Easter Lake Shelter #1 Playground in Des Moines, Iowa

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Easter Lake Shelter #1 Playground in Des Moines, Iowa

The brand new Easter Lake Shelter #1 Playground is amazing. It is one of those playgrounds that you immediately walk up to and immediately think “Wow this is unique.” My kids for the whole hour we were there were constantly getting excited about a new detail they found and begged to come back as soon as possible with their friends. 

This large natured-theme playground is inviting to all children. There are multiple different sensory boards with visual, tactile, and audio elements that invite kids with all abilities. 

The large U-shaped playground structure has so many ways to climb to the top level of the structure. The two sides are connected by a unique V-climbing area that my kids loved. How the playground is laid out, even when busy it doesn’t feel busy. 

Outside of the main structure, this playground offers many additional features. There is a large freestanding stacked climber that challenges all three of my kids. Two warped wall climbers connected by unique monkey bars were perfect for a timed climbing challenge. My kids also loved both the zip lines (a standard seat and ADA complaint bucket seat.) 

Another highlight of this playground is the quiet grove. It is a small structure a bit away from the main structure that gives kids a peaceful place to go if overstimulated by the playground. There are multiple sensory activities found in the open structure that can honor all kids as they play here. When we had come back for a large play date with friends, several times I saw kids self-regulate and spend time in this area to be away from the noise and people.


Easter Lake Shelter #1 playground is located at 2830 Easter Lake Drive in Des Moines. After entering the park, you will come to a Y, and follow signs to Shelter #1 to the right. 

Basic Park Details

Type: Places to play, places to hike

Bathrooms: Yes, there are year-round restrooms! They are pit latrines which can be hard for some kids to use. 

Shade: Lots of huge trees nearby, and the playground has multiple play shades

Playground: 5-12-year-old playground, multiple free-standing climbers

Trails: paved and soft surface trails

Water: Lake nearby

Important Note: For families with kids who may wander, the lake is visible from the playground. It is 200 feet away with no fencing or barrier around it. 

Official website: https://www.mycountyparks.com/county/Polk/Park/Easter-Lake-Park/Facility/Easter-Lake-Shelter-1.aspx#

Park Amenities

  • Open-air picnic shelter (available for rent)
  • Large trees, open area to play
  • Two parking lots
  • Wood chips
  • Zip lines (traditional and ada compliant bucket seat)
  • Musical instrument area
  • Sensory boards

Located Near Easter Lake Shelter #1 Playground

Easter Lake has so much to offer. This summer the North Shore renovation will be completed that will offer many amenities and activities. Easter Lake Shelter #1 Playground is less than two miles from Ashley Okland Park. Friends recommend parking there and doing a family bike ride to Easter Lake’s playgrounds.

Kaci Kennedy

Kaci Kennedy

Kaci is an adventurer and park enthusiast. She will often be exploring Central Iowa parks and finding hidden treasures with her five kids. Most of all, Kaci enjoys sharing all of her discoveries with those around her. Give her a follow on Instagram at @kennedysdoparks.

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