Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens in Downtown Des Moines

Sharing is caring!

Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens in Downtown Des Moines

You will find Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens nestled along the Des Moines River in the heart of Downtown Des Moines. The garden has been created as a symbol of diversity and appreciation for the contributions of Asian Americans in Iowa. Robert D Ray was an Iowa Governor from 1969-1983. During his four terms, he helped with the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees. 


Located just a short walk from the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden on Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines, IA 50309.

Basic Park Details

Type: Garden park 

Parking: Free street parking 

Bathrooms: No

Shade: Yes

Playground: No

Trails: Yes, a few small paths 

Water: Yes, a small pond and a few rocks with flowing water feature 

Official Website: 

Park Amenities 

  • 37-foot-tall Chinese Pavilion 
  • Wooden Pathway
  • Stone pagodas
  • Sculptural rock formations 
  • Small pond (Look for a few frogs!) 

Although Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens isn’t your typical “park”, my two kids enjoyed exploring for more than an hour. We walked through the garden, noticing the different plants and greenery. My son was intrigued by the character garden which has Chinese characters engraved on boulders. We enjoyed just sitting and looking at the river and beautiful landscaping while being surrounded by the beauty of the garden in the Asian pavilion. 

Contributions of Asian Americans in Iowa

Throughout the park, there are signs that explain the history of the contributions of Asian Americans in Iowa. There was so much I didn’t know about the reasons and journeys that brought many different ethnic groups to Iowa. 

Not Too Far From Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens

The Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens are located along the Principal Riverwalk which allows easy access to many fun things in downtown Des Moines!

Jackie Fioritto

Jackie Fioritto

Hi, I’m Jackie. I am a teacher who recently became a stay-at-home mother of two. My husband and I moved to Des Moines from Green Bay, Wisconsin a few years ago. Originally, I am from Chicago, Illinois. My family has loved exploring Des Moines and all that it has to offer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *