing. The sports park also provides patrol officers, helmets for the little ones, and lighted trails after dark.

Ice Skating

Skating rinks are popular throughout Des Moines and an excellent option for the entire family. Brenton Skating Plaza was the first open-air ice skating facility in Iowa when it first opened in 2006. Located on the riverfront, Brenton Skating Plaza offers a great view of the downtown Des Moines skyline. Metro Ice Sports offers open skating as well as figure skating lessons and pick up hockey games on Saturday mornings. The puck drops at 7 a.m.

Have your own skates? There’s no cost to skate at Greenwood Park Pond at 45th & Grand Ave. The same goes for McRae Park Pond, Racoon River Park, and Witmer Park Pond. The city’s Parks and Rec department posts a green flag on the ice when the ice is thick enough for skating. 

Skiing and Snowboarding

When the snow begins to fly, it’s time to hit the slopes. The Seven Oaks Ski Resort is less than an hour drive from Des Moines. The resort also offers snowboarding and tubing. Carve down one of the 11 slopes or enjoy the view from the cozy lodge with a cup of cocoa. From beginners to experts, there’s fun here for everyone!


If you’re looking for a great way to get out and see the beauty of Des Moines, there’s no better place than the scenic Skywalks around the city. Take a stroll high above the city streets and take in the view. When you enter the downtown area, it’s easy to spot the many climate-controlled, glass-sided walkways connecting the buildings above. While they’re often busy during the week, they are significantly less crowded on weekends. When the weather is cold, and you want to get out of the house and show your kids something amazing, the Des Moines Skywalk is the place to go.

Botanical Garden

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, and stay warm all at the same time, check out the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. This seven-acre indoor garden is a sight to behold. The geo disc-domed conservatory is an 80 ft tall glass dome that’ll make your jaw drop. Inside, you’ll be able to explore and learn about the many different types of flowers, plants, and trees in the many gardens. Here you can see orchids, roses, amaryllis, and even a corpse flower!

You don’t have to hibernate indoors all winter–in Des Moines, there’s always something to do. Maybe that’s why Iowa ranks seventh in the nation when it comes to life expectancy. From sledding at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park to snowboarding at Seven Oaks Ski Resort, these activities are sure to get you out of the house this winter in Des Moines, IA.  

About the Author

Cindy Mitchell is a lifestyle and landscape design writer for LawnStarter Lawn Care, and mother of two beautiful girls. She is a social butterfly and loves to entertain guests at home with beautifully decorated spaces for any occasion.

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