Growth Spurt!

You may have heard that we’re having a growth spurt!

GoFundMe Picture 2019

We’ve outgrown our current space and are moving to a bigger space in Valley West Mall!

We will be tripling our exhibit space, doubling our programming/party space, and adding a restroom for visitors.  To make all this happen, we need everyone’s help. We need funds for new exhibits, exhibit improvements, and improvements to the space.

In early March, we’ll be moving our new exhibits along with a few small improvements into the new space, and opening back up for visitors on Saturday, March 9th.  After that and into summer, we’ll be working on adding LOTS of new exhibits and activities to fill up our new 6,000 square foot exhibit space.

We are working hard behind the scenes on writing grants, holding fundraisers, and seeking sponsors.  All these thing will help us reach our goal, but also have time delays that mean we won’t have funds in hand for several weeks to months.  Our most immediate need is funding to complete the upgrades to the space needed to open in March, and begin purchasing the items we need to get started on exhibit upgrades

We started Des Moines Children’s Museum because we are two moms that wanted a children’s museum closer than Omaha or Coralville.  We’ve been a grassroots, community driven effort so far, and now we’re asking you to step up and help take the museum to the next level.

We’ve set up a GoFundMe page to fund the beginning of our BIG growth spurt.  Please help us make the next phase of Des Moines Children’s Museum a success! 

We’ve done a lot of moving things and learned how to rip up carpet.  It’s hard, but we learned that power carpet pullers are amazing!





$50.00 Giggle Gala

$50.00 Gala Tickets!  Say What?!!! Feel free to skip all the words and buy tickets immediately if that alone convinces you.


Being an adult can be hard.  Being a parent that makes time for adult fun can be even harder.

The success of the museum has been all because of parents.  Parents that volunteer.  Parents that spread the word.  Parents that take their children and are kind to the volunteers at the museum.  Parents that are understanding that the museum is still in its infancy and will keep growing and getting better.

We don’t want the decision to attend the gala for parents to be hard.  It’s hard enough to find a babysitter.  The $50.00 dollar entry ticket includes 2 drink tickets, games, silent auction, and Josh Alton doing stand-up.    Continue reading “$50.00 Giggle Gala”

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve been getting a lot of questions as we get closer to opening the doors of our new location!  Here are the answers to some of the most common ones:

When will it be open?

Our grand opening will be on Saturday, November 18th from 10:00 to 5:00.  You can find our Facebook event page Here

If you want to get a sneak peek before we’re officially open, we’ll be hosting a pre-opening party on Sunday, November 12th from 10:00-1:00 to thank the donors to our GoFundMe campaign.  Follow this link to make your donation:

What will the hours be?

Monday 9-12:30

Thursday 5 – 7:30

Saturday 10-5

Sunday 11-5

How much will admission cost?

$4.50 for children 1-10

Punch cards will be $20 for 5 admissions

No admission is required for children under 1 or adults, but donations are very much appreciated

Where in the mall are you located?

We are on the 2nd floor on the Food Court side of the mall, across from Bath & Body Works.  The closest entrance is the one next to Noodles And Company.

Can I volunteer?

Yes!  We are making a list of potential volunteers now.  Click Here to be added to the list.   We hope eventually be able to expand our open hours when we have a reliable group of volunteers.

Can I donate toys or other items?

Yes, we are happy to accept donations of gently used children’s items!  We particularly want:

  • Children’s tables and chairs
  • Play food or dishes
  • Play-Doh toys, especially rolling pins and scissors
  • Doctor’s Office toys
  • Art Supplies: Paper, crayons, markers, paint brushes
  • Music Toys
  • Books
  • Wooden Trains and Tracks
  • Baby Toys

If you have other items you think we may be interested in, send an email to

We don’t have regular hours yet, so send us an email to arrange to drop them off at our space at the mall, or we are happy to pick up.



Just the prescription the doctors ordered.



George Clooney said, “Anytime there’s an actual grassroots movement that isn’t funded by people trying to create a grassroots movement, I find that interesting.”  GeorgeClooney

Though I wouldn’t mind being interesting to George Clooney, I do want Des Moines Children’s Museum to reflect the grassroots movement it is.

I’m delighted that after our GoFundMe page was posted amazing people clicked on the donate button and donated over 1,000 dollars in 24 hours.  24 hours has a special place in my heart.  Back in April, when we announced our plan on Facebook found ourselves with 1,000 likes in 24 hours.  It always amazes me how all these people, who Laura and I didn’t know, were willing to like and share the page.  Just like when I look at the GoFundMe page these early donations aren’t from close friends or family.  Thank you!

I also really need to say thank you to an elementary girl that visited at our last Valley Junction Farmers Market.  It had been a long hot summer and we had brought out part of “Amazing Blanket Forts” for a test run.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw this grade school  girl dig out all of her change. I probably only noticed since she was concentrating and kept pulling out a coin or two at a time as she kept going back to her cute purse to discover more.   She had been playing with her younger sister, but she stopped to donate.

It was so sweet and heart warming.  I wanted to open our little plastic donation container and pull out every cent.   She could easily have bought a tasty treat at the farmers market, but she stopped playing to donate.  She felt that our cause was  important.  I was embarrassed. Laura and I stick a five and 2 ones in the box to encourage people to give. She valued what we were doing and if I had tried to give her money back it would have communicated that I didn’t value her contribution.  She seemed slightly embarrassed when she saw me looking at her.  I regret not saying “Thank you. Your donation means so much.”  It did but I was torn.  I thought “Museums don’t get opened with purse change.” But they do.  When people give what they can spare they show what they value.      

Early on in a coffee chat I was told that, “Parents wanting a children’s museum doesn’t mean anything.  Parents won’t pay for it and parents don’t get things done.”  Now I’m probably misquoting, but I was so angry.  Parents get so much done.  They are the ultimate multi-taskers.  This comment sparked in me a desire that Des Moines Children’s Museum would reflect  the community of grass root followers that allowed so much early success.

What I love is that this children’s museum is community driven.  Parents and kids want this to already be open yesterday.  DSM Children’s Museum hasn’t had that crazy mind blowing donation.  There hasn’t been that email saying, “Hey I’ve got this building I’d like to donate,” but it has excitement and passion.

Twenty years from now The Des Moines Children’s Museum will exist because we persisted and it was grassroots first and foremost.  We are going to have a piece of art created with blades of grass and on the blades of grass there will names of families that wanted to proclaim “Des Moines needs a children’s museum!”   Parents and grandparents will show their children and grandchildren their blade of grass. They will be able to tell them “this museum exists because I believed it from the beginning.”  All donors of $100 or more will be recognized as grassroots founders.

$100 might be way too much.  Believe me I get it.  There are always expenses-gas, groceries, childcare, and don’t get me started on shoes and pants. My two oldest kids grew over 3 inches in our first Iowa year. Any amount donated helps move the museum closer to its goal.  It tells everyone else that this is something you value.  It tells larger donors and corporations “Hey we want this.  Des Moines should have a children’s museum”

We are thrifty. We treasure the possibilities each dollar is and are careful as we build exhibits and turn the dream into reality.

Another doctor, Tom Colburn, though not dreamy like Clooney, said, “All change starts with a distant rumble at the grassroots level.”  Let your donation be part of the loud rumble that isn’t distant, but close.  Let’s make this a rumble that can’t be ignored, but heard and talked about.  Let our grassroots movement change our little section of the world.

Des Moines should have a children’s museum.  Donate now.

Here’s a cool poem about grass just because poetry is awesome. “A Blade of Grass” by Brian Pattern. It even has a great audio to listen to the short poem.