Family Fun


Summer is full of family fun in the Cedar Valley (Cedar Falls & Waterloo, Iowa)

Check out these great ideas for Family Fun this summer!

There are so many places and events to enjoy, we can’t share them all here. View our Cedar Falls/Waterloo Visitors Guide online HERE to see a list of Things to Do (including Attractions, Amusements and Museums) and to find Sports & Recreation, including a list of city, county and state parks in Black Hawk County. You'lll also find many more events on our online calendar.  

For the kids, we’ve compiled a list of 2018 events and activities, amusements and camps. 

Events & Activities

Iowa Irish Fest is August 3-5, 2018Iowa Irish Fest
August 3-5

Lincoln Park area, Waterloo

The Family Fun & Learning Area of the festival is perfect for summer fun. Children ages 12 and under enter the festival for free with a paid adult admission. Kids can attend workshops, and enjoy games, activities and arts and crafts!  

13 The Musical, August 9-12, 2018 at the Oster Regent Theatre13 The Musical
August 9-12 

Oster Regent Theatre, Cedar Falls
7:30 pm 

The book by Dan Elish & Robert Horn is set to an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer, Jason Robert Brown.  

Enjoy Movies Under the Moon on select Fridays throughout the summer in Cedar FallsMovies Under the Moon
August 10 and 24

Overman Park, Cedar Falls
6:30 – 10:30 pm
Enjoy live, acoustic music and a family-friendly movie under the stars. Live music begins at 6:30 pm and the movie at dusk (around 9:00 pm). Bring blankets and chairs. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase and Bike Tech will have free, valet bicycle parking. Free admission.

Hartman Reserve Nature Center hosts Paddle in the Park, Big Woods Lake in Cedar Falls throughout the summerPaddle in the Park
August 3, 17 and 31, September 14

Big Woods Lake, Cedar Falls
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Join Hartman Reserve Nature Center at Big Woods Lake for some paddling by canoe or kayak! Hartman will provide the canoes, kayaks, life jackets (for all ages) and paddles on a first-come, first-served basis. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Questions? Visit their website HERE or contact 319-277-2187. Weather announcements will be posted on their Facebook page. Free.

Gran Fondo Cedar Valley & FondoFest is August 18, downtown Cedar FallsFondoFest
August 18 

Cedar Falls Downtown District
noon - 9:00 pm (KIDS' ACTIVTIES 4:00-7:00 pm)

FondoFest, a block party taking place after the Gran Fondo Cedar Valley races, will take place on Main Street in downtown Cedar Falls. Kids will enjoy face painting and balloon animals. Inflatables will also be available to enjoy for a small fee. Open to the public.  

Mayor's Fireworks Labor Kay Kickoff August 31, 2018, at the RiverLoop Amphitheatre in WaterlooMayor's Fireworks Labor Day Kickoff
August 31

RiverLoop Amphitheatre, Waterloo
5:30 pm -midnight

Friday evening, enjoy RiverLoop Rhythms Uniphonics followed by the lighted boat parade at 9:30 and fireworks over the river after at approximately 10:00pm. From 10:30-midnight, enjoy live music from Sugarfoot. Free and open to the public.



Adrenaline X Laser TagAdrenaline X Laser Tag

Their indoor, laser tag facility is open five days week, Wednesday – Sunday. Choose a rookie course (for new or younger players) or a pro course. The pro course is 6,000 square feet and players are equipped with MP-5 taggers.

NOTE: Adrenaline X will be closing the first week in August. We'll let if we hear they'll relocate.  

Waterloo Bucks baseball games at Riverfront Stadium in WaterlooWaterloo Bucks Baseball

The family will find lots of fun throughout the season at Riverfront Stadium, home to the Waterloo Bucks! In addition to special nights at the ballpark, the stadium hosts family movie nights and a Family Fun Night  on July 3! 

Cedar Falls Public Library offers many events and activities for kids and teensCedar Falls Public Library

Children and teens will find activities all summer at the library. Board Game Saturdays, Teen Gaming, Library Dance Party, Happy Faces Entertainment, an Insect Zoo and so much more! Children age 10 and under must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Check out all their events for kids and teens in the current newsletter HERE  or visit their online calendar HERE.      

Story time at the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Waterloo Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Enjoy Summer Storytime at the arboretum in Waterloo. There will be a variety of story time topics this summer with Retrieving Freedom, Girl Scouts, Black Hawk Rehabilitation and the Tallgrass Prairie Center. Admission to the 40-acre arboretum and botanic gardens is $5/adult and $2/child (ages 5-17). Children age 4 and younger enter free.    

Bike and hike Cedar Valley Trails! Cedar Valley Trails

Pack a lunch and enjoy a family outing on the Cedar Valley Trails. The Cedar Valley is home to more than 100 miles of paved trails. Venture out to Prairie Lakes and search for Prairie Critter sculptures, work out at a Fitness Zone or just enjoy the view! 

Get Air Trampoline ParkGet Air Trampoline Park

This trampoline park features wall-to-wall trampolines, dodgeball courts, basketball dunk lanes and an obstacle course! Ask about toddler times! 

Grout Museum District in WaterlooGrout Museum District

The District consists of the Grout Museum of History & Science, Bluedorn Science Imaginarium, Rensselaer Russell House Museum, Snowden House and the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. In addition to their exhibitions, The District hosts many events throughout the year for kids such as themed tea parties, star parties and Weekly Wonders. Visit their website for information about admission fees. They also have summer camps! 

