Thanksgiving Fun in Des Moines

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Thanksgiving Fun in Des Moines 2022

All of the fun Halloween festivities have ended, don’t worry though, there are some fun Thanksgiving traditions and events that are happening in Des Moines, Iowa this year. Check out these fun events and activities before or after Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Looking to do some fun activities at home? Here are some fun ideas!

How to Be Turkey Perfect

November 1 at 6 p.m.

The Kitchen, Iowa State Fairgrounds

Learn step-by-step just how easy it is to make and carve a tender, juicy turkey that the whole family will be talking about for years. Real Deals Ankeny will also be on hand to help you set the perfect table. Sign up today to make your 2022 Thanksgiving gathering the best one yet. For more information and to register, visit www.iowastatefair.org.

Toddler Tales – Turkeys

November 2 from 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Jester Park Nature Center

Let your imagination run wild with this fun, nature-themed story time! Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft. REGISTRATION: Required. COST: Free. AGES: Recommended for ages 3-6.

Family Turkey Time Bowling

November 13 from Noon to 2 p.m. 

Warrior Lanes

It’s almost time for our annual Turkey Time Family Glow Bowling Party with MOM-approved music and totally alcohol-free! Glow-In-The-Dark Bowling, Concert Lights, and Black Lights. Lanes must be reserved and paid for by 6 p.m. on Friday, November 11.

Story Telleabration – We are Thankful

November 16 from 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Jester Park Nature Center

Join volunteer storyteller, Carmen Epstein, for a fun, interactive tale tailored toward children ages 2 to 6 that explores the wonders of the outdoors. During each program, participants enjoy interactive stories and an activity. REGISTRATION: None. COST: Free. AGES: 2+

Thankful for Trees

November 17; 9 to 10 a.m. OR 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Together, celebrate trees and the products they produce. Nature Club is best suited to ages 2-5. Fee: Members $1; Non-members $5 per child.

Disney on Ice presents Frozen & Encanto

November 24 – 27

Check here for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Step inside the magical adventures of Disney’s Frozen and Encanto as they are brought to life like never before at Disney On Ice! Dazzling ice skating transports you to Arendelle to be a part of Anna’s adventure to find Elsa, whose icy powers unleashed an eternal winter. Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven take you along as they encounter wintry conditions in a race to bring back summer. Then, enter the fantastical Madrigal family’s Casita amidst the beautiful mountains of Colombia. Join Mirabel on her journey to save her enchanted family home alongside her sisters, Isabela and Luisa. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, invite your family and friends to sing along to your favorite songs and celebrate the power of love and courage Disney On Ice presents Frozen & Encanto – the show everyone will be talking about!

All guests aged 2 & older are required to have a ticket. 

Thanksgiving Celebration

November 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Valley Community Center

Join the Valley Community Center for crafts, movies, free pizza (lunch), open gym, and video game play! Free and for all ages.

Des Moines Turkey Trot

November 24 at 9 a.m.

Named as one of the best Turkey Trot’s in the country, and ‘Top Trot’ in Iowa by Runner’s World Magazine 5 years in a row, The Des Moines Turkey Trot is Iowa’s largest Thanksgiving Day tradition. Join in this holiday in downtown Des Moines, or ‘virtually anywhere,’ for our 5K, 5 Mile, and Tot Trot runs.

FAM Turkey Trot 5k

November 24 at 9 a.m.

Raccoon River Park

The FAM Turkey Trot is a family-friendly way to kick off your Thanksgiving, whether you’re a competitive runner or want to bring your “flock” to join you and walk. Teams are encouraged in memory of a loved one so that you can raise funds in their honor. Supporting the SHINE program at Blank Children’s Hospital, you’ll join fellow runners, joggers, and walkers in a fun morning and earn your turkey dinner. We can’t anticipate the weather, but we can guarantee a tradition for years to come!

Festival of Trees and Lights

November 25-27

Friday & Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Blank Children’s Hospital is proud to announce the 39th Annual Festival of Trees & Lights will be back in person for 2022 at the Iowa Events Center. 

This annual event is the largest fundraiser for Blank Children’s Hospital and is a central Iowa tradition to kick off the holiday season. The 39th Annual Festival of Trees & Lights will feature: A guided, one-way path to view the beautifully decorated trees and read impactful stories of children cared for at Blank Children’s. In addition, visitors can shop the Holiday Gift Shop to purchase specialty bakery items and more.

Get your tickets online in advance and choose your 2-hour time slot. Tickets are $5 per person, 2 and younger are free. Timeslots are limited due to COVID precautions. Masks are required for all attendees ages 2 and over.

Jolly Holiday Lights

November 25 – January 1; Closed December 24, 25, and 31 

5:30 to 10 p.m.


Make-A-Wish® Iowa started Jolly Holiday Lights over 25 years ago to raise money to grant Iowa children’s wishes. Since then, Jolly Holiday Lights has become the organization’s largest fundraising event, funding more than 1,000 wishes to date. Make-A-Wish Iowa is excited to continue the Jolly Holiday Lights event at Adventureland Park, where families can carry on this holiday tradition. $25 per car. Jump in the car on Black Friday and enjoy the magical lights.


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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