• 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.


    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.


    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!


    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.


    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.


    Current Openings

Illustration of bird roosting in a tree at sunriseEnvironmental Project and Education


The Park and Recreation Department has a goal to expand its conservation efforts through Gray’s Lake programming and education that will provide the public with the resources to further their enjoyment of outdoor experiences and knowledge tools to implement their own practices.  The Park serves as a classroom for these efforts through bird watching, nature walks, nature art programs, fishing clinics, plant and wildlife classes, etc.


In January 2004, the Park and Recreation Department began assessing opportunities for native landscaping in our park system. The Urban Prairie Project marked the beginning of an effort to integrate small pockets of native prairie into the landscape of several Des Moines parks, schools, and community green spaces. These Urban Prairies will serve as both educational resources and spaces for repose and relaxation.


Native plants are also being added to the park system in the form of rain gardens, garden-like plantings designed specifically to soak up storm water and reduce run-off. Rain gardens like those found in the city park system can be used in homes, businesses, and schools to help reduce storm water run-off and water pollution in Iowa.


To guide these efforts, the Park and Recreation Department has assembled an Urban Conservation Advisory Committee to the Park Board. The mission of this committee is to promote a park management philosophy that is holistic and ecologically based through policies that direct the planning, design and maintenance of healthy green space in the City of Des Moines toward protection and enhancement of the natural environment.


These changes mark an exciting movement toward a more environmentally friendly Park and Recreation Department. Come out and get involved! 


Urban Forestry Plan

 The City of Des Moines’s urban forest is a significant public asset. Understanding its value and managing it in a manner consistent with other assets is critical to good stewardship. 

 Urban Forestry Plan