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Grand Rapids Insider

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Photo Courtesy of Lyndsay Israel

Pick Your Patio: Grand Rapids Offers Plenty of Outdoor Eating Spaces!

Everyone knows that summer flies by, so make sure you make it count.  Move the eating, drinking and being merry to a patio near you!  Recently, the Michigan laws regarding patio construction have been...more

Posted July 3, 2014

 

Family Playcations

 
4th of July Fireworks Spectacle in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is Booming! Fireworks and More for the Fourth of July

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS AROUND GRAND RAPIDS West Michigan is brimming with options when it comes to Fourth of July Fun! Local communities are going all out with fireworks, festivals and parades th...more

Posted June 19, 2014
 FMG family
 Kids
 Zoo

Grand Rapids is the best place in America to raise a family, says Forbes magazine. Here are some reasons why!

Summer Fairs & Festivals

Ionia Free Fair delivers a wide variety of entertainment, including concerts, a monster truck throwdown, motorcross, tractor pulls and a rodeo as well as farm animals, carnival games and thrill rides. July 17-26.

The Byron Days Festival is a weekend of family fun, food and entertainment, including a huge parade, softball tournament, 5K race/walk and Sunday morning community service. July 25-27.

Cruizin the Calder features 100s of hot rods, muscle cars, custom trucks and racecars gathered in downtown's Calder Plaza lot in advance of a firetruck-led cruise through town. July 26.

The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival is 10 days of family activities and fun - parades, fireworks, entertainment, a carnival, ship tours and more - in honor of the US Coast Guard. July 25- August 3, with special Kids Day events on July 29 from 10 am to 2 pm.

The Kent County Youth Fair is a 4-H event complete with animals, contests, demonstrations, carnival rides and entertainment. August 4 - 9.

The 28th Street Metro Cruise features "15 miles of cool cars" - thousands of beautifully restored vehicles from all eras. Food vendors and interactive events, too! August 22-23.

Active Fun

Break out the swimsuits and head to one of our indoor water parks. Castaway Bay at Ramada Plaza Hotel features a three-story, 180-foot waterslide and a relaxing spa. The Big Dip at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites South also has a three-story waterslide plus activity, lap and vortex pools.

Craig's Cruisers Family Fun Center offers lots of indoor adventures, including go-karts, laser tag, bumper cars, high ropes and more.

Hit the lanes for a few games of family bowling at Fairlanes Family Entertainment Center (southwest corner), Westgate Bowling Center (northwest) or Wengers Bowling Center (northwest).

Just Fort Fun! at Grand Rapids Children's Museum lets kids create cozy, creative sculptures out of chairs, cushions, blankets, broom handless, and more. Through Sept. 14.

The Chemical Bank 5K Run/Walk includes a Kid's Fun Run of one-half mile. All Fun Run participants receive a medal! July 26.

Fun in the Sun Kids Run at Muskegon County Fairgrounds is a one-mile run/walk for kids 10 years old and younger. Parents may accompany their children. July 26.

The Kids Triathlon at Millennium Park includes two age categories: 7-10 (100-meter swim, 2-mile bike ride, 1-mile run) and 11-14 (200-meter swim, 5-mile bike ride, 2-mile run). August 1.

The Color Run 5K - aka The Happiest 5K on the Planet - is a non-competitive, untimed run in which runners and walkers are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. All participants must start the race wearing a white shirt. August 3.

The Eat Dirt Kid's Mini Mud is a 1.5-mile course in and around muddy obstacles. For ages 6-12. Ages 13 and older can take part in the full 5K course. August 23.

The Grand River Run includes a 1.5-mile family-friendly run/walk on an all-paved loop that takes runners out along the scenic Grand Rivers and back to the Roselle Park Fall River Festival, complete with live music, youth crafts and activities, and more. September 27.

Sports Fan Fun

WhitecapsThe Detroit Tigers affiliate, West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team finished the first half of the 2014 season at the top of their division. Catch a game before the regular season ends on September 1.

Watch athletes from around the world compete for the title "King of the Wake" as the Pro Wakeboard Tour comes to Millennium Park August 15-16.

Exploration Fun

Bring the kids to a family farm to see where their food comes from. Select farms offer u-pick of various fruits in season, including strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins.

Kids can learn to assemble fresh fruits, veggies and other ingredients into delectable family dishes at Downtown Market cooking classes.

The Children's Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park offers special summer activities every day, from Weaving Tales on Monday to Science Sundays. Through August 30.

Lego SmallThe new Crawford Tigers of the Realm exhibit at John Ball Zoo debuted in June, adding three tigers to the 2,000+ animals already in residence. The Zoo also offers a children's petting zoo, funicular ride, sky trail ropes course and four-story zip line. Two for one admission from 5:30 pm - 8 pm on August 19.

