• Mayor's Annual Ride and Run for Trails

    On April 19, join us for the 2014 Mayor's Annual Ride AND Run for Trails. In addition to the ride, a 5k run has been added to the day's events. Fees are: $30 per adult, $5 for children ages 5 - 17, children 4 & younger are free. Participate in both the ride and run for an additional $5.

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    More Info & Registration

  • Early Bird Season Pool Passes Available Online!

    New in 2014, season pool passes are available for purchase online. Purchase yours during the month of April at a discounted early bird rate. Individual - $40, First two in family - $75, First three in family - $100, First four in family - $120, Each additional person over four in family - $5.

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    Purchase Yours Today!

  • Swimming Lesson Registration Now Open!

    Online registration for swimming lessons is now available. Class sizes are restricted and registration is first come first served. In order to get your preferred class, dates and/or times sign up online starting today at 8:00 a.m.

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    More Info & Registration

  • Kite Festival

    Des Moines Parks and Recreation is hosting Kite Fest on May 17 at Gray's Lake from 2:00 - 4:00pm. Register online by May 13. Cost is only $5. Fee includes a kite to assemble, flying instructions and hours of kite flying fun! Click the link below to sign up today!

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    Sign Up Now!

  • Summer Bags League Registration

    Register now for the Summer Des Moines Bags League! The league will play at the Hub Spot. Teams of 2 adults (18+) compete on Wednesday nights for 6 weeks plus a tournament. League play begins June 4. Cost is $35 per team.

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    Register Now!

  • 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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    Current Openings

Illustration of the benefits of prairie plants

Urban Environmental Education

 

Connection You with Nature in the City

 

Reconnect with nature and your family!  Restore yourself and refocus your children by getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors.  Studies have shown that children are smarter, more cooperative, happier and healthier when they have frequent and varied chances to play in the out-of-doors. That’s why the Park and Recreation Department offers educational programs for every age and every season. 
 
Next time you’re at Gray’s Lake, or many of your other city parks, keep your eyes open for new interpretive signage. These signs help visitors to the city parks view and understand natural land management strategies, as well as different aspects of park and lake ecology. In the future, you may be able to access interpretive information with your mobile phone through a podcast while on a park walking tour.
  

Of course, educational programs reach far beyond signs. Thanks to ongoing partnerships with Polk County Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources, the Park and Recreation Department continues to offer popular nature story hours, intriguing pond exploration, creepy insect investigations, informative bird programs and more.

 

Additional outdoor programs sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department also include canoe classes and trips, a camping night at Gray’s Lake, eco-art, nature-based scavenger hunts, and a “how-to” on gardening with native plants.  Visit Parks throughout the year to see what’s coming up in your neighborhood that would interest you, your friends, and your family.

 

Educational Documents

 

 Backyard Conservation and Habitat Creation

Canada Goose Habitat

Herbicide Alphabet Soup

Native Landscaping Resources

Native Species Blooming Periods

Small Urban Landscaping with Native Species