• Register Now!

    The Mayor's Annual Ride and Run will be held on April 18, with all proceeds benefiting the restoration of the Jackson Street Bridge. The run/walk starts at 8 a.m. with the ride following at 10 am. Registration is $25 for adults and $5 for ages 5-18. New this year, purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a $2000 voucher towards the purchase of Giant brand bikes at Bike World.

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    Register

  • Seasonal Employment Opportunities

    Des Moines Parks and Recreation offers many different seasonal employment opportunities in three divisions: Aquatics, Parks/Buildings and Recreation. To view all current openings please click the link below.

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  • Don't Miss Out on Kickball Season

    This recreational adult coed league begins play in ay with game times from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. each Wednesday. Coed teams field ten players (5 men/5 women) ages 18 and over and play a 7-game schedule, one game a week, at the Greater Des Moines Softball Complex (4980 NE 46th Street).

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  • Performing Arts Kids Club

    The inaugural Performing Arts Kids Club will be held Mondays at Pioneer Columbus Community Center (2100 SE 5th street) from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm, April 6 through May 4. The program ends with a student performance Friday, May 8, 5:30 pm and families are encouraged to attend. Registration is open through April 3 for this 5-week program, designed for kids in grades 4 - 6 and the cost is $19.

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  • GPS Egg Hunts

    You get 2 chances to try the same fun with a fun modern twist – GPS Egg Hunts! Each registered participant will use a handheld GPS unit that has been pre-programmed with prize locations within the park. After an introduction and instructions, the hunt will begin. For each correct location, participants will select a small prize to take home. More than one person may walk along on the search but only registered participants are allowed to pick up the prizes.

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  • Annual Report

    Des Moines Parks and Recreation is pleased to provide residents with “2014 Report to the Community.” This report provides a high level overview of many of the department’s significant accomplishments over the past year.

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    View Full Report

Gray's Lake lighten bridge at dusk with downtown in the distance

Gray's Lake - Fun On and Near the Water

 

Over one million people visit Gray's Lake Park every year.  Gray's Lake is a 96 acres freshwater lake with a maximum depth of 14.2 feet with a mean depth of 9.6 feet.   Gray's Lake is open April through October from 5 AM to 12 midnight and 6 AM to 10 PM November through March.

 

Gray's Lake allows electric trolling motor only.  Sailboats maximum height must not exceed 24 foot due to high overhead voltage.   Sailboats must remain 30 feet from the bridge.  Visitors may gain access to the lake from a hard surface boat ramp. 

 

Fisher man showing his catch at Gray's LakeFishing

 

Gray's Lake hosts an unusual combination of fish - those typically found in rivers as well as those found in lakes and, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is one of the best cat fishing spots in central Iowa.  The Lake offers many good fishing access points from shore for the fishing enthusiast who does not have a boat.  Fishing is permitted in all areas except the pedestrian bridge and on the boat rental dock when it is open for rentals.  The major species of fish include channel catfish, crappies and largemouth bass.  

  

Sailing and Canoeing

 

Bring your sail boat or canoe  to beautiful Gray's Lake for a day-long or early evening sail or canoe outing.  Visit Gray's Lake Concessions for boat rentals from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  Paddleboats, canoes, sailboats, kayaks, catamaran kayaks, and hydro bikes are available for $ 5.00 per 1/2 hour rental.  Rentals begin in mid April.

 

Learn to Sail - Intro to Sailing 

Learn Canoe Basics - Canoe Lessons

 

Swimming

 

Swimming is allowed in designated beach area only.  No lifeguard is on duty but life jackets are provided free of charge. Glass containers, dogs and smoking are not allowed at the beach.  Consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages is not allowed within the Park.

 

Gray's Lake Park Rules