Pokemon Go has taken over smart phone users’ time and data. But, it’s a worldwide trend that is bringing people to new places they would’ve never gone before. Des Moines offers a wide variety of stops and gyms that can end up bringing your family together on a fun adventure.

Pokemon Go: PokeStops

There are several PokeStops located in Des Moines and some may surprise you. While the typical stop is usually a church or public library, Des Moines has a few more options that might bring you around the city a little more. The Blank Park Zoo is a 25-acre near historic Fort Des Moines and is the only accredited zoo in Iowa. The zoo wants to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation. Most of the exhibits are open every day, some depending on the heat.  Viewing the variety of animals the Blank Park Zoo has to offer is a great way for families to bond. But what’s the best part about this PokeStop? It’s also a gym! Mayhem Comics, Cards & Games is another PokeStop that might interest families drawn to Des Moines and Pokemon Go. This shop is a place where fans of comic books, trading cards and games of all types can feel at home. The Des Moines location has a game room where tournaments and other events take place. The Mayhem Comics and Games Facebook page started to post quite a few screenshots of the Pokemon the store attracts.

There are several parks in the Des Moines area that are PokeStops. Gray’s Lake Park is one of the top rated parks in the area. The park offers many opportunities for outdoor activities like biking and walking on its 1.9-mile encircling the lake. Gray’s Lake offers a top spot for cat fishing along with the chance to catch other fishes that can be found in rivers and lakes. Sailing, canoeing and swimming are also some fun activities for the whole family. MacRae Park, formally known as South Park, is another PokeStop that allows for family fun. This park is located on a bluff overlooking the Raccoon River and a great view of downtown Des Moines. There is a fountain, outdoor grills and picnic tables, two tennis courts,  and playground equipment.

Trying new foods can be a staple in any vacation, but knowing that they’re PokeStops makes family members a little more motivated to step out of their comfort zone. Cafe Su provides fresh and high-quality Chinese and Thai food that is handcrafted from family recipes. The restaurant also offers handmade sushi made from local farmers’ markets in Des Moines. This PokeStop may provide something new for the entire family to try. If your family is looking for something a little more familiar, The Neighborhood Bar & Grill is the perfect option. This PokeStop has happy hour along with a great variety of food to choose from including burgers and sandwiches.

Pokemon Go: Gyms

Pokemon Go gyms are the battle arenas that your team (Mystic, Instinct, or Valor) takes over and defends it from attacks. The Merle Hay Mall is close to Des Moines Ramada Tropics Resort and has a ton of PokeStops and Gyms around it, but there’s only one located inside the mall: Target. This is the perfect place to go if you want to walk around on a stormy day or just run in to pick up some forgotten toiletries. It could also provide a decent battleground on a busy day between the teams to keep the gym. The Iowa State Fairgrounds can bring competition from all over, especially during the fair in August. The Iowa State Fair offers a wide variety of entertainment from concerts to food contests to fun rides. This next gym location may not be as entertaining as the Iowa State Fair, but has a nice educational twist on it. Groups can tour the Iowa State Capitol building by themselves or with a guide and learn important things about the capital of Iowa. By telling your kids it’s a gym location, it might be an easy way to get them to learn something new.

If you’re looking for a good ol’ fashion BBQ joint, look no further than Jethro’s BBQ. This restaurant has been featured on Travel Channel’s “Man vs Food,” in America’s 100 Best BBQ Restaurants, and was titled the “Manliest Restaurant in the Midwest” by Men’s Health Magazine. Not only do they serve their famous slow cooked meats, but they make their sauces in house! This Pokemon Go gym may be the tastiest one around. Need to satisfy a sweet tooth after catching Pokemon all day? Stop by Granny’s Sweet Freeze Shoppe for some real ice cream in a variety of flavors. While enjoying the flavor of the week, you’re able to battle your Pokemon with others at this gym location.

If you and your family get tired of chasing Pokemon around all day, stop by the Des Moines Ramada Tropics Resort to catch a good night’s sleep. We have the perfect hotel room for your next trip. To book your reservation call 515-278-0271 or book online!