Archive for the ‘Des Moines Water Works Park’ Category

June 30, 2011

Get Your Exercise in Water Works Park

Are you a walker, jogger or biker in search of interesting places to exercise? Consider Des Moines Water Works Park.  Nestled just a few minutes from downtown Des Moines and directly across from Grays Lake, it is a fabulous place to enjoy the outdoors.  The park offers the arboretum with a beautiful fountain, countless varieties of crab apples that bloom in the spring, tons of beautiful flowers and a gazebo to offer shade when it’s hot.

Many are familiar with the ‘visible’ areas of the park. The real fun can often be found off the beaten path.  Just off George Flagg Parkway (formerly named Valley Drive), you will find the iron bridge.  Cars are not allowed across the bridge, so you can enjoy a quite nature walk.  If you continue a short ways north of the bridge, you will notice the horses from the stables.  They will often greet you by rushing to the fence.  If you continue on this path, you will eventually cross over the Raccoon River and head into the South of Grand area.  At this point you have multiple choices; to continue on to 63rd and Grand, veer to the west to head into West Des Moines or to the east to head into Greenwood Park.  Crossing the bridge is just one of the many options for walking paths in the park. 

Routine walkers in the park know they may encounter new experiences each day.  Bald eagles have been seen nesting along the east/west road.  Deer, wild turkeys, countless bird varieties, snakes, frogs, and turtles round out some of the wildlife regularly seen on or along the paths.  A variety of water fowl and their babies can be found waddling along the ponds.  But if nature is not your bag, strike up a conversation with visitors in the park.  There are always people fishing that are more than happy to tell their fish stories.

The park is flat, ideal for the leisurely walker.  The park is vast, ideal for the serious walker.  The park is fun, ideal for anyone.   Pick your desired distance, lace up your shoes and enjoy the park.

Posted by: Jo Taylor No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks June 20, 2011

Fishing in Water Works Park

Are you looking for a fun, relaxing outdoor activity?  Grab your fishing pole, tackle box and lawn chair and head to Water Works Park to try your luck at fishing.  With the scenic surroundings, even if the fish aren’t biting, you’ll certainly enjoy the solitude and beauty of nature.

Fishing has always been a favorite pastime in Water Works Park.   The park offers a multitude of perfect fishing spots, whether it is along the banks of the Raccoon River that winds through the park or one of the 12 ponds. 

A variety of fish species can be found in the waterways that inhabit the park — bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, bullhead, and carp, to name a few.   The ponds are adequately stocked with fish due to the frequent flooding of the Raccoon River.   Also, this past May the Iowa DNR released 10,000 “keeper” size bullheads in the ponds for the Hy-Vee Fishing Derby, and rumor has it that many of those fish are still there. 

Both the river and the ponds are accessible to the public during normal park hours.  Patrons must abide by the Iowa Fishing Regulations, as posted on the Iowa DNR’s website:

Do you have a favorite fishing spot in Water Works Park?

Posted by: Scott Atzen No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks June 9, 2011

Design Competition for Water Works Park

Des Moines Water Works, working in partnership with Iowa State University’s Department of Landscape Architecture, is excited to announce the launch of “Parkitecture,” an international design competition for Water Works Park.  The competition, aptly named for its emphasis on the role landscape architecture and design play in re‐envisioning Water Works Park, will seek proposals from professional designers and will offer students the opportunity to submit design concepts in an honorarium category.  Water Works Park, a 1,500‐acre park in the heart of Des Moines, has provided the main water supply for the city since the early 1900s and is a major component of the city’s open space system and trail network.

“The goal of the design competition is to draw awareness to the rich identity of Water Works Park and the value of the Raccoon River in serving the needs of Central Iowans,” said Ted Corrigan, Director of Water Distribution and Grounds for Des Moines Water Works.  “The competition is intended to generate discussion about watershed issues and best practices and offer innovative design solutions to address ecological and recreational challenges specific to Water Works Park” (e.g., prone to frequent flooding)” he said.  Through this visioning process, Des Moines Water Works would like to:

  • Limit the impact of flooding on park features
  • Restore the character of the Arie den Boer Crabapple Arboretum
  • Provide opportunities for memorials and donations to the park
  • Enhance vehicular and pedestrian circulation in the park and provide a visually appealing experience for both
  • Improve parking throughout the site
  • Separate park and operational activities, and
  • Enhance the entrance to the park

What makes this design competition even more notable is DMWW’s partnership with Iowa State University’s Department of Landscape Architecture.  Faculty and students provided much of the research and work to develop the competition through a service learning curriculum.  Thirty‐two Iowa State University students in the Landscape Architecture 401 Professional Practice course, taught by Associate Professor Carl Rogers, worked this past spring semester to collect current and historical site information on Water Works Park and develop the competition brief.  They also designed the website for registration and proposal submission.

“The partnership between the Department of Landscape Architecture and Des Moines Water Works has enabled landscape architecture students to learn first‐hand how a design project is conceived from the perspective of both the client and the user,” Rogers said.  “The design competition will showcase the park and provide Des Moines Water Works and the City of Des Moines a new perspective of the role the park plays in the form of the city,” he said.

