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.
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.
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.
- Winter Session: Fridays, February-April
- Summer Session: Fridays, June-August: Temporarily canceled until further notice
- Fall Session: Fridays, October-December
$3 per child; adults and seniors pay general admission. Members FREE
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.
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.
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.
Potting Bench Workshops (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.
Youth Tours (recommended ages 3-17)
Explore the beauty of the Botanical Garden with one of our tours. We offer different options for youth groups. Prices and formats vary. All tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
Choose from the following:
- Guided Tour (Groups 10-20, Ages 3-17, Offered September through May): An education staff member will guide your group through the Gardens and discuss their history, special plant collections and more. $7 per youth.
- Discovery Tour (Groups 20-100, Ages 6-17, Offered June through August): Education staff will guide participants through the Gardens and engage the group with demonstrations and activities. $7 per youth.
- Sensory Tour (Groups 20-100, Ages 3-5, Offered June through August): Designed for Pre-K and Kindergarten age youth to explore the Botanical Garden in a series of activities engaging the senses. $7 per youth.
- Unguided Group (Groups 10-100, Ages 3-17, Offered all year): Explore the Botanical Garden on your own for a special rate. $5 per youth.
Adults within a 1:8 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.
- 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.
- 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).