Best Parks in Des Moines

Best Parks in Des Moines

Now that the weather is starting to change, we’re trying to squeeze in as much outside time as we can by visiting some of our favorite parks at least one last time before it gets too cold. Here’s our list of the best parks in Des Moines.

5. Legion Park, West Des Moines

Why it’s a favorite: This is a newly redone park near Valley Junction. They have a new playground area with two playsets for a variety of kids ages, a merry go round, and swings. They also have a small splash pad.

legion-park park

4. Jester Park Natural Playscape, Granger

Why it’s a favorite: I had heard a lot about this play area, but we only visited for the first time this month. When we first walked up I didn’t think it would hold Carter’s attention for long. They have a little natural wading area with fountains and plenty of rocks, Wood blocks for building, A fallen tree trunk for climbing on and through, and a few viewing areas to see bison and elk.

Carter played in the water area for most of the time we were there. He wasn’t happy about leaving and we’d been there 2.5 hours.




3. Walker Johnson Park, Urbandale

Why it’s a favorite: They redid this park area a few years ago and put in a wooded play structure with cargo ropes, foot bridges and lots of places to climb. It’s quite large and in a fairly shaded area.

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2. Union Park, Des Moines

Why it’s a favorite: Two words: Rocket Slide! And it’s FAST! This was first erected in the early 70’s and I remember visiting it when I was a kid. It was refurbished in 2011, much to the delight of kids all across Des Moines. The slide is best suited for kids over 4. They have two other playground areas nearby for smaller children. They also have the Heritage Carousel which costs just $.50 per ride, a nice wading pool, two other playground areas and several shelters and picnic tables.


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1. Raccoon River Park, West Des Moines

Why it’s a favorite: This is a huge park with a great playground area. It has two separate play areas for different ages, a big spider web climber, a small splash area, and a lookout tower. That’s just the playground! The beach is just beyond the playground area. They also have a 3 mile walking trail around Blue Heron Lake, a fishing area, a dog park and lots of open areas. We may be a little biased because this one is pretty close to where we live and we often ride our bikes there.




We love our neighborhood parks too, and we’re lucky to have two within walking distance of our house. We frequently stop at other parks  when we’re out and about and have a few minutes to play. Any favorites in the metro area you’d add to the list?

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