Animal Rescue League of Iowa – Des Moines

Front of main building for The Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Place/Event: Animal Rescue League of Iowa
Location: 5452 N.E. 22nd St, Des Moines, IA 50313
Cost: Minimal fee for tour (we paid $1 per person)
Grade/age range: 7 years and older – no exceptions
Group size: Up to 15 people in one group. More than that and the group is split.
Hands-on: No
Stroller friendly: No (because children younger then 7 years old are not allowed) but the tour is handicap accessible.
Bathrooms: Yes

We drive by the ARL every week and have even stopped briefly to drop off donations, but I could never have guessed how large the ARL is or understand all they do. After the tour, I am truly impressed.

I was excited to take my kids on this field trip because my daughter loves animals! I expected a short tour through the main adoption area and a pitch to get my kids to beg for adopting a cat. We even had a very long discussion about the fact that we would NOT be coming home with any new pets.

Well, I was blow away. First, there was never any mention of adopting new pets. Our tour guide was kind, thoughtful and great with the students.

Trou group walking down the hall at The Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

The Tour

Our tour started off going ‘behind the scenes’ into the Staff Only areas. Photography was not allowed in this area.

We peeked into their medical clinic area and talked about responsible pet ownership. Did you know they have veterinary services for all pet owners?  

The laundry room was fascinating…yep! Somebody has to wash all those doggy blankets. Wish we could show pictures – but you’ll just have to schedule a tour for yourselves! 🙂

The Call Center is “where the magic happens” and does more then just handling lost animal reports. The ARL has resources to offer pet owners to help them when trouble arises so that they can keep their pets in their own homes.

There is a large focus on education at the ARL. They offer programs for schools, private pet owners and more! I would encourage anyone who is having trouble with a pet to visit with the fine folks at the ARL.

Wall and door going into educational classroom in The Animal Rescue League of Iowa building


On our tour we learned about the process of how they transition an animal through their facility to be ready for adoption. They have on average 100-200 cats that need to be adopted. The new building with the red front will soon open as a special place just for cats.

Trou group in the outdoor kennal area at The Animal Rescue League of Iowa .


The ARL has a foster care program set up to help care for the animals while they wait for adoption. I never thought about being a foster provider for an animal. That’s a really neat idea! This board shows the photos of cats who are currently in foster homes waiting to be adopted.

Foster home information board on the wall of The Animal Rescue League of Iowa building.


A big highlight for some of the kids was learning that at age ten they can volunteer (with their parents) at the ARL… I get the feeling we might be coming back a lot. 🙂

Who would have guess that the dogs listen to books on tape because certain voices help to calm them down? Harry Potter happens to be a canine favorite.

Students on a fieldtrip at The Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Thanks ARL

A BIG THANKS to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and all you DO!!!

If you are looking for unique gifts for pets or owners, check out the Animal House Store! We saw a few people shopping with their pets.

Animal House Store inside The Animal Rescue League of Iowa building.


If you are looking for more ways to enjoy animals, Visit an Iowa Farm!


Students ages 7+ can go behind the scenes at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and learn how an animal goes through the adoption process!

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