Dream It, Build It at Grand Rapids Public Museum features 13 LEGO® brick recreations of famous architectural sites. Kids can create their own brick masterpieces as part of the experience.

The Mini Maker Faire at Grand Rapids Public Museum is a family-friendly celebration featuring rockets and robots, DIY science and technology, alternative energy, bicycles, handmade crafts, local food and more. August 30-31.

Open Paint at Grand Rapids Children's Museum offers kids the opportunity to create their own artistic masterpieces. Every other Tuesdays from 2 pm - 4 pm.

Drop In: Family Saturdays at Grand Rapids Art Museum offer hands-on art-making activities, interactive learning spaces, and more. Every Saturday from 1-4 pm.

Explore the wildlife trails, farm center and historic village at Blandford Nature Center. Summer is jam-packed with fun events and activities.

Kent County Recycling and Education Center presents a free family activity every week. Make crafts out of recycled goods and watch a family-friendly movies. Mondays through August 18.

Entertainment Fun

Watch Movies in the Park under the stars alongside downtown's Grand River is a fun activity for the families with older kids. This year's lineup includes:
Rocky Horror Picture Show (R) - July 25
Top Gun (PG) - August 8
• Double Feature: Jurassic Park (PG) and a Viewer's Choice movie - August 22

Cinderella! Cinderella! At Master Arts Theatre is a fun new take on the classic tale. July 18-26.

The Piano Cottage Rocks Concert at Wealthy Theatre brings together West Michigan's top young musicians, ages 8-16, to perform "dangerously fun music" with full band backup and student chorus. July 24.

Katy PerryGrand Rapids Civic Theatre presents two special children's shows from July 25 - August 3:
Disney's Camp Rock: The Musical is based on the hit Disney Channel movies.
The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe is a dramatic adaption of the beloved book.

Teen-favorite Katy Perry brings her "Prismatic World Tour" at Van Andel Arena August 10.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built to Amaze!, featuring magnificent elephants, ferocious tigers, astonishing acrobats, awe-inspiring aerialists and more. September 18 - 21. 

Summer Camp Fun

Plan your vacation to coincide with a summer camp tailored to your child's interests. See what's on the schedule at these organizations:

ArtPrizeArtPrize

Make plans now to attend ArtPrize 2014, the world's richest, most radically open art competition. Now in its sixth year, ArtPrize brings 1,500+ artists and 400,000+ visitors to downtown Grand Rapids for 19 days of art everywhere. It's great fun for all ages - and everyone over 16 years of age can vote to determine the contest winners! September 24 - October 12.

For more Family Playcation tips, check out GR City Twist. It gives you planning ideas based on your specified interests - choose from Family Friendly, Art Enthusiast, Chic Shopper, Fresh Foodie and 14 more!

    Hotel Package

    Breakfast Package

    Always Available
    JW Marriott Grand Rapids

    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.

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly

    Culture Grand Rapids

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Residence Inn Grand Rapids Airport

    Receive two culture passes with exclusive discounts to Grand Rapids events and a bottle of wine to be enjoyed in our lounge or your spacious suite.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    Culture Pass

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

    Includes a $40 breakfast credit, self or valet parking at the hotel, One Culture Pass Grand Rapids, and a 20% discount to Plaza Essentials and the Plaza Men's Store.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    Culture Pass GR

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

    Includes one Culture Pass GR, hot breakfast for 2 adults and children 12 and under registered to the same room and self or valet parking at the hotel.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website
    Booking Code
    ES2

    Culture Pass GR Package

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

    Includes a $40 gift card for breakfast, self or valet parking at the hotel, one Culture Pass Grand Rapids that gives you discounts to many of the areas top attractions, a 20% discount at Plaza Essentials and Plaza Men's Store and use of the Plaza Fitness Center

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly

    Culture Pass GR Package

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Prince Conference Center at Calvin College

    Experience the culture of Grand Rapids! Reserve a one night stay in a king or two queens and enjoy the complimentary breakfast, wireless internet, peaceful surroundings, and close distance to all of the Grand Rapids Culture.

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly

    Culture Pass Grand Rapids

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Riverfront Hotel-Grand Rapids

    Package Includes: Weekday $119.00 Weekend $139.00 Room with a King bed of 2 Double beds with a River view (based on availability) Free breakfast vouchers for up to 2 adults and 2 children in The Landing Restaurant. One Complimentary Culture Pass Grand Rapids; giving discounts and special offers from 24 local organizations. Complimentary late check out up to 1:00 pm.

