Summer is here and it is time for the much cherished family vacation. But record-high gas prices  are forcing people to stay closer to home instead of driving or flying long distances for their summer vacation. That does not mean any shortage of fun however, the Des Moines area is full of fun things to do with something for everyone! With a little planning you can create a fun and relaxing destination in your own backyard. Below are just a few of the wonderful attractions  you can enjoy in our area.

Des  Moines Art Center   

4700 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA  515-277-4405

The Art Center presents thought-provoking exhibitions and educational programs, as well as hands-on studio art classes. World-class architecture and outstanding Permanent Collection is also featured. The center also has a restaurant that boasts a 5-star rating and the museum shop is a source for great gifts, contemporary items, jewelry, greeting cards, and art related books.

Des Moines Botanical Center

909 Robert D. Ray Drive
Des Moines, IA  515-323-6290

The Des Moines Botanical Center is one of the most popular cultural attractions in Iowa, providing educational, recreational, and community resources to thousands. Its goal is to provide botanical displays and educational services for its visitors. It is located on 14 acres along the east bank of the Des Moines River, close to downtown.

 Adventureland Park
305 34th Avenue NW
Altoona, IA 50009

Adventureland Park has more than 100 rides, shows and attractions, including three great roller coasters. Rides for all ages, from mild to wet-and-wild. Shows throughout the park feature a variety of family entertainment. Hotel and campground located next to the park.

Big Creek State Park 
12397 NW 89th Court
Polk City, IA 50226

Big Creek State Park provides a diverse outdoor recreation opportunity for visitors of all ages and interests. Big Creek Lake along with adjacent Saylorville Lake is the result of a flood control project. The focal point of the Park is the 866-acre lake with fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, bicycling, picnicking and other leisure activities