Family Fun at the State Historical Museum of Iowa

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Family Fun at the State Historical Museum of Iowa

The kids and I have made several trips to the State Historical Museum of Iowa over the years. It is a great place to wander, learn, and have fun all for free in the heart of downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Many may not think of the State Historical Museum of Iowa as a place to visit with kids, but there is something for the entire family. Check out all the family fun offered at the State Historical Museum of Iowa.

Hands-On History

Hands-On History is a great room with lots of fun activities. There are LEGOs, a kitchen with pots, pans, and food, a place to create rubbings with crayons, a large train table on a map of Iowa where children can climb under and pop their heads through, a large tractor, and a LEGO replica of the 801 Grand Building.

There was also an area in the corner with comfy bean bags, where a staff member offered to read a book every so often.

Goldie’s Kids Club

As you walk through the State Historical Museum of Iowa you will notice Goldie’s Tweets. I loved these helpful cards that had questions and extra thoughts to start a conversation with your children about what you are looking at. I loved hearing the kid’s ideas and thoughts that came from these cards.

In addition, when you enter the museum make sure you grab a free Goldie’s Activity book. The kids always love picking up a free souvenir and this little book was a win!

The State Historical Museum of Iowa offers tons of youth and family programs from Goldie’s Kids Club, Junior Curator Day Camp, Young Writers Workshop, and more. Goldie’s Kids Club is a free membership you can join where you will receive a newsletter with facts and games, exclusive invites to events at the museum, a card from Goldie on their birthday (my kids love this!), and so much more.

Other Exhibits

After we played for a bit in the Hands-On History area, Amelia noticed the exhibit through the window where there were wildlife dioramas of elk, bison, turkeys, and more in the Delicate Balance. We spent time walking through looking at old dolls, looking at a very large tree stump, and walking through a coal mine.

When we were done walking through the exhibits on the lower level we decided to burn off some more energy by climbing the large staircase. If it is a cold day out, this simple activity will for sure wear your children out. Also, there are bathrooms and drinking fountains on every floor. We made sure to stop for a drink at each fountain.

We climbed each level and walked through Hollywood in the Heartland (where we spotted Superman!), Riding Through History, and more.

State Historical Museum of Iowa Hours

The State Historical Museum of Iowa is free and is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Make sure to check their event calendar before you visit for special programming and events that may be going on.


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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