Tips to Enjoy the Des Moines Performing Art with Kids

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Tips to Enjoy the Des Moines Performing Art with Kids

Des Moines Performing Arts brings world-class arts and entertainment to the Midwest at their iconic theater – the Des Moines Civic Center – in downtown Des Moines. The organization brings the best of Broadway for the young and young at heart with shows for everyone on the Civic Center Stage. As a long-time enthusiast of the theater, I was over the moon when the opportunity finally arose to take my son on his first theater excursion. The theater is a magical and memorable place for children as stories and characters are brought to life in front of their eyes. Enjoy these guidelines and tips to make the most of your family Civic Center experience and enjoy live performances.

Des Moines Performing Arts and Civic Center Age Guidelines

The Des Moines Performing Arts welcomes children to Broadway performances and has the following guidance available on its website:

  • “Children aged five and above are welcome to attend performances at Des Moines Performing Arts venues. Des Moines Performing Arts does not censor performances nor make any guarantees of show content. We encourage parents to use their discretion when deciding if a show is appropriate for their child. Regardless of age, all children require a ticket.”
  • “Children under the age of five are welcome to attend the Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Family Series performances and some special presentations. Regardless of age, all children and infants require a ticket. Please call the Civic Center Ticket Office to ask if children under the age of five will be admitted into the theater before purchasing tickets to a performance. You can also visit the event page for information, including age recommendations, about the event.”

Tips for Attending with Children

  • Do some research regarding the show – how long is it? Is there an intermission? Know how long your child can tolerate sitting in a theater and plan accordingly.
  • Photos? Most DMPA/Civic Center shows have a strict prohibition of any kind of recording device. Occasionally, some family/children’s performances may permit or even welcome photos. Check with DMPA on a specific show-by-show basis.
  • Consider looking up your seat location if you don’t already know where you’ll be seated. You can access the Civic Center map here. TIP: If your tickets are for entry through doors 1E-8E, you may consider entering through the East lobby on the NE corner of the building.
  • The lobby opens one hour prior to curtain time and seating begins 30 minutes prior to curtain time. Check individual performances as some children’s shows may include an activity (Discovery Parties) in the lobby prior to show time. A Discovery Party may include hands-on experiences, instrument petting zoos, and more for the entire family.
  • If indulging in snacks/beverages, the facility concessions are cashless and accept debit or credit payments, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
  • Restrooms! Squeezing through the row to the exit during the performance can not only be distracting and disruptive, but it can be cumbersome for you and your child. Use the restroom before the start of the performance and during intermission as appropriate for your child.
  • While enjoying any activities, getting concessions, or using restrooms, be mindful of the lobby chimes, which are sounded five minutes before the show begins, as well as before the second act.

Upcoming Shows

Wellmark Family Series

There are several shows still coming up as a part of the 2023 Wellmark Family Series.

  • The Adventures of Tortoise and Hare: The Next Gen on November 4 – Purchase tickets here.
  • The Peking Acrobats on February 17 – Purchase tickets here.
  • The Pa’akai We Bring on March 30 – Purchase tickets here.

Buying Tickets

Beware of third-party sellers and fake ticket offers online! Take a quick peek at this video regarding safe ticket buying. Visit or the Des Moines Civic Center Ticket office in person or by phone at 515-246-2300 to purchase tickets. The Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ticket prices vary per show. TIP: Buying in person can save you additional per ticket online/phone fees!

About the Des Moines Performing Arts

The Des Moines Performing Arts is a not-for-profit corporation that invites audiences of all ages to enjoy the theater and offers educational opportunities for young children. The Des Moines Performing Arts runs four different venues located in downtown Des Moines.

  1. Cowles Commons
  2. Stoner Theater
  3. Temple Theater – Check out the Temple Comedy Series!
  4. Des Moines Civic Center
Michelle Jarnagin

Michelle Jarnagin

My name is Michelle Jarnagin and I live with my husband Dave and our son Devic in Des Moines. We have two Chihuahuas - Loki and Ollie. I work full time as a social worker and Dave is the stay-at-home parent in our household. Devic is currently in Kindergarten and will be entering 1st Grade this fall. In our free time, our family enjoys walking with the dogs, exploring parks and playgrounds, and visiting bowling/arcade centers. This summer you're likely to find us at the baseball fields for Devic's second season or enjoying one of the many festivals/activities Des Moines has to offer.

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