More details about the design competition can be found at

Tell us what you think…what elements or ideas do you have that you’d like to see woven into the redesign of Water Works Park?

Posted by: Amy Kahler 8 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks June 6, 2011

Photographing the Beauty of Water Works Park

I have been a professional photographer of high school seniors and weddings in the Des Moines area for almost 20 years now, but I also love taking photos of wildlife and nature. I have found that my favorite place to take pictures is Water Works Park. The park is filled with gifts from nature that create interesting and varied backdrops.

For nature shots, spring is breathtaking when all the crabapple trees are blooming.  If you enjoy close-up photography, the blossoms will not disappoint. Summer is beautiful with all the colorful gardens scattered throughout the park.  Water backdrops are always great in any photo, and the ponds in Water Works Park make for a great scenic backdrop, especially if you can capture a duck or goose in the background.  Vibrant autumn leaves, large fallen trees, and overgrown woods lend richness to photos in the fall season.  After a new snowfall drapes everything in the winter, it’s wonderful to capture that peacefulness and quiet in a photo.   In the early morning, you can find deer sleeping under the pines on a bed of needles. What a stunning photo!

If you are looking for the perfect spot for a family portrait, Water Works Park has several great opportunities.  The Charles Sing Denman Memorial Fountain just inside Water Works Park is an easy favorite.   Be sure to stop by the Arie Den Boer Arboretum where the gazebo is located.  In addition to the beautiful flower garden, the wood rail fence adds rustic charm to any portrait.

Two of the most photographed areas in the park, and my personal favorites, are the old barn and the bridge.  Both of these features are drenched with character that can only be shaped over many years.  The rustic looks of both are great backdrops, whether shooting in color or black and white.  Venturing a little beyond the bridge, you will find a lush green area with large trees, small wooden bridges, and another pond.  Travel on the road father back and you’ll be rewarded with old stone chimneys left from old farm houses from years ago.  In your travels throughout the park, don’t forget to stop and take advantage of photo opportunities using the Raccoon River.  When the river is low, many sandbars are visible and the terrain is great for black and white photography.

There are so many great places in the park to use as backdrops for your favorite photos.  I have found that with a good imagination and any camera you will take great pictures at Water Works Park.  With all the gardens, buildings, wood rail fences, ponds, trees, and wildlife, you are sure to find something or somewhere in the park to use as a backdrop in your next photo.  

Happy picture taking!!

Posted by: Terri Carman No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks June 1, 2011

‘Tis the Season for Weddings

Are you looking for a picturesque, affordable location for a wedding ceremony?  Have you considered Water Works Park or the Des Moines Botanical and Environmental Center, both of which are maintained by Des Moines Water Works?

Nestled amongst mature trees and blooming flowers, the Charles Sing Denman Memorial Fountain in Water Works Park has always been a favorite spot for outdoor weddings and the perfect background for those important photographs.  If you’re planning a small, intimate wedding ceremony, the South Garden Gazebo is another popular spot in the park.  For more information, check out “Special Events and Wedding Guidelines” on our website,  To make a reservation in Water Works Park, call (515) 283-8752.

The Botanical Center, an eco-friendly and budget-friendly option, provides a beautiful setting under the dome or in one of the outdoor flower gardens. With the flowers and plants already in place, you can easily save hundreds on your floral bill, and when you add the competitive pricing for room rental and catering, you get more “green” all the way around.  Contact an Event Coordinator at (515) 323-6290 or go to to plan the wedding and/or reception of your dreams.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks May 19, 2011

What’s Happening in Water Works Park?

Not only is Water Works Park a popular spot for walks, bike rides, weddings, and family gatherings, it’s also the venue for many organized events such as concerts, marathons and the annual Jolly Holiday Lights display.

On May 14, Hy-Vee hosted the 10th annual Kids Fishing Derby in the park.  Rain, mud and cold temps didn’t stop people from enjoying the event.  An estimated crowd of 10,000-12,000 people were in attendance.  This year $50,000 was raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, bringing the total donations over the 10-year period to $773,000. 

The large event field in the western portion of the park will be the site of the Summer Jam on Saturday, June 25, and the Big Country Bash on Sunday, June 26.  The crowd size is expected to range from 5,000 people at the rock concert to over 20,000 for the country show.   

Park hours are 6:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. daily.  Park Police Officers are available for emergencies and other park-related questions or concerns.  The morning officer can be reached at (515) 208-1900 and the afternoon officer can be reached at (515) 208-1872.

Contact Des Moines Water Works staff at (515) 283-8752 for shelter and park reservations or arboretum donations.  The donor tree program has been suspended; however donations can still be made to the Park Fund that helps maintain the collection of trees and plants.

Posted by: Scott Atzen No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks May 10, 2011

Spring Gardening Tips from DMWW’s Gardeners

May is a wonderful time for spring gardening.  There are numerous activities that can be done around the yard.

