Youth & Families

If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Des Moines, look no further. Our youth and family programming is designed to engage multiple generations in the Botanical Garden’s mission of exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants.

Check out the Calendar of Events for a complete listing of this season’s classes and events.

Activities and Resources

Explore the world of plants at home. Activities and games to keep your family engaged with the world of plants between visits.

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Youth Visits (recommended ages 3-17)

Explore the beauty of the Botanical Garden with one of our youth visit options offered all year round. All tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

Choose from the following:

  • Guided: An education staff member will guide your group through the Garden and discuss it’s history, special plant collections and more. $7 per youth.
  • Unguided: Explore the Botanical Garden on your own for a special rate. $5 per youth.

Minimum of 8 youth required.  Adults within a 1:8 ratio (ages 5-10) or 1:15 ratio (ages 11-17) are free. Additional adults pay general admission ($10 per adult).


Story Sprouts (recommended ages 2-5)

Join us for a fun, interactive story time that explores nature and plants. During each program participants will enjoy stories and an activity based on the week’s theme. Story Sprouts is geared toward children ages 2-5.

$3 per child; adults and seniors pay general admission. Members FREE

  • Saturday Story Sprouts 
  • Saturday, Oct. 31st 10:30-11 a.m., 1:30-2 p.m. and 4:30-5 p.m. 
    • This program will have no shared materials and will occur outside where families will be able to practice social distancing. No preregistration required, limited spots available.
    • This special Story Sprouts session will be included with the price of admission.

Garden Buds Series (for ages 3-5 and an adult)

This new quarterly series encourages adult/child interaction with hands-on activities; designed for children 3-5, although younger and older siblings/youth may enjoy it as well. Please note one adult is required for every two youth participants. Registration is required.

Family Workshops (for ages 5-15 and an adult)

These monthly hands-on classes offer a fun, creative experience for families. Workshops are designed for youth ages 5-15 and an adult to build a take-home project together. Please note one adult is required for every three youth participants. Registration is required.

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Field Trips & Outreach

Interested in helping your students grow their love of nature? We offer a wide variety of field trip options to fit every age group and curricula. Our interdisciplinary tours and programs align with the Iowa Core, Next Generation Science Standards and local curricula for grades Pre-K through high school. Programs are offered September through May.

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Our unique summer and school break camps are designed to allow youth to explore the natural world through the lens of their favorite activities. Using the gardens as unique classrooms, children are inspired to create and explore with hands-on activities. Guest speakers from a wide range of expertise will also participate.

Day Camps
Summer Camps

Potting Bench Private Group Classes (recommended ages 5-17)

Potting Bench classes are designed for non-school groups, such as Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H and other youth groups to create a hands-on take-home. All supplies are included in the cost of registration. Classes require a minimum of eight people and have a maximum capacity of 20. Classes must be booked a minimum of two weeks in advance.

  • Terrariums: Learn about terrariums, small-scale ecosystems and the water cycle. Create your own terrarium to take home.
  • Succulent Dish Gardens: Learn about desert ecosystems and succulents and then design and plant a desktop desert.
  • Fairy Gardens: Celebrate gardening on a small scale and draw inspiration from fairies, gnomes and sprites to create your own miniature garden.

$20 per youth. Adults within a 1:5 ratio (ages 5-10) or 1:15 ratio (ages 11-17) are free. Additional adults pay general admission.


Scout Field Trips

Visit the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden with your scout group to grow their love of nature. We offer a variety of hands-on programs throughout the entire year to complete steps of the Junior Gardener and Flower badges.

Gardener Badge

  • Garden Design (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 2, 3): Learn how to select the right plants for Iowa and design your own dream garden. $10 per youth.
  • Potting Bench (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 2, 5): Explore garden design as you create your own indoor garden to take home. $20 per youth.

Flowers Badge

  • Flower Fun (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 2, 3, 4): Uncover the science of flowers as we explore plant families, smell different flowers and make your own tissue paper flowers to take home. $10 per youth.
  • Pick a Posy (Groups 8-20, Offered June, July, August, Completes steps 1, 2, 5): Explore Flower diversity while touring our garden areas and then create your own small flower bouquet to take home. $15 per youth.
  • Botanical Bath Bombs (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 3): Learn how relaxing flowers can be as you make your own bath bombs to take home. $20 per youth.

All programs: Adults within a 1:5 ratio are free. Additional Adults pay general admission ($10).



Use our reservation form to reserve a youth program for your group.

For questions about any programs please contact the Youth Education Coordinator at or at 515.402.4273.

Upcoming Events for Youth

There are no upcoming events at this time.