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Glancer Magazine

TRENDY TRAVELER | Ewing Park Lilac Arboretum In Des Moines


DES MOINES, IOWA–It's the season for lilacs, and Des Moines has just the righty place for those looking to take in the beauty — and fragrance — of these beautiful bushes.

It's around this time each year — late April through about mid-May — that the 35-acre display at Ewing Park turns white, pink and purple with blooms from its 1,000 lilac bushes.

Donated to the City of Des Moines, Ewing Park’s land was once the 357-acre Ewing Family Farm. In 1937, Winnie Ewing Coffin donated the farmland to the city in honor of her parents, David Rittenhouse Ewing and Lucinda Ewing.

The park became the largest city park in Des Moines. And, in 1947, the 35-acre Lilac Arboretum opened, becoming a favorite spring attraction.

For a few weeks each May, the Ewing Park Lilac Arboretum is brimming with the blooms of hundreds of lilac bushes. With over 1000 lilac bushes, it’s a treat for the eyes and the nose, as the lovely fragrance of the flowers fills the air.

There are more than 300 varieties of lilacs at the 74-year-old arboretum, located at 5300 Indianola Road on the city's southeast side.

The park's lilac display opened Thursday, with one-way vehicle traffic on Harry Piper Parkway from Indianola Road west to McKinley Avenue. The lilac overlook parking area will be open daily from 6am-10pm.

Important for visitors to note: It is against park rules to pick the lilacs.

The Des Moines area offers many more fun things to do outdoors nearby. Easter Lake Park is just across the street from Eqing Park, northeast of Indianola Avenue. The two parks connect by trail, and it’s super easy to explore both parks in one day. Easter Lake is a 178-acre lake surrounded by miles of beautiful trails, picnic areas, and even a covered bridge!

Fort Des Moines Park is 3 miles southwest and features excellent fishing, modern picnic shelters, and some great trails.

Other fun things to do in the Des Moines are include The Children’s Forest where there are over 4000 trees and shrubs, with 33 acres for kids to explore! An easy nature trail and playground are nearby—the kids will find plenty of outdoor fun. Also, the Disc Golf Course, an 18-hole course that’s a favorite among local and visiting disc golfers. Concrete tees, elevation changes, and a variety of holes offer something for everyone. The front nine is more technical, with the back nine being more wide open. And you can’t beat the beautiful surroundings. Golfers recommend using the UDisc app to navigate the course. Plan a fun trip to Des Moines, IA today!


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