Thomas Mitchell Park – Summer Hike

thomas mitchell park creek stomping

I think Thomas Mitchell Park is probably my #1 favorite spot to hike in the creek and explore; it even has special stairs to get up and down easily! We had a great visit last summer, bumping into interesting fungi and animals, in addition to kicking off the Polk County Geocache Challenge with our first cache at this park.

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Strasser Woods State Preserve: Park Visit

strasser woods state preserve

Every time we drove by the Iowa State Fairgrounds, I noticed the brown sign for Strasser Woods State Preserve and wondered what it was. I finally drove out to check it out in person, and what a pleasant surprise to find actual trails! This whole area was lush, leafy, and peaceful.

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Iowa State Fairgrounds Playground

the playground at iowa state fair

The Iowa State Fairgrounds’ playground is fun to explore year round! When we first moved here, a local mom tipped me off to the cheapest way to check out the Iowa State Fair with young kids: going the night before they open! The animals are all there, the playground is open, and some of the food vendors are happy to serve up some food on a stick. I prefer the fair in all its sweaty, crowded, crazy glory during the week, but it occurred to me that the playground would be great to visit when it wasn’t so busy. We had a great time playing on the wooden train playground and the climbing wall; it would be a great place to take a walk with strollers too. The fairgrounds often host animal shows and the barns are free to walk around in, check their calendar to see what else you might check out after the playground!

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30+ Free Des Moines Metro Wading Pools, Spraygrounds, and Fountains

A list of over 30 free spraygrounds, wading pools, and fountains in Des Moines. Includes surrounding suburbs and cities like Ankeny, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Altoona, and more.

Are you ready for summer weather and looking for free places to get wet around Des Moines? I have the list for you! Sharing free play fountains, spraygrounds, and wading pools with pictures. There is a link to a DSMOF page with more information about the site listed under each one. I’ll be doing round-ups of area pools, area beaches, and area creeks to creek stomp in as well, so subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss them! Be sure to stay safe and check out some of our favorite summer gear essentials in this post here.

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