Des Moines Arts Festival: Ultimate Kid’s Guide

Kid’s Guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival 2022

One of our favorite central Iowa festivals is the Des Moines Arts Festival and they are celebrating 25 years this year! It is free to attend and there is a ton offered for all ages. Here is a kid’s guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival this summer in Western Gateway Park.


Friday, June 24; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 25; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, June 26; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The schedule + interactive activities

You can find the complete schedule online. You can find everything from live music, special events and more.

Below is a small list of kids’ activities being offered by local businesses and organizations, some are located in the Creative 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.
  • SPIN ART – Join Prairie Meadows and the Altoona Lions Club to create your newest masterpiece from everyone’s favorite art pastime.
  • SEED BALLS – Create seed balls from organic clay.
  • WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE – Using straw, beads, and pipe cleaners participants will be able to create a physical image of who they are or who they want to be.
  • ROCK PAINTING – Paint an uplifting message on a rock.
  • T-SHIRT DESIGN – Design a t-shirt that focuses on raising awareness of dyslexia.
  • WELCOMING PROJECT – Participants will have the opportunity to do coloring, painting, or glittering on pages that have either WELCOME or HELLO written in one of the main languages of Iowa’s immigrants such as Vietnamese, Spanish, Swahili, Arabic, Burmese, and more. 
  • CREATE YOUR OWN STORY – Be the writer of your own story at Everybody Wins! Iowa.
  • MUSICAL PETTING ZOO – Bring out your musical abilities with Des Moines Music Coalition’s “Music Petting Zoo.” 
  • BECOME A PUPPETEER – Be the designer, writer, and director of your own puppet show. 
  • GET GROOVY – If you’re in the mood to grove come over to the Iowa Dance Theater where you can decorate your body and participate in an on-site dance party.
  • MOTION PICTURE MOVIE – Design and create your own motion picture booklet.
  • SHADOW ART – Discover Shadow Art at the Science Center of Iowa booth.
  • And much more! 

Events of Interest 

Other activities + events your kiddos will love

  • Live music! There is a lot of 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.

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 different ATM locations available. 
  • If you are bringing a stroller, throw a large blanket and/or foldable chair for sitting & listening to live music.
  • Bring water bottles & snacks! There are food vendors, but you may want to eat one big meal.
  • Bring a swimsuit and an extra change of clothes. There is a fun area to play and get wet. A great place to cool off in the heat of the Summer.

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!

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