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An abundance of all-ages fun is one reason Forbes magazine named Grand Rapids the best place to raise a family. Check out the events and attractions below - and be sure to visit our holiday page for seasonal festivities!
Adventures in Balance at Grand Rapids Children's Museum puts young children's balancing skills to the test as they journey through an Adventure Jungle complete with bubbling lava pit, raging river and more. November 11 - January 18.
The Snowman Shuffle is a quarter-mile fun run for kids 12 and under, held in conjunction with The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 5K race around downtown Grand Rapids. Fun holiday costumes are encouraged! December 13.
The Kids & Family Expo at downtown's DeVos Place encourages families to come play, celebrate, get active, explore, build, learn and discover. January 24.
‘Tis the season for Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle - the outdoor rink in the heart of downtown. Admission is just $1 for kids 17 and under, and skate rentals are free with a photo ID.
Cannonsburg Ski Area and Pando Park, both within 15 minutes of downtown, offer downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing and snowboarding. Cannonsburg's terrain park include more than 80 jibs and half a dozen jumps, while Pando has a Riglet Park specially created to teach kids how to snowboard.
Tackle some of the area's best sledding hills:
If the weather outside is frightful, pack up the kids and head to any of these indoor fun parks:
Both the Grand Rapids Drive, an NBA affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, and the Grand Rapids Griffins, primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, offer lots of family-friendly promotions throughout their winter seasons.
The Gymnastics On The Grand Invitational brings more than 2,000 young gymnasts from around the Midwest, both boys and girls, to town or a USA Gymnastics-sanctioned event. Come cheer on the athletes! December 5-7.
The Harlem Globetrotters bring their ball-handling wizardry to Van Andel Arena, in a match against the Washington Generals - the last team to ever beat the Globetrotters. January 25.
The Winter 2015 State Games of Michigan is an Olympics-style event featuring 2,000+ Michigan athletes participating in a gala Opening Ceremonies and competing in 20 events. February 20-22.
Taking the Seas: The Rise of the American Aircraft Carrier is a multimedia exploration of this unique ship, from its beginnings at the end of World War I to the newest supercarrier, the USS Gerald R Ford. At Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum through June 1, 2015.
Real Pirates at Grand Rapids Public Museum tells the story of the first authenticated shipwreck in U.S. waters, with more than 150 authentic artifacts - treasure, weaponry, personal items and more. Through April 19.
Blandford Nature Center offers two camps for kids: Session 1 (Native American Winter Adventure & Snow Day Fun) is December 22-23; Session 2 (Cool Critters & Winter Fort Building) is December 29-30.
The 23rd Annual West Side Christian Sportscard Show features 40 vendor tables plus an appearance by former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dave Rozema. Free admission - and free first autograph from Dave! January 1.
Roger B. Chafee Planetarium hosts four family-friendly shows: Under Scorching Skies and SpacePark360:Infinity are great for all ages; The Little Star That Could is best for ages 8 and under; and Violent Universe is geared at ages 10 and above.
Mary Poppins drops in on Grand Rapids Civic Theatre for a month of supercalifragilistic musical fun. November 14 - December 14.
Broadway Grand Rapids presents Elf, a riotous musical based on the Will Ferrell film. November 28-30.
Winter Jam 2015 Tour Spectacular is a gathering of Christian music's biggest names, including Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli and more. At Van Andel Arena January 4.
Broadway Grand Rapids presents Annie - "one of the best family musicals ever penned," according to the Chicago Tribune. January 13-18.
Grand Rapids Symphony teams with the Grand Rapids Ballet to perform Little Red Riding Hood, ideal for young audiences. January 31.
Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure is a never-before seen show featuring characters from Disney Junior's hit series, Sofia the First and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. At DeVos Performance Hall, February 22.
Disney on Ice: Passport to Adventure is a journey to the magical worlds of Disney's The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Lilo & Stitch, featuring all your favorite Disney characters. February 26-March 1.
