Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden is where the Meredith Corporation experiments and photographs for its magazine. It’s only open to the public a small window each day, throughout the year, but is the perfect spot to explore downtown.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to experience nature indoors (and outdoors), with a variety of plants and gardens in their dome-shaped building. There are gardens outside as well, with short dirt paths to explore.
Jackaline Baldwin Dunlap Park and Arboretum is a delightful hidden urban garden, donated to the city by a couple who lived nearby. There is a short loop of paved path, with a modern shelter. Lots of benches and picnic tables are spread throughout the shady park. There are several garden sculptures and planted gardens, with a connection to the nearby paved trail.
This is a great spot to take toddlers and preschoolers to bike; the path is long enough to let them go for awhile before turning or stopping, but not far enough to have any adult bikers.
Urbandale Demonstration Garden has a mature fruit orchard and several different gardens.