If your family is homeschooling or love taking educational vacations, you may want to take advantage of the many learning opportunities in and around Grand Rapids to supplement their education. A variety of local attractions provide immersive experiences for students interested in art, history, nature, science and more. Following is an overview of learning sites and programs – always check with the sites for the most up-to-date offerings.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
One of the world’s 100 most visited art museums is committed to presenting fun, interactive and informative programs about plants, sculpture, the environment and the arts.
- Student field trips may include guided tours, classroom activities and self-led discovery.
- More than 130 classes for adults, children and parent/child pairs are offered year-round and 30+ summer camps cater to kids age 4-14.
- An onsite library offers reference material on art history, plant care, sculpture, butterflies, birds, garden design and more.
- Virtual field trips, live and interactive virtual visits, and remote learning resources help bridge the learning gap in the time of COVID-19.
Explore more details on FMG educational experiences.
Grand Rapids Art Museum
The region’s most celebrated art museum offers a variety of educational experiences that promote critical thinking and literacy skills while fostering an appreciation for works in the Museum’s collection.
- Guided group tours and workshops enable students to engage with art and create their own art. Discovery Packs enhance self-guided tours.
- Summer art camps provide children ages 4-15 with the opportunity to observe and discuss artwork, discover hand-on art activities and learn collaborative problem-solving skills.
- An Early Learners program allows parents and educators the chance to explore and experience the GRAM’s collection with kids 0-5 years old.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, GRAM is inviting learners to experience the Museum from home via a wide range of digital resources.
Click here and then click on the Learn menu for additional information.
Grand Rapids Pubic Museum
Michigan’s oldest museum is a place of never-ending discovery, with a focus on science, history and culture. It offers a robust education program that includes a mix of free (with admission) and paid experiences.
- Onsite guided education programs for learners to explore through tours, hands-on activities and guided exploration.
- Self-guided programs allow learners to explore Museum exhibits at their own pace.
- Education camps and classes are scheduled throughout the year.
- Discovery Kits containing artifacts and specimens from the Museum’s Collection can be rented for one week at a time. They are organized around specific themes, including foodways, fossils, music, space, zoology and more.
- The Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium at Grand Rapids Public Museum offers pre-made immersive shows as well as live, expert-led shows on a variety of space topics.
- The Museum has made virtual education programs, discovery kits, scavenger hunts, planetarium presentations and more available during the COVID-19 crisis.
Explore more information on all of GRAM’s educational experiences.
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
GRCM’s mission is to encourage discovery and learning through play, so every trip is an educational experience.
- Educator resources help you and your learner(s) get the most out of your visit.
- Play kits list fun ideas for at-home discovery.
- Regular open paint, imagination laboratory and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) experiences encourage creativity and exploration.
- Biweekly low-sensory programming caters to learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensory challenges.
- Play@Home ideas help you transform your home space into a mini-GRCM during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out more details on GRCM programs.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
At this time, the Museum is closed to the public, but students may visit online exhibits.
Learners can explore history and democratic citizenship at the official museum honoring Grand Rapids’ own Jerry Ford, the 38th president of the United States. The DeVos Learning Center at the Museum helps instructors and learners maximize their visit.
- A variety of different programs developed for school grades from K-12 are available to homeschool groups.
- Teacher resources help instructors prepare learners pre-visit and continue the learning post-visit.
- Docent-led and self-guided tours are available.
- Virtual visits, online exhibits, curated documents and more may be accessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Explore more about the Ford Museum’s educational offerings.
John Ball Zoo
Michigan’s fourth most attended cultural facility makes learning come alive using fun, flexible and hands-on teaching methods. Programs are developed for students age 3 to adult.
- Homeschool and virtual school groups of 25 or more qualify for discount admission to the Zoo.
- Free learning resources are available to engage and educate students as they explore the Zoo.
- STEM classes, up-close animal encounters, guided tours and overnight adventures deepen students’ understanding of the natural world.
- A variety of live, interactive education programs can also be streamed into your home/classroom.
Click here for more details on John Ball Zoo educational experiences.
School in 2020 is looking quite different from previous years, and thankfully, Grand Rapids area attractions have acknowledged…