Holiday school breaks are the perfect time to spend with family and friends while exploring Grand Rapids. If you want to get your family out of the house, there are loads of fun and educational activities and events going on in the Grand Rapids area all month long.
In no particular order, here are some smart ideas to take advantage of in Grand Rapids while the kids are home from school.
Are you ready to see the world covered in snow? This bear doesn't seem to mind.
Photo by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Attend a Garden Party
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park always has something beautiful for guests to enjoy in all seasons and winter always adds its own beauty to the gardens. Children might enjoy a Winter-Time Walk in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden, followed by a campfire in the log cabin. Walks are free with admission. Check the Meijer Gardens calendar for walk dates and other fun family events.
Make Your Own Art
Visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum in downtown Grand Rapids during the much-needed holiday break. After December 20, Drop-In Studio is open on Saturdays to create a cool, seasonal craft. Better yet, drop in studio is included in your admission.
If you're new to winter sports, snowshoeing is a great place to start and Blandford is a fun, close-by place to try it.
Photo by Experience Grand Rapids
Immerse Yourself in Nature
Blandford Nature Center offers 264 acres of woods and meadows crisscrossed with trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Keep your eyes peeled for deer and other wildlife as well as historical buildings and local flora. It’s all just 10 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids.
The science of Michigan winter is a major focus during the Grand Rapids Public Museum's winter break programs.
Photo by Grand Rapids Public Museum
Get in Touch with the Past
Maybe you’re headed to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see one of their ever-changing exhibits, but don’t stop there – the Museum also features a wide range of permanent exhibits highlighting culture, science and history. Check out special winter break “camps” and other family fun activities.
Explore Black History
Download the grwalks smartphone app to take a free, self-guided walking tour highlighting significant local civil rights figures and events.
In search of outdoor winter fun? Cannonsburg is a favorite destination for locals.
Photo by Experience Grand Rapids
Learn to Ski and Snowboard
Hit the slopes and terrain parks at Cannonsburg Ski Area to learn by doing – either on your own or through weekend ski-and-ride programs for kids aged 5-12, of any ability level. Cannonsburg hopes to open December 26 for the season.
Have Some Virtual Fun
COVID-19 safety precautions are limiting the number of in-person activities available during the 2020 year-end break – but several local attractions have developed fun learning opportunities to enjoy on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
- Grand Rapids Public Museum hosts digital discovery sessions for 1st-3rd and 4th-6th graders, and offers a wealth of online resources and collections.
- John Ball Zoo’s Howliday Virtual Safari Series lets you spend some virtual time with your favorite Zoo animal.
- Grand Rapids Public Library hosts a series of online events featuring songs, rhymes, games, discussion and more.
- Sur La Table offers a range of kid-friendly and kid-focused online cooking classes.
- Grand Rapids Ballet’s The Nutcracker Experience is a streaming version of its much-beloved holiday tradition, with bonus behind-the-scenes informative content.
Looking for more fun, educational activities for your holiday break? Check out the Experience Grand Rapids event calendar for more ideas. And before heading out, please review the travel updates page for the latest COVID-19 information, including the state's requirement to wear a mask in all indoor spaces.
Note: This story was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to be current with the above date of publication.