Hatchlings & Hens in the downtown district has vintage, decor and items for toddlers as well as workshops in the sturdio! Hatchlings & Hens

This retail shop in the downtown district of Cedar Falls offers vintage, décor and items for the little ones. They even have a creative space for parties, Toddler Tuesdays and workshops like Mom & Me Learn to Sew!

John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum in WaterlooJohn Deere Tractor & Engine Museum

Experience the evolution of the John Deere tractor and engine at their museum and visit their 100th anniversary celebration June 15-16 in Waterloo. The museum has free admission and is open seven days a week!  

Lost Island Waterpark in WaterlooLost Island Waterpark

Enjoy go karts, miniature golf or the waterpark featuring nine major water slides, Maizie the Mermaid, Blue Iguana Lagoon, Tahiti Village and Starfish Cove for the little ones! Admission prices vary depending on the attraction.    (photo credit: Lost Island) 

Palmer's Family FunPalmer's Family Fun

Could it be summer without mini golf? What about go-karts, a jumping pillow and laser tag? We don't think so and Palmer's provides fun, safe entertainment for the entire family. They even have a batting cage, driving range and archery tag! Prices vary so be sure to visit their website for individual prices and packages.    

The Falls Aquatic Center in Cedar FallsThe Falls Aquatic Center

The Falls is an affordable and fun way to stay cool this summer! Enjoy the Lazy River, the Red Drop Slide at Rock Falls, tube and raft slides at Adventure Falls and the Dump Bucket at Safari Falls for only $7 (day-pass).   

Victorian Home and Ice House Museum in Cedar Falls Victorian Home & Carriage House Museum and Ice House Museum

Kids of all ages will enjoy their current exhibit, “Bear Whistles, Butter Churns & Beyond: Ceramics in Cedar Falls” at the Victorian Home. Let the kids play in the reading loft in the Kids’ Corner, complete scavenger hunts and see the William Lenoir 0 Scale train layout. Or, visit the Ice House Museum, the “coolest” museum in Iowa! Admission to the Victorian Home is free and admission to the Ice House is $5/person (children 12 and under enter free).         

Waterhawks Ski ShowsWaterhawks Ski Shows

The Waterhawks are celebrating 60 years of show skiing! This nationally ranked competitive waterski team performs at Eagle Lake in Evansdale throughout the summer. Learn more about the team and their performances on their website!   (photo credit: Waterhawks)

The Waterloo Center for the Arts and the Phelps Youth Pavilion in WaterlooWaterloo Center for the Arts | Phelps Youth Pavilion

“The Waterloo Center for the Arts stimulates inquiry, provokes dialogue and connects people through the arts.” The Phelps Youth Pavilion is “where art launches a world of wonder, discovery and learning. Kids and families will have fun exploring art and culture with two levels of interactive exhibits…”  Phelps Youth Pavilion admission is $5/person.   


Hartman Reserve Nature Center summer campsHartman Reserve Nature Center

Wow! Hartman Reserve Nature Center and Black Hawk County Parks are offering Adventure Day Camps, Summer Day Camps AND Summer Camps for the kids! At Adventure Day Camps, visit a state park. Summer Day Camps include Gnomes on the Loose, Wild Kratts Day Camp and Junktastic Games (to name a few). A few of the Summer Camps (two, three and five-day camps) include Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Wacky Water. Click HERE to see all the camps and fees.  

Summer Art Camps at the Hearst Center for the ArtsHearst Center for the Arts

It’s time for Summer Art Camps! A series of camps will take place throughout the summer and the kids have plenty to choose from. To see the variety of camps and workshops for ages 5-12, including Ancient Archeology Camp, Art Around the World, Big Junk, Earth, Get Messy and Myths & Legends, click HERE and visit the links under Classes and under Workshops. Click HERE to sign up for a camp (you may need to create a password). Scroll down to Hearst Summer Camps and click Register.  

Grout Museum District - summer campsGrout Museum District

June and July are filled with day camps for kids! Does Astronaut Training (ages 6-14), Beginner Rocket Camp (6-10 years of age), Historical Hollywood, Silent Stars, Historical Detective or Advanced Rockets sound interesting? Visit their calendar of events to find camp costs and age ranges. Visit their summer newsletter to view all the summer excitement! 

Tech Camps at Hawkeye Community College in WaterlooHawkeye Community College

Hawkeye Community College is hosting several tech camps that include Make Your Own 3D Video Game, Code Breakers, Virtual Reality and Minecraft Designers for ages 8-11 and ages 11-14. Click HERE to see the full list and to register. 

Summer camps at the University of Northern IowaUniversity of Northern Iowa

Camps Galore! There are 9 camps available for elementary grades, 13 camps for middle school students and 11 camps for high school students. Exploring the Tallgrass Prairie, Camp Musicmania, Introduction to Robotics, WRC Panther Camp, Panther Park 3D, Lights and Sturgis Youth Theatre are just a few of the camps available! Click HERE to see the full list and to register.   


And that's not the only fun to be had this summer! Parents, you can discover your creative sideenjoy a quiet morning with a friend at a local coffee shopshop downtown and visit the Ice House Museum. There’s a lot going on in the Cedar Valley! 

Need more ideas? Stop by the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 6510 Hudson Road and visit with staff and pick up a few brochures or contact us at 800-845-1955 (319-268-4266).