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.


We Need A Trailer!

We’re so excited to be making our first public appearance on Friday, May 12th at Food Truck Friday at Campbell Park in Clive!  We hope to see you there for food, music, and a chance to check out part of our summer traveling exhibit, “Let’s Play Outside!”  We’ll have our play campsite, a water table, and a garden sensory table for the kids to enjoy, and Julie and I will be there to answer questions.

Why only part of the exhibit, not the whole thing? Because it turns out our ideas are much bigger than our minivans.  We’ve had such a great response on social media, and so much interest from events wanting to host our exhibit, that we’ve expanded our plans enough that we need a trailer to haul it all!   We’ll be doing several events over the next few weeks with different parts of the exhibit, which brings us to our big news:

Mark your calendars for June 9th, from 4:30-6:30!  We’ll be having a launch party and fundraiser in partnership with the Heritage Carousel in Union Park!  Plan to join us to ride the wonderful Heritage Carousel, and to see “Let’s Play Outside!” all together for the very first time!  We’ll be raising money for a trailer, and celebrating the beginning of a very exciting summer!  We’ll have more details out soon!


Survey Results!

In the last 11 days, 705 of you have taken our survey.  Without further ado, here are the results!


Almost 90% of our survey-takers have visited a Children’s Museum before.  I suppose it isn’t too surprising that people who would take our survey overlap quite a bit with children’s museum visitors.  We have lots of interest from people who have visited children’s museums, we’ll need to expand our audience to those who haven’t by showing them how wonderful a children’s museum can be! Continue reading “Survey Results!”