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April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

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usa
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April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

We're coming in for an April weekend (not during Drake Relays) and so far have this list of possibilities:

Des Moines Art Center

Massages somewhere, probably Massage Heights or Massage Envy because they are near our West Des Moines hotel and because they offer a $39. special.

Maybe an OmniMax movie at the Science Center.

The Botanic Garden sounds nice but not sure if my crowd will be interested.

Fleur Cinema for evening entertainment.

Gray's Lake, although I can't find a website and don't know much about it. Someone mentioned to us that it's a pretty place to walk around. Can you rent a sailboat or anything like that? If I am not mistaken, La Mie Bakery isn't too far off course and might make a nice coffee break stop to or fro.

The Flying Mango for dinner

Gateway Market & Cafe lunch

Maybe Village Market for picnic supplies if the weather demands it.

I have a pretty long list of places to eat but am not as sure of things to do. Any ideas for parents traveling with 1 or 2 older teens?

Thank you!

usa
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1. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

I should mention that shopping is not high on the lists of the men in our group so we probably aren't looking for mall suggestions this trip.

Thanks again. We'd never been to Des Moines until one of our kids moved there for school and have really enjoyed the little bits of time we've spent there. Such a nice city! Looking forward to our visit.

Des Moines, Iowa
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2. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

Gray's Lake has a website at …des-moines.ia.us/departments/…grayslake.htm I've actually not been to the park, so the only thing I know about it is that the pedestrian bridge there is lit up very pretty in the evenings. The website says they rent paddleboats and canoes, but I don't know if they would be open for the season yet.

As for other things to do, if you have sports fans, the Iowa Cubs (AAA Baseball) and Iowa Barnstormers (af2 Football) start their seasons in April. Might want to check out their schedules if you're interested. The Blank Park Zoo is fun for a half day or so if you like that sort of thing. It is quite small, but it's cute. Have fun!

Iowa City, Iowa
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3. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

You've done your homework.

Gray's Lake is very nice, but it's not that big of a lake- you can rent paddle boats. There is a little concession stand that sells hot dogs and stuff inside the big cement thing. That's about it- you can walk around the whole lake in about 20 minutes. It's pretty, but very busy when the weather is nice, and people let their dogs poop all over the walkways.

Art at all an interest? The Des Moines Art Center has a pretty rose garden in the back and the building is very cool.

La Mie is a ways from Grays lake, and in my opinion, not worth the hype. Gateway Market is awesome, and I hope it stays around for a long time.

The East Village is nice for walking around/window shopping as well as the shops on Ingersoll Avenue. The State Historical Building and the Capitol are nice too if you like museums.

Older teens? Hmm, The Des Moines Playhouse might be showing something fun or the Civic Center might have shows in the Stonaer(sp?) Theatre. Drake University might be having some shows too. Sorry, that's all I can think of right now.

Des Moines, Iowa
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4. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

You've got some great ideas already! Depending on your family's interests (and the weather), I would add:

- Saylorville or Big Creek Lakes - There are boat or bike rentals available at the Saylorville Marina or in Polk City.

- Biking or walking on any of the trails in the area. Information is available at greaterdesmoinestrails.org/newtrails/Maps.ht… The Clive Greenbelt and Raccoon River Trails are probably fairly close to your hotel in WDM.

- Living History Farms

- Laser tag at Tokens in WDM

You have some of my favorite area restaurants on your list already, but for this or future trips I'd add Red Rossa (Neapolitan pizza and salads), Noodle Zoo (sandwiches, pasta), Cosi Cucina (Italian), HuHot (Mongollian grill) and Club Car (variety). All have locations near your hotel in the WDM/Clive area and should appeal to teens and adults.

Let's all cross our fingers that the weather will be nice for your visit!

usa
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5. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

Wow, thanks so much for your help, everyone!

Thanks for the Gray's Lake link, I checked it out right away. It looks like it might be nice to be there just before dark for a walk and then enjoy the lit bridge after dark? (Ugh on people allowing their dogs to dirty the walkways! Can't imagine.)

I looked up the Cubs and they are playing at home during our visit so that might work out.

I will put the Historical Society on our list, too. I saw that there's an outdoor cafe there so if the weather is nice perhaps after the museum visit we'd have a coffee break there and soak up some sunshine.

(From my fingers to Mother Nature's ears!)

I will check into the other park areas mentioned (really hope we have the weather to be outside alot!). Also, glad to add more restaurants to our list. I think we've eaten at Noodle Zoo, not sure. If it's the place with a sandwich called the Big Bob or something like that, we've been there and enjoyed fresh, tasty sandwiches at very reasonable prices. I seem to remember thinking they had great potato chips! a guilty pleasure...

