All About the 515 – Making IBC 2018 a Family Vacation

[IMAGE: A large, bright aqua rectangle fills the majority of the square image. The word “GO!” is in white above woven lines of green, yellow, orange and light aqua crossing on the left. The orange stripe contains the IBC logo – the letters iBC with the “i” appearing to wear an aqua sling with a baby in it – and the words “be THERE. be YOU. IbC. July 19-22, 2018, Des Moines, Iowa. Three horizontal photos run along the bottom of the square. The first shows part of the Des Moines skyline with a blue, yellow and red sculpture from the Des Moines sculpture park in the foreground. The other two photos are from IBC 2016 in Atlanta, GA – a man wraps a demo doll on his back with a blue woven wrap. Another figure is visible in the background, also back wrapping a child. The third photo in the stripe is of five women in a line. They are all looking to the right of the frame. The first four women are “contestants” in a babywearing trivia game which I would prefer if it would be a video game, the fifth woman is standing on a stage and “hosting” the game. Des Moines photo courtesy of Catch Des Moines (]

With family-friendly entertainment, a world-class venue and hassle free travel, Des Moines is an ideal location for IBC 2018 AND your family’s summer vacation!

Des Moines is an easy drive from five major metropolitan areas — Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Omaha — and an easier-than-you-think flight from pretty much anywhere else. Currently there are 21 US cities with non-stop flights to Des Moines.

Explore Des Moines with your whole family, then take time to attend sessions with baby in tow or at available childcare on site. Babywearers from all over the world will be taking over the Iowa Events Center ( in downtown Des Moines. The IEC is within walking distance of interesting shops to visit, food to eat, and things to see. We’ve compiled a list of must dos to add to your family vacation itinerary! With Explore & Develop‘s help of course!


How to reach Des Moines

  • Planes- direct flights from 21 cities using airport code DES. The airport is located approximately 10 minutes from downtown Des Moines by car. If you are staying at one of the downtown hotels, they provide free shuttles from the airport to their location.  Uber, Lyft, Taxi, and Bus are also available.  We are working with the hotels we have roomed blocked at to provide car seats in their shuttles, although we can’t guarantee availability so plan accordingly.
  • Trains- The nearest Amtrack station is in Osceola, IA with bussing options into Des Moines.
  • Automobiles- Major cities within a 6 hour drive of Des Moines: Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Minneapolis/St.Paul

Where to stay- Individual attendees are responsible for booking their own rooms directly through the hotel booking desk (phone numbers below). Mention IBC to receive group rates.

  • Comfort Inn & Suites Event Center

929 3rd Street

Des Moines, IA, 50309

(515) 282-5251

$140 for King or double Queen rooms, up to 4 people

$170 for Suites up to 4 people.

All rooms have a mini fridge.

  • Hyatt Place Downtown Des Moines

418 6th Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa, 50309

(515) 282 5555

$168 for King or double Queen rooms

​All rooms have a mini fridge

Check out its beautiful website created by the best wholesale web design agency.


Ticketed Attractions:

  1. ICubs minor league baseball games. Featuring a huge play area for bigger kids, fountain for people of all ages to play in. ICubs tickets.
  2. Science center. Science-focused interactive galleries & learning labs plus a planetarium & IMAX cinema. Fun toddler area. Science Center tickets.
  3. Blank Park Zoo. Add a zoo day trip on to your conference ticket when you register for IBC. On Friday, July 20th, we’ll take a bus to the zoo for the day. Lunch is on your own at the zoo, or you may order a boxed lunch with more allergy-friendly options from the conference to take with! Trip includes bus to and from the zoo and zoo admission. Trip will run from approx 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register here!
  4. Botanical Gardens. Toddlers will love the waterfalls and fish. Featuring a huge area to run around outside, waterfall to go behind or climb steps to the top. Storytime and craft on Friday mornings is an added bonus. Botanical Garden tickets.
  5. Adventureland amusement park/waterpark. Bernie’s Barnyard playground has two new rides coming for 2018. Tickets.
  6. Reiman gardens (Ames- 30- 45 minute drive) Beautiful indoor and outdoor garden displays, indoor butterfly garden. Kids area with lots to explore. Tickets.
  7. Iowa Speedway (30-45 minute drive). Tickets.

Outdoors & Free Activities:

  1. Des Moines public library has toddler storytime and art outside on Friday mornings and Better Homes & Gardens Meredith test gardens open Fridays noon-2 p.m.
  2. Big Creek Marina beach features various water activities and a huge wooden playground.
  3. Grays Lake trail around the lake and over a long bridge, beach, playground, paddle boat rentals for a small fee.
  4. Union Park Heritage playground and carousel for a small fee.
  5. Jester Park natural playscape, see buffalo and elk, hiking trails
  6. Farmers Market on Saturday
  7. Free trolley through downtown. Hop off the trolley and enjoy the Pappajohn Sculpture Park or get up close and personal with a woolly mammoth at the Historical Museum of Iowa.


  1. Valley junction– antiques, boutiques
  2. West End Salvage– coffee shop, unique salvaged items and antiques. Had a show on HGTV
  3. East Village – antiques, boutiques, specialty shops, Zombie Burger restaurant, Raygun

Looking for even more ideas? Check here: