Des Moines caters to our desires to get moving with activities like rock climbing, trampolining, and horseback riding.


Climb Iowa Get a good grip on 10,000 square feet of climbing walls in Grimes, 17 miles northwest of Des Moines. Learn the meaning of teamwork in belay classes (when one climber holds the rope taut to catch their partner if they fall). Or go it alone with auto belays, which use hydraulics and compressed air to remove slack from the rope.

Climb Iowa
Photo courtesy of Climb Iowa

Blank Park Zoo Families walk around the 22-acre zoo as fluorescent-pink flamingos, Japanese macaques, zebras and ring-tailed lemurs bask in spring sunshine. Young professionals flock to Zoo Brew on summer Wednesday evenings for live music, local craft brews and up-close encounters with exotic animals.

Blank Park Zoo
Photos courtesy of Blank Park Zoo

Des Moines River Trail Take a two-wheeled spin along the Des Moines River Trail, where structures like the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge complement natural beauty along the Des Moines River. Don't have a bicycle? Rent one using BCycle, Des Moines' bike-sharing system with 10 stations located throughout downtown.

Bike Trail

Gray's Lake Park A bridge illuminated by a rainbow of lights provides the perfect vantage point for photographing the skyline at night. During the day, rent a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or pedal boat to explore the 100-acre lake located within a 10-minute bike ride of downtown.

Jester Park Equestrian Center Saddle up for a guided tour on the 5-mile Lakeshore Trail through forests and along Saylorville Lake. Previous horseback riding experience isn't necessary, but close-toed shoes are required. In Granger, 20 miles northwest of Des Moines.

Jester Park Equestrian Center
Photo courtesy of Jester Park Equestrian Center

SkyZone Trampoline Park Wall-to-wall trampolines have visitors literally bouncing off the walls. Try a fitness class or flip into a pit of 10,000 foam cubes. Feeling competitive? Get in on a game of dodge ball or dunk a basketball like a pro in the Sky Slam arena.

Sleepy Hollow Event Center Check the website for seasonal events like a Renaissance Faire, Haunted Scream Park, and snow tubing and sledding in winter.

Waveland Municipal Golf Course The name hints at the undulating hills of this 115-year-old golf course known for giving cross-country runners their most challenging workouts. After conquering all 18 holes, treat yourself to pizza in the redbrick clubhouse.