12+ Reasons to Love the Valley Community Center in West Des Moines, Iowa
The Valley Community Center, located in West Des Moines, opened in 2013. The community center is owned and operated by Valley Church, located across the street. The center is located on a 35-acre campus and seeks to provide services and partnerships with the community through classes, open gym, play areas, and other special programs. It is a huge asset for families in the Des Moines area and the offerings are mostly free.
Make sure you take a look at their events calendar online, before you go, which lists their many daily events and there is truly something for everyone to enjoy from young children to adults.
Inclusive Outdoor Playground
My sons love the outdoor inclusive playground called “Eric’s Place”. It has a double wide ramp to improve access to the structures, a wheelchair-accessible swing, and a wheelchair accessible merry go round. It includes multiple slides and a music area. I also like that the playground is on turf. Next to the playground are covered picnic benches which are perfect for having lunch or a snack in between playtime. When the weather is too extreme to be outdoors for long, take the kids inside to play in the indoor play area within the Valley Community Center.
Indoor Play Area
Families are always looking for indoor play options! The indoor play area at the Valley Community Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s located next to their café and enclosed in glass so caregivers can either sit inside the play area or outside and watch the kids while enjoying a beverage. It includes mats with soft climbing blocks for young children and then a climbing structure with tunnels and a slide for kids up to age 7. It’s a great free area for kids to burn energy and jump and climb.
The MapleNol Café features hot and cold drinks including coffee drinks, hot chocolate, and smoothies as well as breakfast items, snacks, and lunch with kid favorites like pizza, mac and cheese, and Uncrustables. They have seating for 88 and free Wi-Fi. The café is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Health and Wellness
Pickleball is a popular sport for families of all ages and uses techniques from badminton, table tennis, and tennis. Valley Community Center offers lessons for ages 18 and up as well as game times on Mondays, Wednesdays,s and Fridays. It’s only $2 per person per day and use of their paddles is free. This makes it very affordable to try. It’s not just for adults- they even offer Homeschool Family Pickleball.
They also offer basketball pick-up times for ages 18 and up, 25 and up as well as 50 and up. They have open gym times throughout the week for all ages.
Other activities include wellness classes for adults that change throughout the year. Classes may include Indoor Touch Rugby, cooking classes, health seminars as well as their current class Sweating with a Purpose for a full body workout. While the class is for adults, they recognize many parents may attend and so they have a kid’s corner for kids to play and color. Supporting families in this way is a huge strength for the center because parents know their kids are welcome with parental supervision.
Upward Youth Sports
Upward Youth Sports are family-friendly and fun for kids. Valley Community Center has Boys and Girls Basketball as well as Cheerleading for K5-6th grade including practices and games.
Many kid activities are available each week and other classes change throughout the year. A popular activity is called Tot Town held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings during the week. It targets kids ages 2-6 (you see many younger kids attending as well with their siblings) and is an open gym with balls, inflatables, a parachute, books, and games. My 1-year-old son loves to attend and says, “Tot Town fun!”
Imagination Station is also offered throughout the year and includes crafts, LEGO play, and coloring, Other rotating classes may include kids Spanish classes, cooking class, Karate for Kids, Drop in Pre-K STEM class for ages 3-6, Little Kids Obstacle Course and Tippi Toes Kids Dance Class.
Valley Community center is inclusive to all families. Currently, they have classes for Adaptive Athletics for Adults with Special Needs including boxing and pickleball. They also have a Support Group for Caregivers of Preschoolers with Special Needs. Throughout the year they have different offerings for families to try.
Spaces in the facility can be rented for gatherings, meetings, birthday parties, and other events for a fee. The sports courts can be rented as well as the children’s play area for a fun family event. They offer many different options for rentals.
The Valley Ice Plaza is a free outdoor ice-skating rink and ice skates can be borrowed from the center during open business hours. Ice skating is open from dawn to dusk in the winter depending on the weather and a green sign indicates that it’s open for use while a red sign indicates that it’s closed. The skating rink is not monitored and so families using it need to use caution.
Walk or bike the Cyclocross course which is over 2 miles on the southwest corner of the property.
Each year the center holds special events for the community. Some of these include:
- Local Holiday Maker’s Market: This is held in December and features over 80 local businesses and vendors selling hand-crafted goods. It’s a great way to start the shopping season for the holidays.
- Love You Des Moines Days: This event is held each year in June with 9 days of fun family activities, workshops, and gatherings. Valley Community Center partners with local organizations to serve the community through compassion, relationships, service, and wellness. Take a look at all the Love You Des Moines Days fun!
- Valley Classic Car Show: Enjoy looking at classic cars at this fun event held annually in July.
- Des Moines Parent Summer Camp Fair: Of course, we have to mention our Des Moines Parent partnership with the Valley Community Center to bring you a 1-day event to learn about all the spring and summer camps for kids coming up each year. This year it will be held on February 23rd from 9 AM-1 PM featuring a variety of vendors, kids’ classes, and play at the Fun Family Zone sponsored by the Valley Community Center with a bounce house and more.
The Valley Community Center has partnered with many local organizations to serve the community and encourage community members to help others in need. These include:
- Donations: Each month the center raises awareness and collects donations for different community needs and organizations. These have included food drives, diaper drives, and backpack and school supply drives. Donations can be dropped off at the center during normal business hours. Check out their website to learn the items being collected for the month.
- They have volunteer resources on their website to volunteer with partner organizations such as Special Olympics Iowa and Meals from the Heartland. A list of partner organizations can be found here.
- Refugee Resettlement Opportunities: In partnership with Valley Community Church and Lutheran Services of Iowa (LSI) the Valley Community Center is working to welcome refugees resettling into the community. This includes donating Welcome Boxes and volunteer positions. Learn more here.
- Global Greens: Part of the partnership with LSi also includes Global Greens Farm, an 8.5 incubator training farm located at the Valley Community Center for refugees who were farmers. Learn more on the LSI website and how to help support the farmers here including information on buying their produce.
- Volunteer at the Valley Community Center: There are many opportunities to volunteer including at the café, yard work, setting up activities, and helping with events. Fill out the online form here to apply.
Our Des Moines community is fortunate to have such a great community center that not only provides many opportunities for classes and events for families but also opportunities to help others in need.
Location and Contact Information
Address: Valley Community Center, 4444 Fuller Rd, West Des Moines, IA 50265
Phone: (515) 327-6000
Website: Valley Community Center