Central Iowa Trek the Parks Challenge

Central Iowa Trek the Parks Challenge, Des Moines parks, park challenge, Iowa

 

Des Moines Outdoor Fun wants to get you outdoors this summer and explore central Iowa. That is why we have created the ‘Central Iowa Trek the Parks Challenge’. The communities within central Iowa offer many parks, trails, spray grounds, and more, we want you to get out and discover them.

The 2022 Central Iowa Trek the Parks Challenge will kick off on June 1 and run until August 20. During this period of time, we encourage everyone to visit all 30 parks on our list.

Trekking the Park T-Shirt

Every year the most popular request is a t-shirt! To celebrate year five of Central Iowa Trek the Parks we have teamed up with The Side Garage to create a t-shirt the entire family can wear this summer (and all year round!). These are pre-order shirts. We will be holding 4 rounds of pre-orders.

  • Round 1: May 1st – 22nd
  • Round 2:  June 1st -12th
  • Round 3: July 1st – 10th
  • Round 4: August 1st – 14th

Click the image below to pre-order your t-shirt.

PARKS

Download the official list here!

1. Johnston Town Center Splash Pad – Johnston

  • Johnston Town Center offers many fun events throughout the season including a Farmers’ Market every Tuesday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Take a look at their event calendar.
  • Not too far down the road is the Johnston Public Library with the new Johnston Commons Playground.

2. Triumph Park – Waukee 

3. Mayor Becker Park – Cumming

  • Head across the way to Middlebrook Farm to shop their fresh produce or catch Fridays at the Farm to shop vendors and food, and listen to live music.
  • Not far down the road is Ted Lare’s Garden Center. Enjoy a walk through their beautiful garden center. They also offer various workshops throughout the year too!
  • Feed the goats and play on the farm at Howell’s Greenhouse. Located a few miles west over the interstate.
  • Love to bike ride? Jump on the bike trail that runs through Cumming and ride it down the way for lunch at The Chicken in Orilla.

4. The Enabling Garden – Altoona

  • You can easily cross off all the Altoona parks in one day! The Enabling Garden is located not too far from Ironwood Park.
  • If it is a hot, hot day wander over to Prairie Heritage Park which offers a splash pad to cool off.
  • All three of these locations are along a bike trail. You could park at Prairie Heritage Park or Ironwood Park, grab your bikes and ride to each stop.
  • If you are a craft beer fan, Brightside Aleworks is located right near Prairie Heritage Park. After a long bike ride grabs a cold, local craft brew!

5. Alice Nizzi Park – Waukee 

6. Reichardt Natural Play Area – Water Works Park 

  • Take the walking path under the bridge to Gray’s Lake. Spend an afternoon renting paddle boats, kayaks, or swimming on the beach.
  • Enjoy some fishing in the pond.
  • The bike path runs right through the park. Park at Water Works Park and see how far you can ride.
  • Plan your visit on a Thursday and catch the FREE Summer Concert Series at Jasper Winery.

7. Ashby Park – Des Moines 

  • Spend the day splashing and playing at Ashby Park then head to Snookie’s Malt Shop for a classic frozen treat.

8. Jester Park – Granger 

9. Brown’s Woods – West Des Moines

10. Valley Community Center “Eric’s Place” – West Des Moines

  • The Valley Community Center offers free programming throughout the week. Take a look at their event calendar and plan your visit.
  • Don’t forget to show your Trek the Parks Sheet for a FREE drink at the cafe inside Valley Community Center.
  • Before you make your stop, grab donuts at Mahalo’s Coffee & Donuts.
  • Explore the West Des Moines Public Library and take a walk around the campus pond.
  • Catch a FREE yoga class on the lawn of the West Des Moines City Hall every Sunday morning from 9 to 10 a.m. Open to all ages.

11. Riverview Park – Des Moines 

  • Plan your visit on a Friday in June or July this summer.  Rendezvous Riverview will be bringing live music back to Riverview Park where they will showcase a variety of bands.
  • Head down the road to the Highland Park area and grab some coffee at Slow Down Coffee Co., a sweet treat from Hiland Bakery, or a little shopping at Des Moines Mercantile.

12. North View Park – Urbandale

13. Annett Nature Center – Warren County 

  • Warren County Conservation Board offers several activities and events throughout the season. Take a look at their event calendar and plan your visit!

14. Brenton Arboretum – Dallas Center

  • Enjoy Nature Club is offered on the first and third Thursday of the month. Register and take a look at other fun events on their event calendar.
  • Head home through Dallas Center and make a stop for lunch or ice cream at Korner Kone.
  • Need some coffee on your way? Stop at Sugar Grove Goods for some coffee and treat.
  • Bring your bike along and jump on the bike trail in Dallas Center and ride to the trailhead in Waukee. Grab a craft beer at Kinship Beer.

15. Union Park – Des Moines

  • Enjoy the rocket slide, new playground equipment, and splash pad.
  • Take a ride on the Heritage Carousel.
  • Stop for lunch right on the Des Moines River at Captain Roys. They also offer kayak rentals!

16. Big Creek State Park – Polk City 

  • After a fun day swimming and playing at Big Creek State Park make a stop at The Creamery on the Polk City Square on your way home.
  • Kids Create located on the Polk City Square offers super fun classes and camps for kids all summer long. Take a look at the schedule and plan your trip to the area.
  • SAVE THE DATE for July 16 and Four Seasons Fest on the square.

17. Lauridsen Skatepark/Rotary Riverwalk Park – Downtown Des Moines

  • Bring your scooters, skates, and/or skateboards, and enjoy Lauridsen Skatepark.
  • Pack a lunch and play around the Rotary Riverwalk Park.
  • Grab your bikes and bike along the Des Moines Riverwalk. How far can you go?
  • Cross over the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge and head to Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens.
  • Head into the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and walk through the gardens and grab lunch at Trellis. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden offers fun events and activities throughout the Summer. Take a look at their event calendar. Music in the Garden is held every Thursday!

18. Ironwood Park – Altoona 

19. Miracle Park – Ankeny 

  • Make a visit to Hawkeye Park which is located nearby.
  • Jump on the High Trestle Trail and head South towards Uptown Ankeny.
  • Make a stop for coffee, smoothie, and/or snack at Porch Light Coffeehouse in Uptown Ankeny. Show them your printed Trek the Parks sheet for 20% off your purchase!
  • Visit on a Saturday and walk to the Uptown Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning.
  • Do not miss Uptown Outdoor Cinema for a movie under the stars.

20. Barrett Boesen Natural Playscape – Urbandale

  • Make a stop at Waterford Park directly across the street to play disc golf and play on the playground.

21. Billy O Phillips – Norwalk 

22. Ledges State Park – Boone 

  • Definitely plan an entire day of fun at Ledges Park. Pack a lunch!
  • Didn’t pack a lunch? Make a stop at Whatcha Smokin BBQ on your way home.

23. Easter Lake – Des Moines 

  • Rent a boat and enjoy the water at Easter Lake Boat Rental.

24. Yellow Banks State Park – Pleasant Hill 

25. Playscape North Overlook Park – Pella 

26. Pappajohn Sculpture Park – Downtown Des Moines

  • Make a stop at Central Library for story time or other fun activities.
  • Grab lunch at one of the many restaurants surrounding the park.
  • There are several festivals planned this summer in Western Gateway Park. Plan your trip to attend one of those!

27. Haines Park – Altoona 

  • You can easily cross off all the Altoona parks in one day! The Enabling Garden and Ironwood Park are located not too far.
  • If it is a hot, hot day wander over to Prairie Heritage Park which offers a splash pad to cool off.
  • All three of these locations are along a bike trail. You could park at Prairie Heritage Park or Ironwood Park, grab your bikes and ride to each stop.
  • If you are a craft beer fan, Brightside Aleworks is located right near Prairie Heritage Park. After a long bike ride grab a cold, local craft brew!

28. Raccoon River Park – West Des Moines

  • Plan an entire day at Raccoon River Park. Bring the dog too for fun at the dog park!
  • Join West Des Moines Parks & Recreation for Moonlit Movies on Fridays this summer for a free outdoor movie series. Beginning an hour prior to the movie, enjoy activities related to the show and grab a bite to eat from a food truck. Located at the Jamie Hurd Amphitheater.
  • Visit on a Friday and enjoy a relaxing lakeside lunch at Raccoon River Park! Each Friday they will have a food truck or two available for a grab-and-go lunch at Blue Heron Lake.
  • Rent a paddleboat or kayak from the Boathouse, or bring your fishing pole and bait to fish at the Fishing Pier.

29. Ankeny Kirkendall Library – Ankeny 

30. Tower Park – Des Moines

  • Run, splash and play!
  • SAVE THE DATE for June 24 for an outdoor movie in Tower Park.
  • Head to Ashby Park, another park on the list located not far and offers more water fun!
  • Head to Franklin Jr. High, next door, on Tuesdays for the Beaverdale Farmers’ Market.

DISCOUNTS

  • Show your printed checklist at the Valley Community Center Cafe for a free beverage.
  • Show your printed checklist at Porchlight Coffee House for 20% off your ticket.

INTERACTIVE MAP

RULES

  1. Visit a park on the Central Iowa Trek the Parks list and post a photo of you at the park using the hashtag #DSMOFTrektheParks22 on Facebook or Instagram.
  2. If you visit and post on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag of all 30 parks you will be entered to win the grand prize.
  3. If you visit and post on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag of at least 10 parks you will be entered to win a prize.
  4. Winners will be selected by August 27, 2022. They will be listed below on THIS page, shared on social media, and emailed with the email provided via the form below.
  5. Participants will be responsible for filling out this form. This will make it easier to contact winners and keep track of who is participating. Winners will also be posted on THIS page!
  6. NOTE: Please make sure all social media platforms are set as public, not private, so we are able to see your photos and hashtags.

PRIZES

  1. Grand Prize (Must visit all 30 parks to be entered to win) = Handmade designed Mud Kitchen designed by Helps Homestead. This item MUST be picked up by September 15.
  2. Swag Gift Basket from The Brenton Arboretum.
  3. Campfire Package from  Muddy Boots.
  4. Outdoor Wellness Package from Heartland Surrogacy.
  5. Water Works Park Picnic Blanket with S’more Kit from Water Works Park.
  6. 10 available – 2 Buy One, Get One Free ticket to The Palms Theatres and a $20 gift card to Target.

SPONSORS

Thank you to our Platinum Sponsors: Great Outdoor Foundations, Artisan Management, Middlebrook Farm, Warren County Conservation Board, and Helps Homestead.