If you choose to visit the Iowa State Capitol, do so between Monday and Saturday. You can either take a free self-guided tour or go on a formal tour if you would like to learn more. There is also a gift shop on site and the tours run most of the day, giving you flexibility when planning your visit. If you can't make it to this top attraction, you can also take a virtual tour online.
The Downtown Farmers' Market in Des Moines is often considered one of the best in the country. There is a Saturday market during most of the year and a winter market during the off season. Starting in May, you can visit the regular Saturday market right in the middle of the Historic Court District, meaning that this attraction can fit in perfectly with your time spent exploring downtown or historic Des Moines.
The Des Moines Art Center is a large building with mostly works from the 20th and 21st centuries in the permanent exhibit. There are also smaller collections and groupings of work from other time periods, including Japanese woodblock prints from the 19th century and the Renaissance. In total, there are over 4,000 works done on paper and more than 4,800 works of art. There are also special exhibits and admission to the museum is completely free.
Adventureland Park is truly one of the top Des Moines attractions for families with children. This amusement park has more than 100 attractions, shows, and rides. Here you can find some of the most adventurous roller coasters in the country as well as calmer rides for those who prefer a bit less excitement. There are also children's rides throughout the park and fun water rides. When your family wants a break from all the rides, watch a magic show, listen to some live music, or find somewhere to dance.
The Science Center of Iowa is a must-visit attraction for families with children as it teaches them about science while having fun. The museum is closed on Mondays between Labor Day and Memorial Day, but other than that, it is open year-round with the exception of certain holidays. There are special educational programs, daily events, and fun, educational films in the Blank IMAX Dome Theater. Each exhibit is unique, and one entire section even focuses on showing your children how they use science in their daily lives.