Fun Places to See Animals in the Des Moines Area

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Fun Places to See Animals in Des Moines, Iowa

We love to see and play with animals whenever we can! Maybe it is my old veterinary technician heart shining through, but it always brings me so much joy. My kids love it just as much. Recently, I discovered there are tons of great places to see and interact with all types of animals in the Des Moines, Iowa area. Take a look at the list below and let us know where you love to see animals in the Des Moines area.

Blank Park Zoo

7401 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315

Of course, the Blank Park Zoo would make this list! The Des Moines Zoo offers a whole kids area where they can pet the goats and visit a donkey. In addition, the sea lions are always tons of fun and the giraffes are our favorite!

Center Grove Orchard

32835 610th Ave, Cambridge, IA 50046

We love to make a yearly visit to Center Grove Orchard not only for their pumpkins and apples but for all the fun animals they have on-site too! They offer goats, pigs, ducks, and chickens. Last year we had the opportunity to bottle-feed some goats which was tons of fun. Plan a visit this fall and check out their Discovery Barn.

Coffee Cats Cafe

312 5th St, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Coffee Cats Cafe is new to the Des Moines area and offers such a fun animal experience. Play and cuddle with some sweet cats from the Animal Rescue League. All the cats in the cafe are available for adoption. They also offer delicious coffee and sweet treats!

Dog Day Acres

Located in Lucas, Iowa.

Dog Day Acres is south of Des Moines and offers donkeys and goats to see and play with! Enjoy a 1-2 hour tour of the farm including participating in farm duties. The kids will have so much fun and they will make forever friends with the donkeys. Dog Day Acres visits are by appointment only.

Greenbelt Goats

1900 NW 114th St, Clive, IA 50325

The Greenbelt Goats is a fun and quick spot to visit some friendly goats. There is no charge to visit with them. Bring some quarters so you can feed them! They are located right near Clive City Hall and Clive Public Library.

Howell’s Greenhouse and Pumpkin Patch

3145 Howell Ct, Cumming, IA 50061

We visit Howell’s a few times of the year and our favorite thing to see are the goats! There is never a shortage of goats to cuddle and play with. They also have cows, chickens, and ducks you can see. If you are looking for a unique experience check out goat yoga.

Jester Park

12130 NW 128th Street, Granger, IA 50109

Jester Park is one of our favorite places to play in the Des Moines area. It offers hiking, fishing, kayaking, a playscape, a nature center, and animals! We love to visit the elk and bison every time we visit. Sometimes they are super active and we always enjoy watching them interact with each other.

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is another great place to see bison and elk. If you are lucky enough they may walk right in front of your car. Plan a visit early in the morning or right before dusk so you can see them up close and personal.

Paws & Pints

6218 Willowmere Drive, Des Moines, IA 50321

If you own a dog, or just love dogs … hang out at Paws & Pints. Paws & Pints located in Des Moines offers an indoor and outdoor dog park, restaurant and bar, grooming, boarding facility, training, and more. They always have a fun event planned and anyone is welcome to visit. Des Moines Dog loves Paws & Pints 🙂

Rusty Stars Alpaca

2054 Rustic Ln, Winterset, IA 50273

Rusty Stars Alpaca is home to lots of sweet alpacas. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can visit to play, feed and cuddle the alpacas. The owner is also available to answer all your questions. This is a fun family experience!


These places are a little further from Des Moines, but definitely worth the trip to see more animals up close and personal.

Hansen’s Dairy Farm

8461 Lincoln Rd, Hudson, IA 50643

Kangaroos on a farm in Iowa? Yes! Hansen’s Dairy Farm is not only known for its delicious dairy farm but also its kangaroos. Sign up for a tour and you will learn all about their cows and have a chance to meet the kangaroos up close.

New Day Dairy GuestBarn

31000 175th St, Clarksville, IA 50619

New Day Dairy is another Iowa dairy farm, but they offer a super fun experience as well. Book a stay in their guest barn and you can sleep right above the cows. This was such a fun getaway for us and we had several chances to pet the cows!

Wildlife Safari Park

16406 292nd St, Ashland, NE 68003

Wildlife Safari Park is located just west of Omaha, Nebraska. This fun safari park offers all types of animals including deer, elk, bison, eagles, and more. It is not just a drive-through experience, but there are several places to park to get out and look at the animals too.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

2 thoughts on “Fun Places to See Animals in the Des Moines Area

  1. Avatar Aron and Kari Shultz says:

    Thanks so much for including us at Rusty Stars Alpacas 😃. We’ve had a fantastic summer and so many visitors as a result of your sharing. Come back anytime

  2. Thank you for welcoming so many families to your farm. Such a fun place to be!

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