Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Jenn Riggs
I first met Jenn Riggs years ago through a Facebook parenting group. One thing that drew me towards her were her outdoor family adventures on social media. Her family was always out hiking and exploring central Iowa and the Midwest. When I learned that she was following her dream to begin Wander Women Iowa, I could not have been more excited for her.
Jenn is truly inspiring! She is a mom of two, wife, had a dream to create something and made it a reality. Learn more about her below.
Give us a little background of your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?
I was born and raised in Eastern Iowa, in a small town just outside of the Quad Cities area. I went to college at Iowa State University and graduated from college then spent a year in Vermont, and moved back to Iowa (you can’t keep me away!). I have lived in Des Moines for 12 years and I love it here! My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary in June with an amazing trip to Oregon. We have two kids, Neena (9) and Hugo (6) who go to school at Perkins Elementary. My husband is an Environmental Lawyer for the State of Iowa, and I work part-time as the Sustainability Coordinator at DMACC Urban Campus, alongside owning a business.
As a family we love traveling, making and eating really good food, live music, and camping!
What is your business, and what do you do?
My business is Wander Women Iowa. We guide, connect and empower women on all-inclusive camping adventures throughout Iowa. We also provide community hikes on a monthly basis.
Starting this business has always been a dream of mine. I love gathering women and I love being outdoors, so Wander Women is the perfect combination of two of my biggest passions. It provides an opportunity for women to commune in nature without having to worry about having all the gear, the experience, or the comrades to do it with. Since our trips are all-inclusive we provide all of that for you.
Why did you become a small business owner?
I think it was always in me to become a small business owner. When I was about 10 I created a camp in my backyard for all the neighborhood kids. I love the freedom that comes along with owning a business. I love that it allows me to be creative and live out my biggest dreams. I’ve always been an ideas person, and watching the ideas come to fruition is such a great experience! I also love the flexibility. It’s hard work owning a business, but ultimately I’m in charge of my schedule and there is something so very liberating about that.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
When my kiddos were smaller and I was staying home with them, we would go to Pioneer Columbus Community Recreation Center and the Valley Community Center. Now, we really love going to the skywalks to explore and run around!
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
We LOVE so many outdoor places. We spend a lot of time out at Saylorville, and on the numerous trails within Des Moines (Browns Wood, Greenwood Ashworth trails, Sycamore Trail). We also love the Polk County Conservation parks. Our favorite parks are probably Thomas Mitchell (creek walking there is the BEST!) and Yellow Banks (amazing view of the river atop the loess soil hills).
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
My husband and I LOVE food, and Des Moines does not disappoint when it comes to good food. A perfect day out for us would be an early lunch at the Cheese Bar, a hike at or bike ride on one of the numerous trails throughout Central Iowa, and then dinner at Aposto (best food in Des Moines!)
We also love hitting up the shops in the East Village!
We also go to Adventureland without kids at least once a year. We love lazing poolside and then hitting up the rides!
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
Oh gosh, I’m not quite sure. You think I’d have this figured out after nine years of parenting, but it’s still a work in progress. I guess I would say grant yourself grace. We’re human and imperfect, and that’s okay.
What is your number one parenting tip?
Have fun and be silly!
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