Des Moines Arts Festival: 2018 Ultimate Children’s Guide

Children’s Guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival

One of our favorite central Iowa festivals, is the Des Moines Arts Festival. It is free to attend and there is a ton offered for all ages. Here is a children’s guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival this summer in Western Gateway Park.

Des Moines Arts Festival, Kids, Des Moines, Iowa


Friday, June 22; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 23; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, June 24; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The schedule + interactive activities

Complete ScheduleAWESOME feature! If you want to save an event so you remember when and where it is happening, you can click “Add to my calendar” and it will add to your mobile calendar.

Below is a small list of children’s activities being offered by local businesses and organizations, some are located in the Creative Family Zone. Some are free and some may ask for a small fee or donation.

  • BOOM ART! an Interactive Mural Project suspended 30 feet high from the all-new Midamerican Energy all-electric bucket truck.
  • Screen Print with Artforce Iowa
  • The Knotty Nail
  • Homemade Doy Toys: create dog and cat toys!
  • Scult a Leaf: Make a beautiful leaf out of different colors of tissue paper.
  • Seed ball
  • Photo booth
  • Design a bookmark
  • Food Mobile: Design your own food mobile and include all your favorite foods.
  • Create slime!
  • Nature activities
  • Dancing
  • Finger painting
  • and so much more!

Check out the entire list of hands-on activities.

Other activities + events your kiddos will love

  • Stop by the Arts Festival Shop and purchase a t-shirt or backpack, then walk next door to decorate it yourself.
  • Live music! There is a lot open green space. Find a place to relax and enjoy one of the many artists lined -up to perform. The kids will love to dance and run.
  • Let the children run through and explore the John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
  • Eat food. The Des Moines Arts Festival is a great place to enjoy delicious, local food.

PappaJohn Sculpture Park, Wester Gateway Park, Des Moines, Iowa, Downtown Des Moines

Some tips to make your life a bit easier with kids

  • Bring cash. Some food vendors and shops may accept cards, but not all. There are 4 different ATM locations.
  • If you are bringing a stroller, throw a large blanket and/or foldable chair for sitting & listening to the live music.
  • Bring water bottles & snacks! There are food vendors, but you may want to eat one big meal.
  • Check out the schedule and add the events to your mobile calendar, so you have it on hand.
  • Bring a swimsuit and extra change of clothes. There is a fun area to splay and get wet. A great place to cool off in the heat of the Summer.

Western Gateway Park, Des Moines, Iowa, Downtown Des Moines


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