Summer in Ankeny, Iowa is winding down. Shopping carts are filling up with school supplies instead of water balloons, and kids are taking full advantage of their last days by staying up past their bedtime. The end of summer is a great time to stuff as much family-time as possible into a few short weeks.
If your children are anything like mine, they’re raring to get out of the house before they have to go back to sitting in a classroom.
Are you running out of summer activities to do in Ankeny Iowa with your kids? Don’t worry...I’ve got you covered. Use this list of my top five activities to end summer with a bang.
P.S. Most of these are FREE
The Great Outdoors
Tired of spending money on new ways to entertain the kids? Outdoor parks and playgrounds have become extremely underrated in our world of technology. Get your kids to unplug from their iPads and plug into the simple fun that a playground offers.
There’s nothing better than hearing your children laugh and have a great time just being a kid, and there’s no better place to make that happen than at a park. My favorite park in Ankeny is Miracle Park because it's beautiful, well designed, and inclusive.
Ankeny Miracle Park puts my backyard swingset to shame. It has everything ANY kid could want. Slides, swings, tetor toters, basketball hoops, and more. Most of the park is covered by awnings to keep kids cool and sunburn-free. On top of that all..it’s wheelchair accessible, making it a truly all-encompassing playground.
Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE. My favorite word.
Ankeny Miracle Park - 310 NW School St, Ankeny, IA 50023, USA
Movie Night 2.0
You know those drive-in movies you’ve always wished you could go to? Now you can, at Movies Under the Stars, put on by Veridian Credit Union and the City of Ankeny.
As a new spin on a classic outdoor movie, it’s a great place to take your kiddos on a cool summer night after a long day at the playground.
Two things, in particular, make this a marvelous family-night idea.
- It’s a free summer activity to do in Ankeny. Yup, my favorite word again.
- You can bring your own food and drinks, making it even less expensive than the traditional theater experience.
My favorite thing to do is to pack a cooler full of healthy snacks and drinks for the whole unit to munch on. Also, I bring a backpack stuffed different flavors of popcorn. I pop my own on the stovetop then divide it into several ziplock bags, and give a bag to each of my kids to spice up with their favorite things. Mini chocolate chips, cinnamon-sugar powder, and butter are a few of our favorite toppings.
Movies Under the Stars - Bandshell at Wagner Park 410 W. First St.
The Playground for Kids is exactly what it sounds like and MORE! It’s an indoor playground extravaganza that serves as a perfect party spot when the Iowa sun is too strong to sprawl outside.
I’ve gone to a few birthday parties here with my kids, and they’ve fallen asleep on the way home each time, so you know it’s a good time.
Although many of their Saturday and Sundays are booked for private events, they do offer open play time to the public. I highly recommend stopping by on a Tuesday, because there’s a two for $12 deal that’s unbeatable.
P.S. Don’t forget to bring a pair of socks.
The Playground for Kids - 2401 SE Tones Dr. Suite 7 Ankeny, Iowa 50021
Beat the Heat with a Sweet Treat
After breaking a sweat running through tunnels and jumping in the bouncy house, take the kids out for a cold treat.
Rocket Fizz takes soda and candy shops to the next level. The colorful candy land offers more sodas and sweets than you can imagine. No, seriously...they even have a bacon and chocolate flavored pop that’s even better than it sounds, though my favorite is the classic root beer.
No matter what you’re craving is, you won’t have to worry about not finding it here, because they have everything.
The cherry on top? While roaming through the root beer selection you may bump into a celebrity. People like Rob Lowe, Gene Simmons, Amy Adams and Kylie Jenner have all been spotted at Rocket Fizz.
Rocket Fizz - 1550 North Ankeny Blvd., Suite 104 Ankeny, IA 50023
Farm to Table to Tummy
Cooking with kids is the best way to get them interested and excited about healthy food. Sometimes it seems impossible to get my little ones to eat anything other than chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers, so I have to be creative in the kitchen.
Something that ALWAYS works is inviting them to go grocery shopping with me to pick out produce to prepare a more wholesome meal together.
During the summer, the absolute best place to go shopping with my kids is the Uptown Ankeny Farmer’s Market. It’s ten times better than going to the grocery store for more reasons than I have time to explain, but the biggest draw for me is that the kiddos can run around while at the farmers market, so it makes shopping more fun and relaxed as a family.
If you haven’t purchased the all-natural maple syrup from the Ankeny Farmer’s Market yet, your pancake Sunday is certainly missing out.
Uptown Ankeny Farmer’s Market - 715 W 1st Street in Uptown Ankeny, Iowa
If you feel like you’ve exhausted all of the ways to entertain your children this season, use this list of summer activities for kids in Ankeny to make the most of what remains.
All of these options are ideal for the entire family, and best of all, almost all of them are FREE.
What's your favorite summer activity to do with your kiddos and grandchildren? Comment below!