Re-envisioning the Nutcracker at Grand Rapids Art Museum (November 20 - January 11) is a look at the creative process behind Grand Rapids Ballet's brand-new production of The Nutracker (December 12-14 & 19-21).Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park features 300,000 lights, 40+ international trees and displays, horse-drawn carriage rides, a magical railway garden, and more. November 25 - January 4.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park also hosts these holiday events:
Winter Art Camp at Grand Rapids Art Museum is a two-day workshop in which campers will rewire, recreate and perform their own version of The Nutcracker. January 2-3.
Drop-In: Family Saturdays at Grand Rapids Art Museum let children and families explore hands-on art-making activities. Every Saturday from 1 pm - 4 pm.
Grand Rapids Children's Museum provides Open Paint time every other Tuesday from 2 pm - 4 pm.
For more Family Playcation tips, check out GR City Twist. It gives you planning ideas based on your specified interests - choose from Family Fun, Local Gems, Outdoor Explorer, Sports Fan and 14 more!
Enjoy a fabulous night out and a relaxing morning in at the JW. Rates starting at $199 plus tax for Standard room. Breakfast Package includes: Deluxe overnight accommodations (Friday or Saturday night) Complimentary self-parking Breakfast for two adults and two children at six.one.six Contact us for reservations.
Includes overnight accommodations, a $25.00 Old Chicago Certificate, complimentary round trip shuttle transportation, and two adult passes to Frederik Meijer Gardens (children’s passes available at ticket counter at gardens) starting at $139.00.
Come visit one of Grand Rapids most prized attractions. The Frederik Meijer Gardens is ready for you to come and explore it. Whether traveling alone or with your family the Frederik Meijer Gardens will keep your day packed full of adventures. Attractions such as the Children's Garden, Tropical Conservatory, Arid Garden or the Carnivorous Plant House are just a few stops in your day. Visiting relatives during the holidays? Don't miss out on the "Christmas and Holidays Traditions around the World". You and your family will enjoy the spirit of the season while taking a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, hopping on the trolley or riding on the train around the Railway Garden, the choice is yours! This package includes two tickets to the Gardens ($24 value), and we are just a mile down the road from the Gardens.
Package Includes one night's accommodations in a studio/one bedroom/two bedroom suites, deluxe hot breakfast buffet each morning, and wireless internet access and 1 $25 gas card
Includes deluxe overnight accommodations for up to four people, four Castaway Bay wristbands, and a Craig’s Cruisers entertainment voucher that includes four passes to Craig’s Incredible Pizza Buffet, Craig’s Cruisers activity passes and 20 Game Credits, starting at $139.00.
Includes ten Castaway Bay wrist bands, two large one-topping pizzas, three 2-liter Pepsi products, $10 in game tokens, all for $179.00 + tax. (package valid Sundays only) Call hotel directly for booking - (616) 949-9222
Package includes the free hot express start breakfast in the morning and 2 tickets to Meijer Gardens. More tickets can be bought at the gardens. The hotel also has an indoor pool and spa. Rates vary depending on room type and start $129.99 and up plus tax.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum has many full time exhibits and special exhibits that will intrigue everyone. Stop by and see the history of furniture city, stroll the old streets of Grand Rapids, or go on a scavenger hunt through the hallways. You can also take a ride on a carousel from 1928 above the Grand River. Offer includes: General admission to the Grand Rapids Public Museum for up to four guests, 2 adults and 2 children, Four carousel rides, 10% off total purchases at the museum cafe and curiosity shop, and enjoy our new bedding package, complimentary wireless internet, and complimentary hot breakfast to get your day started right.
Have some old fashioned fun at the Public Museum! Offer includes: General admission to the Grand Rapids Public Museum for up to four guests Four carousel rides 10% off total purchases at the museum cafe and curiosity shop Swimming in our indoor pool after a long day of fun Daily breakfast, featuring waffles with syrup and whipped cream Terms and Conditions Guests will receive the Grand Rapids Public Museum package voucher at check-in.
Includes overnight accommodations in a standard king or two double, a 2-liter bottle Pepsi product, one large one-topping pizza, and four Castaway Bay passes, starting at $119.00.