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly

    Culture Pass Grand Rapids Package

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Country Inn & Suites East Beltline

    Included is our hot and cold deluxe breakfast buffet, two tickets to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one Culture Pass with discounts to over 20 cultural locations in and around Grand Rapids, complimentary parking, and wireless internet. Package starts at $129.99 p/tax.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website
    Booking Code
    CULTURE

    Frederik Meijer Gardens Package

    Always Available
    Ramada Plaza Hotel

    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.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    Frederik Meijer Gardens Package

    November 01, 2011 – November 01, 2023
    Prince Conference Center at Calvin College

    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.

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly

    Get Cultured in Grand Rapids

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Homewood Suites by Hilton

    Get Cultured in Grand Rapids! Included in this package are overnight accommodations at our newly renovated upscale extended stay hotel, hot breakfast buffet daily, dinner Monday thru Thursday, Buy One-Get One Free pass from Fredrik Meijer Gardens and discount passes to over 20 area non-profit arts and cultural organizations.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    Get-A-Way & Play

    Always Available
    Ramada Plaza Hotel

    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.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    Got Culture Package

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    JW Marriott Grand Rapids

    Discover Grand Rapids Play tourist. Take in all the well-known and little-known sights while you soak up local culture. Includes all of the following: - Deluxe Accommodations (1 King or 2 Queen Beds) - One Culture Pass Grand Rapids featuring promotions and discounts at many area attractions (Visit www.culturepassgr.com for offer details) - Breakfast buffet for two adults and two children 12 years of age and under registered in the same room in Six One Six (Not valid for a la carte or In-Room Dining) - Self parking for one vehicle (USD16.00 value)

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website
    Booking Code
    CUE

    Got Culture Package

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    JW Marriott Grand Rapids

    Includes one Culture Pass GR, breakfast buffet in six.one.six for 2 adults and children 12 and under registered to the same room and self parking in the hotel ramp.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website
    Booking Code
    ES2

    Grand Rapids Culture Pass Package

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Hyatt Place Grand Rapids - South

    Enjoy one Culture Pass per stay, per guestroom. Valid for special offers with a number of participating venues in downtown Grand Rapids. For a current list of venues visit www.culturepassgr.com. Call to Book Now! 616-724-1234 ext. 0 or 1-888-HYATT-HP

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    Island Birthday Party Package

    Always Available
    Ramada Plaza Hotel

    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

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly

    Lego Dream It Build It

    March 01, 2014 – August 30, 2014
    Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown

    The Lego Dream It Build It Exhibit is coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum and with our package you can enjoy a day full of fun with the family! Our package includes room accommodations, 2 adult 2 children general admissions to the Museum plus the Lego Exhibit, 20 USD credit at our delicious Pearl Street Grill Restaurant or Lounge, 4 Carousel tokens and 10% off dis count in the Museum Cafe and Curiosity Shop.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website
    Booking Code
    IJHD3

    Lego Dream It Build It

    March 01, 2014 – August 30, 2014
    Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown

    The Lego Dream It Build It Exhibit is coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum and with our package you can enjoy a day full of fun with the family! Our package includes room accommodations, 2 adult 2 children general admissions to the Museum plus the Lego Exhibit, 20 USD credit at our delicious Pearl Street Grill Restaurant or Lounge, 4 Carousel tokens and 10% off dis count in the Museum Cafe and Curiosity Shop.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website
    Booking Code
    IJHD3

    Meijer Gardens

    Always Available
    Holiday Inn Express Grand Rapids Southwest

    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.

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly
    Booking Code
    Meijer Garden

    Old Fashioned Fun Package

    November 01, 2011 – November 01, 2023
    Prince Conference Center at Calvin College

    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.

    Booking Method
    Call Hotel Directly

    Old Fashioned Fun in Grand Rapids, MI

    Always Available
    Country Inn & Suites Grand Rapids Airport

    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.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    Pizza Plunge Package

    Always Available
    Ramada Plaza Hotel

    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.

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website

    The Culture Pass GR Package

    October 01, 2013 – September 30, 2014
    Courtyard by Marriott Downtown

    Play tourist - Take in all the well-known and little-known sights while you soak up local culture. The Culture Pass GR Package includes: - Deluxe Accommodations - One Culture Pass Grand Rapids featuring promotions and discounts at many area attractions (Visit www.culturepassgr.com for offer details) - Hot breakfast for two adults and two children 12 years of age and under registered in the same room in the Bistro - Self parking for one vehicle in the hotel ramp - Not valid for groups of 10 or more

    Booking Method
    Visit Their Website
    Booking Code
    CUE