Youth & Family Programs

If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Des Moines, look no further. Our youth and family programming is designed to engage multiple generations in the Botanical Garden’s mission of exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants.

Check out the Calendar of Events for a complete listing of this season’s programs and events.


Our unique summer and school break camps are designed to allow youth to explore the natural world through the lens of their favorite activities. Using the gardens as unique classrooms, children are inspired to create and explore with hands-on activities. Guest speakers from a wide range of expertise will also participate.

Summer Camps

Day Camps

Story Sprouts (recommended ages 2-5)

Join us on Friday mornings 10:30-11 a.m. for a fun, interactive story time that explores nature and plants. During each program participants will enjoy stories and an activity based on the week’s theme. Included with general admission. No preregistration.

February – April (May off)
June – August (September off)

Youth Visits (recommended ages 3-17)

Explore the beauty of the Botanical Garden with one of our youth visit options offered all year round. After the program, groups are welcome to free explore the Garden in small, chaperoned groups using a provided interactive scavenger hunt. All programs must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

Choose from the following:

  • Rainforest Trek: Take a trek through the tropical rainforest in this interactive, guided 45-60 minute tour. Explore our indoor gardens with tropical-themed learning stations on this unique ecosystem, interact with rainforest products, and visit the Kemin Plant Sciences Lab to learn more about the variety of tropical plant adaptations. (Offered September -May). $9 per youth.
  • Discovery: Take a guided tour of the Garden to discover the diversity of pollinators and flowers while also learning more about our garden spaces. Youth will test their knowledge in an interactive pollinator game, hunt for pollinators, and take home a seed packet. (Offered June – August). $9 per youth.
  • Unguided: Explore the Botanical Garden on your own for a special rate. $7 per youth

Minimum of 8 youth required for guided programs, minimum of 10 youth required for unguided. Adults within a 1:8 ratio (ages 5 10) or 1:15 ratio (ages 11-17) are free. Additional adults pay general admission ($12 per adult).

Register Here

Scout Field Trips

Visit the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden with your scout group to grow their love of nature. We offer a variety of hands-on programs throughout the entire year to complete steps of the Junior Gardener and Flower badges.

Gardener Badge

  • Garden Design (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 2, 3): Learn how to select the right plants for Iowa and design your own dream garden. $10 per youth.
  • Potting Bench (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 2, 5): Explore garden design as you create your own indoor garden to take home. $20 per youth.

Flowers Badge

  • Flower Fun (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 2, 3, 4): Uncover the science of flowers as we explore plant families, smell different flowers and make your own tissue paper flowers to take home. $10 per youth.
  • Pick a Posy (Groups 8-20, Offered June, July, August, Completes steps 1, 2, 5): Explore Flower diversity while touring our garden areas and then create your own small flower bouquet to take home. $15 per youth.
  • Botanical Bath Bombs (Groups 8-20, Offered all year, Completes steps 1, 3): Learn how relaxing flowers can be as you make your own bath bombs to take home. $20 per youth.

All programs: Adults within a 1:5 ratio are free. Additional Adults pay general admission ($12). Add on a guided tour ($5/person).

Register Here

Field Trips

Interested in helping your students grow their love of nature? We offer a wide variety of field trip options to fit every age group and curricula. Our interdisciplinary tours and programs align with the Iowa Core, Next Generation Science Standards and local curricula for grades Pre-K through high school. Programs are offered September through May.

Learn More

Private Group Programs (recommended ages 5-17)

Private Group Programs are designed for non-school groups, such as 4-H and other youth groups to create a hands-on take-home project. All supplies are included in the cost of registration. All programs are offered virtually until further notice. Register here.

Learn More

Activities and Resources

Explore the world of plants at home. Activities and games to keep your family engaged with the world of plants between visits.

Learn More


Use our reservation form to reserve a youth program for your group.

Please review our Youth Visit Etiquette before completing your reservation form.

To learn about registration, cancellations and our refund policy please see Workshop Registration Policies.

Attend. Join. Give. Everything Supports the Garden.





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