On the second Saturday of the month (May to October), join us at Greenwood Park from 9 a.m. to noon to collect invasive species and UPCYCLE them into food and fun for Blank Park Zoo’s animals. Gloves and tools are provided and please come prepared for working outdoors!


    Blank Park Zoo

  • Plant. Grow. Fly.

    Everyone is invited to come learn about how flowers and butterflies grow and how they depend on each other to survive. After, pot your own flowers to help provide habitat for butterflies. Registration is $10 and all supplies will be provided, dirty hands guaranteed!


    Register Here

  • Bark in the Park

    Bark in the Park events will take place from 7:00-8:15pm and will feature training and obedience lessons as well as games and tricks for your dog to learn. Bark in the Park is a free event, participants MUST have a dog park permit. Email Barb at blbaker@dmgov.org with questions.


    Dog Park Info

  • Yoga at the Hub

    Refresh and relax over your lunch break with Yoga at the Hub, Wednesdays in May and June from 11:30-12:15. Learn from a new instructor every week. Don't forget to bring a mat or towel!


    Yoga at the Hub

  • Aquatics Registration

    Pool season is right around the corner! Get ready for summer by purchasing pool passes, or sign up for one of our four swimming programs.


    Aquatics Registration

  • Jackson Street Bridge Restoration

    Purchase your Jackson Street Bridge t-shirt today! Proceeds from sales of this Raygun t-shirt go toward the bridge restoration project.


    Raygun Site

  • 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.


    Apply Now

  • Summer Tennis Lessons

    Registration for summer tennis ends May 24.

    This summer’s programs include:

    Quickstart 1 for ages of 5-7, Quickstart 2 for ages 8-10

    Youth tennis for ages 11-18 and adult tennis.

    Sessions begin in early June.



  • Summer Bags League Registration

    Registration for summer bag leagues is now open. Teams play beginning June 10 at the Hub Spot on Wednesday or Thursday nights. Visit www.dmparks.org to register your team today!



  • NEW! Ultimate Frisbee

    Register now for Des Moines' newest Ultimate Frisbee league! Sign up as an individual or team now through July 31. League play begins August 12 at Cownie Soccer Complex.


    Register Here

  • Yoga in the Park

    Des Moines Parks and Recreation and UnityPoint Health - Des Moines invite you to enjoy your Saturday mornings by participating in a free weekly yoga session at Gray's Lake this summer.

    The class will be from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. every Saturday, June 6 through September 26.


    Yoga Series

  • 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.


    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 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