5 places to catch spring in Des Moines
As the temperature starts to climb and you’re looking for places to see the flowers and trees blossom, here’s your guide for five places to catch spring in Des Moines.
Iowa State Capitol Grounds
Take a stroll on the west side of the capitol building to catch the flower beds, numerous memorials, and a great view of the Des Moines skyline. The flower beds feature daffodils, then tulips, followed by alliums later in May. Here’s the exact location on Google Maps where the flower beds are located. To help guide you on your tour, here’s a full list of monuments and statues on the grounds of the Iowa State Capitol.
Although the west side of the capitol is where most visitors go for a walk to enjoy the flowers and the view – don’t forget about the east side of the capitol. The Memorial Plaza or World War II Memorial is surrounded by flowering trees every spring. The centerpiece is a 50 ft high stainless steel “Freedom Flame”. As you approach the flame, the walkway serves as a timeline for World War II events.
Location: East side of the Iowa State Capitol Building, Here’s the exact location on Google Maps for the Memorial Plaza or World War II Memorial.
World Food Prize Gardens
Location: 100 Locust St., Des Moines, Iowa 50309
It was the vision of Janis and John Ruan to turn the parking lot into a garden oasis. And an oasis it is. Personally, I think this is the best free garden available in Des Moines, and you’ll see why as you walk through the garden. You’ll not only catch a variety of flowers – but also a variety of photographers taking numerous portraits with the garden as their backdrop. During the spring, they feature flowering pear and crab apple trees, along with hawthorns, lilacs, and magnolias. Of course, don’t forget the tulips.
Lilac Arboretum at Ewing Park
Location: Ewing Park, 5300 Indianola Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa
To fully “catch” spring in Des Moines, you’ll need to smell it, not just see it. That’s where Ewing Park comes in. For a few weeks each May, the lilac arboretum comes to life with other 1,000 lilacs, featuring up to 200 varieties. They’ve also got benches, gazebos, and picnic areas. Or take in the trails or frisbee disc course nearby.
Arie Den Boer Arboretum at Des Moines Water Works
Location: 2201 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines, Iowa 50321
Arie Den Boer Arboretum features hundreds of flowering crab apple trees each spring. The arboretum is located along Fleur Drive, just across from Gray’s Lake Park. The annual bloom typically takes place at the end of April or the first week of May. During this time, you’ll see a large number of visitors – including walkers, picnic crowds, and those who are hunting for the perfect “selfie” for Instagram. The space is named after Arie Den Boer, a horticulturist and author, who collected and organized the space back in 1930.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
If you’re looking for spring, it’s always available at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Center. The dome consists of over 600 plexiglass panels and houses a collection of tropical plants including palms and banana trees. The interior is always balmy and the sprayers run frequently to keep the environment suitable for the tropical and desert collections. There’s also a Bonsai collection and some uncommon plants such as the Corpse Flower. Outdoors contains additional acres for the water garden, rose garden, and more.
Location: 990 Robert D Ray Drive, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309
Check their webpage for admission prices and hours.