I first wrote this article back on Des Moines Parent when I started it back in 2014! A lot has changed since then but I was curious to see if we got any of my requests back then. Let’s take a look at what I put on my wish list back then:
Let me start off by saying I love Central Iowa. But, that being said, as a parent there are a few things I would love to see in the Des Moines area. So if any entrepreneurs out there are reading this please make it happen! Here are 6 things I would like to see in Des Moines:
1. Aquarium – Last summer I visited the Downtown Aquarium in Denver. It was amazing. Not only did it have over 500 species of animals, but it had a stingray reef touch tank and a cool restaurant with a 50,000 gallon centerpiece aquarium. With Des Moines so far from an ocean an aquarium just makes sense.
2. Children’s Museum – Coralville and Omaha are the closest 2 Children’s Museums. Why doesn’t Des Moines have one? Most of the Children’s Museums that I’ve been to have awesome interactive exhibits for the little ones. I guarantee this would get a great response from Central Iowa parents.
3. Indoor Water Park – Why isn’t there an indoor water park in Central Iowa not associated with a hotel? I mean in Iowa we only have 3 months of outdoor water play (if we are lucky), so it just makes sense to have an indoor option. Forget having to get a hotel room to get in, have a membership package or daily options and this place will be hopping with families. Bring on the water slides and play fountains!
4. Kids Movie Theater – Yep, a movie theater that only shows G and PG shows. It would kind of be like Billy Joe’s Picture Show (for those of you who remember) for kids. There would be healthy kid snacks, popcorn (that doesn’t cost $20), coffee for parents and family membership packages. Maybe even have special seating like couches available for the kids to veg out on?
5. Indoor Playground with Extras – I just got back yesterday from Portland, Oregon. There they had an indoor playground (PlayDate PDX) that was pretty darn cool. It was 3 stories high and filled with slides, air guns, obstacles and tunnels for the kiddos. While the kids play there is a cafe with coffee, beer or wine and food options for the parents. I even saw one mom asleep on the couch while her kids played. Hey we have all felt that way before!
6. Themed Restaurant – Although most themed restaurants aren’t known for their food, it would still be cool to have one for families here in Central Iowa. Something similar to T-Rex restaurant in Kansas City. Or perhaps a Pirate themed one? Something that is a fun destination experience.
So have we come that far? I have to say the Indoor Playground (#5) option is probably covered. We now have Sky Zone, Urban Air Adventure Park, Get Air Trampoline Park and Pump It Up. Kids movie theater isn’t exactly answered but many new theaters have rooms with play equipment for kids to play in and watch movie. Children’s Museum (#2) has been answered with Des Moines Children’s Museum.
The 3 I see that still need answered are Indoor Water Park, Themed Restaurants and an Aquarium. You could build this into one space and there you go! So if you have some money or know an investor, please make this happen. I have only been waiting 7 years!
What do you think Central Iowa needs for children?