The Magnolia Park area of Des Moines is, indeed, an area of parks. Small ranch homes and split-levels nestle among large shade trees. Sidewalks give the neighborhood a welcoming, comfortable feel.
Magnolia Park is bordered by Watrous Avenue, South East 5th Street, East McKinley Avenue, and South Union Street. It is convenient to neighborhood and franchise restaurants, major retailers, and an abundance of parks and recreational areas.
Several colleges and universities are nearby. The American Institute of Business, just to the northwest, offers associate degrees. Other nearby colleges are Mercy College-Health Sciences, Upper Iowa University, and Drake University.
Gray’s Lake is a popular nearby park, especially busy during the summer months. It’s a great place to take canoe or sailing lessons, hike the trails, or rent a bike, all with the cityscape in the background.
A larger recreational area is just northwest, 3,500-acre Saylorville Lake and Big Creek State Park. Along with boating and fishing, there is a public hunting area. Visitors can take the 26-mile paved trail from the lake to downtown or bike the 91-mile trail that connects Big Creek to other state parks. There are 11 miles of snowmobile trails as well. The area is a favorite of cross-country skiers.
Shopping is not far away. Southridge Mall features major retailers and a large grocery store. There are several Wal-Mart Supercenters, the closest being just east of Magnolia Park.
Both public and private golf courses are a short drive south. The A. H. Blank Municipal Course is one favorite. Wakonda Country Club is the closest private club. Disc-golf fans will enjoy Ewing Park, with one of the most challenging courses around.
The historic district is to the north of the Magnolia Park community and has many homes and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.