travel with kids: a sculpture garden picnic at home

We spent last friday night picnic’ing in our local sculpture park, enjoying dinner with a view. The John and Mary Pappajohn sculpture park in Des Moines is wonderful, boasting a host of famous works against the backdrop of the city’s skyline. It’s free and picnic’ing is allowed, and so is bringing your dog (on a leash).

We ate on the grass and then took a post-dinner walk through the art work. C. especially loved the recent addition of a huge white girl-like statue by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara (titled “white ghost”). She kept pointing to it and wanting to go back to it, clearly enamored of her “new friend.” It’s so fun to see her interacting with art this way, no longer just a passive baby along for the ride. It’s really enjoyable to see what stands out to her in a park full of sculptures. For me, it’s always the huge sculpture depicting a human figure made of words that catches my attention. It’s not just the sculpture that I find wonderful but also the fact that we’ve gotten to see its twin in one of my favorite cities in Europe: Salzburg, Austria. You can catch Jaume Plensa’s “Nomade” doppelgänger at the Residenzplatz in Mozart’s birth city.

Travel doesn’t have to be costly or take you to far away places; travel in your own backyard can be exciting and revealing of oddities and treasures. And if your backyard happens to be Des Moines, check out the Des Moines Art Center, which is wonderful, as well as the Chinese Culture Center along the Riverfront (visited here). Backyard travel is especially great for traveling with kids because you don’t have to worry about packing a lot of overnight things and can just get out and enjoy the adventure.


More travel posts here.

Are you a local Iowan? What are your favorite places to visit? What about favorite Des Moines attractions? 

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{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
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6 Responses to travel with kids: a sculpture garden picnic at home

  1. Wow! The sculpture garden was just a “plan” when I was living in Des Moines! The city has changed so much in the past 10 years. We loved Grey’s Lake and Waterworks. We got married by the art museum and rose garden. East Village has become such a cool area. A friend of mine owns the East Village Spa, if you’re ever in that area and want a massage :). I used to live on Ingersoll, just north of Grand. We would ride our bikes downtown every Saturday to the farmers’ market – one of the best I’ve ever been to! Looks like I need to visit again!

  2. Kaelynn says:

    I just moved from Iowa, but I grew up there. I’ll second the farmers market. The International Food Festival in DM has been gaining steam as well. The offerings last year were pretty impressive. The Iowa Arboretum in Boone is awesome as well. The Berry Patch Farm in Nevada has a great selection of apples and other fruits you can pick yourself too. I miss Wheatsfield Coop in Ames, as well as Pammel grocery and the British Foods store. The Octagon Arts Festival was pretty great last year as well, and the Art Festival in DM is one of the largest.

  3. Lauren says:

    The Mississippi River Aquarium and Museum in Dubuque is awesome! And Dubuque is only 20 min away from Dyersville home of the real FIELD OF DREAMS, which is 10000% worth a visit. The Dyersville Family Restaurant has great pie. A wonderful day trip if you’re in Eastern Iowa, and a fun weekend trip otherwise.

  4. jesse.anne.o says:

    Are those Sol Lewitt (white cubes) & Mark di SuVero (red)?

  5. Dottie says:

    I’m all about the concept of being a tourist in one’s own town. That’s an easy way to really enjoy life and appreciate what you have. A picnic is always a good plan.

  6. I have nothing much to add, just that I’m so behind on blog reading and your family is so beautiful and happy looking in every post. Love!

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