Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Sculpture parks are always a roadside-attraction lover’s goldmine as they are often packed with weird and wonderful statues from a variety of artists around the world. As such, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa did not disappoint.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa
Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a 4.4 acre park located in downtown Des Moines. It is part of the Des Moines Art Center and opened in 2009. It opened with 24 world-class sculptures and continues to grow. In 2019, there were 27 sculptures in the park.

The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book - Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip! By Valerie Bromann

The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book

Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip!

Enjoy fun games and challenges to pass the time on your next road trip and have a keepsake to look back on for years to come with this entertaining must-have for your next vacation.

Explore a sample of the sculptures below and learn more about what you’ll find at the sculpture garden on their website.

Moonrise, east. january & Moonrise, east. august

Artist Ugo Rondinone created twelve Moonrise sculptures, one for every month of the year, to represent the relationship between humans and the moon. Two of these, January and August, are on display in Des Moines.

Moonrise, east. january by Ugo Rondinone | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa
Moonrise, east. august by Ugo Rondinone | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Nomade

This giant figure is made from a scrambling of white letters. The artist, Jaume Plensa used letters that on their own mean little but together form powerful words as a metaphor for human nature.

Nomade by artist Jaume Plensa | Figure made from white letters | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa
Nomade by artist Jaume Plensa | Figure made from white letters | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Untitled (Three Dancing Figures, version C)

This 1989 Keith Haring piece displays three bright and energetic figures dancing in a circle.

Keith Haring Three Dancing Figures 1989 | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa
Keith Haring Three Dancing Figures 1989 | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

T8

Mark di Suvero’s 1987 piece “T8” is a giant red sculpture wade from steel crossed I-beams. As you wander the park and see it from different vantage points the art changes shape.

Mark di Suvero T8 | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa
Mark di Suvero T8 | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

White Ghost

Yoshitomo Nara’s 2010 sculpture White Ghost depicts a glossy fiberglass child on a stone base.

White Ghost by Yoshitomo Nara | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Pumpkin

Yayoi Kusama’s 2014 sculpture “Pumpkin” looks like a pumpkin. The dot work on the metal squash is a trademark of the artist and represents infinity, repetition, and obsession. The gourd itself represents comfort, familiarity, and whimsy.

Pumpkin sculpture by Yayoi Kusama | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

LOVE

LOVE is the iconic artwork by artist Robert Indiana. This is one of many editions of this signature piece found around the world.

LOVE by Robert Indiana | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Back of Snowman (White and Black)

Artist Gary Hume presents here two glossy sculptures titles “Back of Snowman” in both black and white. The pieces are playful and interactive as there is no front to the snowman so as you walk around, there is no discernible front of back.

Back of Snowman (White and Black) by Gary Hume | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Ancient Forest

For “Ancient Forest” artist Deborah Butterfield used found materials to assemble a horse.

Deborah Butterfield Ancient Forest Horse | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Thinker on a Rock

In “Thinker on a Rock” artist Barry Flanagan does a play on Rodin’s “Thinker” replacing man with rabbit.

Barry Flanagan Thinker on a Rock Rabbit | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Spider

Artist Louise Bourgeois saw spiders as representing her mother, a weaver who was also sick. The arachnid reflected her fragility and strength in one.

Spider by Louise Bourgeois | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park isn’t the only thing to check out in downtown Des Moines. Be sure to see other Iowa roadside attractions and murals like Plantoir (the giant garden trowel) and the Cheers from Des Moines mural, all just down the block from the park!


The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Address: 1330 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Sunrise to midnight
Cost: Free


Pin this Iowa tourist attraction:

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a 4.4 acre park located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Opened in 2009, it is part of the Des Moines Art Center and should be on any list of things to do in Iowa. Check out Iowa roadside attractions and stop at this travel destination on your road trip or vacation.
#IowaRoadsideAttractions #RoadsideAttractions #RoadsideAttraction #RoadTrip #IowaRoadTrip #IowaThingsToDo #IowaRoadTripBucketLists #IowaBucketList #IowaRoadTripIdeas #IowaTravel
The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a 4.4 acre park located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Opened in 2009, it is part of the Des Moines Art Center and should be on any list of things to do in Iowa. Check out Iowa roadside attractions and stop at this travel destination on your road trip or vacation.

Valerie Bromann

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Valerie Bromann is a a website manager, content creator, and writer from Chicago, Illinois (currently living in Dallas, Texas). As an avid road tripper who has visited hundreds of roadside attractions, Val always pull over for a world’s largest thing. Founder of Silly America and author of The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book, she visits, photographs, and writes about all the weird tourist destinations she visits and offers road trip planning advice and inspiration based on her own travels so you can hit the road for yourself.

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Last modified: November 28, 2020
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The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book - Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip! By Valerie Bromann

The Road Trip Journal & Activity Book

Everything You Need to Have and Record an Epic Road Trip!

BY Valerie Bromann

Enjoy fun games and challenges to pass the time on your next road trip and have a keepsake to look back on for years to come with this entertaining must-have for your next vacation.

The road trip you’ve been dreaming of starts here! Journal about your stops and get to know your fellow passengers with activities and exercises designed to pass the time and bring you closer together. Instead of “Are we there yet?” you’ll find yourself asking, “We’re there already?”. Complete with prompts you can turn to while driving between locations, this journal will one day be a memento of your life-changing trip.