10+ Things To Do in Des Moines For Dads’ Night {or Day} Out

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10+ Things To Do in Des Moines For Dads’ Night {or Day} Out

We all need time to unwind and have fun with friends. There are lots of great activities to do in Des Moines for all types of dads whether they love to get a little competitive, attend a concert, or relax with a favorite drink. Check out our guide for a Dads’ Night Out for ideas!

Golf Loving Dad

Whether Dad is looking to improve his handicap or just likes riding around in the cart with a drink (no shame in the game), there are lots of golf courses to choose from. A few popular courses include:

Waveland Golf Course

Waveland Golf Course is located in Des Moines. Built on wooden hillsides, this city golf course is one of the oldest. If you purchase a season pass, they are also accepted at sister locations Bright-Grandview Golf Course, Blank Golf Course, and Jester Park Golf Course.

Otter Creek Golf Course

Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny: This public course was named the 2016 18-Hole Course of the Year by the Iowa Golf Association. Practice your swing at their driving range before the round.

Copper Creek Golf Course

Copper Creek Golf Course in Pleasant Hill: Recognized in 2009 by Business Record as “One of the Best Golf Courses in Central Iowa,” this course is great for beginning to advanced golfers. After a friendly game enjoy bar food and watch your favorite sporting events at The Club Grille.

Terrace Hills Golf Course

Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona: This course has multiple tee box options making it suitable for all ages and levels of play. Get even more competitive with your short game at their mini golf course.

Toad Valley Golf Course

Toad Valley Golf Course in Altoona: Toad Valley is not just a regular golf course. They also have Indoor Golfzon Simulators and a Topracer Driving Range with multiple game modes.

The Legacy Golf Club

The Legacy Golf Club in Norwalk: Play this Championship golf course and end with a sandwich or snack in their dining room. Polish your game with the indoor learning facility with PGA Professional Andrew Kinney.

Beaver Creek Golf Club

Beaver Creek Golf Club in Grimes: Warm up at their driving range and then play their three 9-hole courses.

Willow Creek Golf Course

Willow Creek Golf Course in West Des Moines: Relax while playing this scenic course totaling 27 holes and featuring three unique 9-hole courses.

Range Grill + Golf

Range Grill + Golf in Urbandale: Enjoy food and cocktails while raking up the competition with their indoor golf simulators. Not even rain can mess up your game here!

Coming Soon: Top Golf in West Des Moines is expected to open by the end of 2024.

Sports Loving Dad

Depending on the season, attend a local sporting event to support one of the many sports teams in Des Moines.

  • Des Moines Buccaneers: Enjoy Bucs hockey games in the Fall and Winter.
  • Iowa Cubs: Take me out to the ball game with our minor league baseball team from March-September.
  • Iowa Wild: Watch a professional ice hockey game at Wells Fargo Arena.
  • Iowa Wolves: Join the pack with this NBA G League playing from November through March.
  • Iowa Barnstormers: Watch a professional indoor football team from March through July.
  • Iowa Demon Hawks: Catch an arena soccer game from December through April.

There are lots of college games to check out as well as these professional teams!

Music Loving Dad

Listen to live music or attend a concert at venues like:

Competitive Dad

For the dads who love a little competition among friends, check out everything from arcade games to bowling and even axe throwing.

Smash Park

Smash Park in West Des Moines: The ultimate place for games, drinks, and food, Smash Park has indoor and outdoor pickleball, axe throwing, darts, outdoor bocce ball, shuffleboard and other fun games like cornhole. 

Smash Park, Des Moines, Family friendly, games

Spare Time

Spare Time in West Des Moines: Feel like a kid again playing laser tag, bowling, arcade games, visiting the escape room, and more. Catch a game on one of their large TVs and enjoy dinner and drinks in between games.

Ironside Axe Club

Ironside Axe Club in West Des Moines: Release your inner Viking with axe throwing. Bring your food and sip on their selection of drinks.

Dinks Pickleball

Dinks Pickleball in Des Moines: Get serious with pickleball on one of these 13 indoor pickleball courts with year-round play.


Arcades: Enjoy a variety of fun arcades from Monsterama old school games like Donkey Kong with a spooky theme or Up Down Arcade Bar with your favorite arcade games, console gaming, and life-size Jenga. Check out The Operating Room for modern arcade games and pinball. There is also Gameday featuring an arcade, bowling alley, full-service bar, and full menu. Take a look at our giant list of arcades!

Monsterama Arcades, Des Moines, Iowa, South Side Des Moines, vintage arcade games, pinball machines, things to do in Des Moines

Putts & Pins

Putts & Pins in West Des Moines: Enjoy drinks and food while completing duckpin bowling with smaller pins and balls and then play one of their two mini 9-hole golf courses. These aren’t your standard mini golf courses. They have motion-activated obstacles, sound effects, and glowing neon holes.

K1 Speed

K1 Speed in Grimes: Experience an indoor go-kart racing adventure with up to 45 mph speeds.

Shoot Range and Paintball

If you’re anything like my husband, you might love the summertime laying in wait with your water gun to get your kids. Now you can enjoy an intense game of paintball against friends at Archery Field & Sports in Altoona or Seven Oaks in Boone. Perfect your shot at shooting ranges like CrossRoads Shooting in Johnston or Rangemasters Training Center in Clive.

Climb Iowa

Climb Iowa in Grimes and Des Moines East Village: Reach new heights with indoor rock climbing and see how high you can go.

Beerologist Dads

For the dads who enjoy a good beer or just a relaxing time with friends, Des Moines has you covered. Visit some of these local favorite breweries including The Hall, Confluence, Barn Town Brewing, 515 Brewing, Lua, Twisted Vine, and more. 

Keep your eye out for festivals such as the Iowa Craft Brew Festival coming up on June 1st, 2024.

Outdoorsy Dad

For dads who enjoy fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities, grab your buddies and head to one of the many lakes in Greater Des Moines. Just make sure you have a fishing license! Popular local places include Blue Heron Lake, Gray’s Lake, Easter Lake, and Saylorville Lake. For more of a jaunt, head two hours east to Lake Macbride State Park for Kentucky spotted bass, catfish, and walleye, or head three hours northeast to Big Spring Fish Hatchery for trout. A fishing license with trout stamps is needed for this lake.

Take a look at our Interactive Park Map and plan a day of fishing all over the Des Moines metro.

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L is an occupational therapist turned (mostly) stay-at-home mom. She has worked with adults to young toddlers and has a special interest in early childhood development targeting fine motor skills, feeding, sensory processing, and coordination. She loves incorporating this knowledge with her own two little boys through play. When she’s not running after her little ones she enjoys traveling, cooking new recipes and eating chocolate from her secret stash.

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