  • Take a tour of your garden to see which plants have survived over the winter months.  Replacement plants may be needed for those that did not survive.
  • Divide perennials that are becoming overgrown from the previous year.  Daylilies, hostas and perennial grasses are a few that grow very aggressively. 
  • Prune back spent blooms on any bulbs including daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, etc.  As the plant’s foliage begins to yellow and brown, it can be cut off and removed from the plant.
  • Add a layer of 2-4” of mulch in perennial beds, around shrubs, and trees.  A thick layer of mulch protects the plant by keeping the roots cool, blocking weeds, and keeping moisture around the plant. 
  • Make sure to take time for plant shopping this month.  Greenhouses are loaded with beautiful annuals and perennials.  Don’t forget to wait until the frost free date of May 10 for planting most annuals. 
  • Containers and pots can be designed with various combinations of annuals and perennials.
  • Till the vegetable garden plots and begin planting summer crops including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.  after May 10 as well.
  • And lastly, WEED, WEED, WEED!  Get an early start on weeding.  Weeds are growing just as quickly as the flowers in your garden. 
Posted by: Dawn Goodrich 1 Comment
Labels: , , , Posted in Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Uncategorized May 4, 2011

Crabapple Trees in Water Works Park are in Full Bloom

Don’t miss this year’s spectacular display of flowering crabapple trees in the Arie den Boer Arboretum in Water Works Park.  Whether you walk or drive through the arboretum, you will definitely enjoy the fragrant, brilliant blooms in various shades of pink, lavender, purple, and white.  The moderate snowfall last winter, coupled by the cooler temperatures in early spring, has provided the perfect combination for an outstanding display, according to Scott Atzen, Grounds Supervisor.  Depending upon weather conditions, the peak bloom period is expected to last through the second week of May.

Established in 1930 by the late Arie den Boer, a renowned horticulturalist, the arboretum contains more than 1,200 trees and 350 varieties, and is one of the world’s largest collections of crabapple trees.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks April 25, 2011

Accessing DMWW General Office and Water Works Park While Fleur Drive is Closed

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) welcomes over 55,000 customers per year to our general office located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway.  If you are one of those customers, we would like you to be aware that roads accessing DMWW’s general office may be busier than usual during a three-month closure of Fleur Drive, beginning May 2.  The City of Des Moines is planning construction work to rehabilitate the Fleur Drive viaduct, which is located between Bell Avenue and George Flagg Parkway.  The project requires closing the bridge to all traffic for approximately three months.  During the closure, two detours will be posted:

Southbound – Vehicles will be routed west at George Flagg Parkway to SW 30th Street then south to Bell Avenue and east back to Fleur Drive.

Northbound – Vehicles will be routed east on Bell/Thomas Beck Road to SW 7th Street, then north to Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway where drivers can continue north or east into downtown areas, or west to return to Fleur Drive. 

If you would like to avoid the expected extra traffic caused by the road closure, you may access your account and make payments via our Website at, call a Customer Service Representative at 283-8700, or make a payment at several metro-area pay stations.  It is important to note that payment for termination notices must be made via the website or by visiting our office.

Access to Water Works Park

Southbound Fleur Drive – Construction will not affect southbound traffic access to Water Works Park; all park entrances off Fleur Drive will remain open. 

Northbound Fleur Drive – To access  Water Works Park entrances, northbound traffic should go west on Bell Avenue to SW 30th Street then north to George Flagg Parkway and east to Fleur Drive.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Customers, Des Moines Water Works Park April 15, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is April 22, and is a great time each year to show off your “greenness!”  Earth Day is a reminder of our responsibility to protect our planet so that it is a place of beauty and remains healthy and safe for future generations.

The first Earth Day was held in the spring of 1970 (thanks to Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and environmentalist activist, Denis Hayes) and was officially declared a day of celebration in 1990. 

You don’t have to be part of an organized event to do your part on Earth Day (and every day). Keep on with the green things you already do and try something new…

  • Take a walk and breathe in the fresh air at Water Works Park
  • Explore a world of plants under one dome at the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center.  Enjoy free admission for everyone on Earth Day!
  • Take Household Hazardous Materials (HHMs) to the Regional Collection Center in Bondurant.
  • Purchase more environmentally-friendly products.
  • Don’t purchase more than you will need; then use them up.
  • Buy products that don’t use so much packaging.
  • Use more reusable materials like lunch boxes, sandwich containers, aluminum water bottles and rags.
  • Bag up grass clippings, leaves, sticks and branches and put them in CompostIt! bags at the curb.
  • Clean up pet waste and put it in the garbage so it doesn’t wash down the storm sewers and into the rivers!
  • Keep your car in good repair so it doesn’t leak oil.  Clean up oil leaks with kitty litter or sand and sweep it up.
  • Plant grass and trees so there is no loose dirt on your property.

Even though Earth Day is officially celebrated on April 22, everyday can be Earth Day if you choose.

Posted by: Gail Peckumn No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Botanical Center, Conservation, Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Environment, Green Initiatives, Parks