9. Fort Des Moines Park
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Currently, the two shelters at Fort Des Moines Park are not being reserved because of park construction. They are free of charge on a first come first serve basis through Memorial Day of 2016. Please continue to check our website or call 515-323-5300 for more up-to-date information.
7200 SE 5th St. Des Moines-Fort Des Moines Park is located on SE 5th Street south of Army Post Road.
Fort Des Moines Park Master Plan
This 135-acre park rests on a portion of the former cavalry post established on Army Post Road in 1903. Its centerpiece is a deep 14-acre lake, but the park also features two picnic shelters, a children's playground, and an arboretum.
The arboretum contains 39 trees well suited for planting in central Iowa. Each bears a small plaque to assist with identification. The park's mile-long hiking trail begins at the lake and continues through a dense woodland.
Fort Des Moines Park was originally part of “Fort Des Moines,” established on 640 acres of land four miles south of downtown Des Moines in 1903. This area was a cavalry post, an officer training camp, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) training center, US Army Reserve Center, and landfill site until the 1960’s. In the late 1960’s, Lady Bird Johnson promoted the Legacy of Parks program by giving federal property to local governments for parks. Polk County Conservation Board acquired Fort Des Moines Park through this program in October 1972.
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