Des Moines, Iowa offers the traveler a wide variety of fun and educational things to do. In addition to many historical museums, Des Moines has popular outdoor attractions and a popular science center. Iowa Gold Star Museum, Living History Farms, Blank Park Zoo, the Des Moines Botanical Center and the Science Center of Iowa will give you plenty of great things to do during your stay in Des Moines.
The Science Center of Iowa (SCI) provides plenty of interactive exhibits as well as areas for toddlers and children of all ages. Although some of the exhibits may change, SCI has offered "experience platforms" focused on everyday science, the sky above, and the earth below. The Science Center includes three theaters, including one for live presentations and demonstrations, one for planetarium shows, and an IMAX theater.
The Des Moines Botanical Center has a large collection of plants native to the Midwestern United States and more than 1,000 exotic plants from around the globe. The gardens range from bonsai to herb and exotic birds add even more beauty. The Center is located downtown beside the Des Moines river and is operated by the Des Moines Water Works.
Blank Park Zoo has over 1,000 animals, birds and sea creatures. The Zoo features natural habitats such as Australian and African areas and includes snow leopards and giraffes. The Blank Park Zoo is said to be one of the best zoos in Iowa and offers conservation and zoological education programs. It's not overwhelmingly large, so it's perfect for a few hours of fun during your visit to Des Moines.
Living History Farms, in the Urbanville area of Des Moines, is an outdoor museum that is divided into five different time periods that form a total of 300 years. Each time period is recreated by costumed interpreters in each area of the Museum. The focus is on how Iowa farmers first settled the lands into fertile farmland. Living History Farms also gives visitors an informative look at the history of the progress made in farming methods.
Iowa Gold Star Museum is a military museum that recognizes Iowa veterans. The Museum includes Civil War memorabilia and displays that date from the beginning of World War 1 in 1917 through 1846's Mexican War to the present day military activities of Iowa citizens. The Museum has uniforms and equipment used in different wars as well as a military reference library with information about Iowa veterans.