Very glad to have the HuHot rec as our student really misses good Asian food and will be thrilled to find a new one to try. Italian is probably her favorite so it'll be fun to try to squeeze one of those in, too. So much good food, so few hours in a day!

I will add absolutely everything you all mentioned to our list to take along, it all sounds great. Looks like there is no shortage of fun and food in Des Moines.

Many thanks, Cyclone05, iOwagirl, and prairiedog! I'll report back after our trip. I'm afraid we'll only get to a few things as it's a quick trip but with a college kid there we'll be back many times in the years to come.

usa
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6. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

Wow, thanks so much for your help, everyone!

Thanks for the Gray's Lake link, I checked it out right away. It looks like it might be nice to be there just before dark for a walk and then enjoy the lit bridge after dark? (Ugh on people allowing their dogs to dirty the walkways! Can't imagine.)

I looked up the Cubs and they are playing at home during our visit so that might work out.

I will put the Historical Society on our list, too. I saw that there's an outdoor cafe there so if the weather is nice perhaps after the museum visit we'd have a coffee break there and soak up some sunshine.

(From my fingers to Mother Nature's ears!)

I will check into the other park areas mentioned (really hope we have the weather to be outside alot!). Also, glad to add more restaurants to our list. I think we've eaten at Noodle Zoo, not sure. If it's the place with a sandwich called the Big Bob or something like that, we've been there and enjoyed fresh, tasty sandwiches at very reasonable prices. I seem to remember thinking they had great potato chips! a guilty pleasure...

Very glad to have the HuHot rec as our student really misses good Asian food and will be thrilled to find a new one to try. Italian is probably her favorite so it'll be fun to try to squeeze one of those in, too. So much good food, so few hours in a day!

I will add absolutely everything you all mentioned to our list to take along, it all sounds great. Looks like there is no shortage of fun and food in Des Moines.

Many thanks, Cyclone05, iOwagirl, and prairiedog! I'll report back after our trip. I'm afraid we'll only get to a few things as it's a quick trip but with a college kid there we'll be back many times in the years to come.

usa
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7. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

Thanks for your help, everyone. We had a very nice time in Des Moines. The Historical Society Museum is great, we especially enjoyed the caucus exhibit. They make good use of the space, several interesting exhibits packed into the building! Also, free street parking on Saturday was nice.

Afterward we walked around the East Village but were sorry to see the Village Market has gone out of business. Too bad, we thought it was a good spot. Wanted to check out a used book store we passed but there wasn't time.

I forgot until today that the woman who created the board game "Foodie Fight" is from Des Moines and I should have gone in to Kitchen Collage to see if they had it it stock. It was back ordered everywhere at Christmas. Next time!

Your Art Center is a gem, we got there about 40 minutes before closing so had to make a mad dash to see the Matisse painting in particular and then saw several other interesting things. We were able to see Rothko, Miro, O'Keefe, Picasso, Monet and a Rodin on a really quick trip through. Once home I read a list of artists represented and realized I missed Kandinsky and so *many* others I'd like to see. Very nice collection. Also, when we first got there we knew we were very short on time and asked a docent to direct us to the Matisse painting and as we went along our way 2 more approached us and asked if we were looking for the Matisse and directed us further! They were communicating by cell or walkie talkie or something. Wonderful. The building was interesting too, but again, it was too quick a trip to linger. We'll definitely go back for a more leisurely visit.

Drove to Gray's Lake but it was chilly and the kids had sort of had it so we drove it. Clusters of Spring flowers made things pretty and it was good to see there is beach for summertime. Lots of walkers and bikers out made it very pleasant.

Were about to go see the dam and Saylor Lake area when something else came up and we abandoned the plan. Another time.

We walked the Drake campus on Sunday and enjoyed watching the kids out doing street painting for Relays. I'm told there's often a streaker but sadly, we missed that. ;)

Gateway Market is terrific. It was very crowded when we were there sampling our way through on Saturday but I think it will be a place I visit every time I'm in town. Loved it. Everything we sampled (wonderful cheeses, salami, breads) was great. If I lived there I'd shop it all the time, it was pretty exciting.

We had a very nice time and are looking forward to many more visits to Des Moines and the surrounding area. Pella looks interesting...maybe next time.

So does

Many, many thanks to you all!

8. Re: April Weekend in Des Moines - Gray's Lake? Other ideas?

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