Holiday school breaks are the perfect time to spend with family and friends while exploring Grand Rapids. If you want to get your family and guests 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 twelve 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.

Are you ready to see the world covered in snow? This bear doesn't seem to mind.

Photo Credit: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park


Garden Party

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park always has something beautiful for guests to enjoy in all four seasons. Children might enjoy a Winter-Time Walk in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden, followed by a campfire in the log cabin. Walks are also free with admission. Check Meijer Gardens calendar for walk dates and other fun family events. 

Have a cinematic experience unlike any other at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Have a cinematic experience unlike any other at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Photo Credit: Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts


See a New Film

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts only shows documentaries, independent, or international films – all great for broadening cinematic horizons. Tickets are $10 for non-members or only $5 if you’re a member.

Get Lost in Pages

Grab some new books to pass the winter hours, and if you have a Saturday morning to spare, check out Mindstorm Saturdays at the Grand Rapids Public Library. From 10AM - 12PM on select weekends, drop in and explore the art and science of robotics using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kits. There is no pre-registration necessary and it’s free.

Your family will be transported into a galaxy far, far away with an IMAX film at Celebration! Cinema.

Your family will be transported into a galaxy far, far away with an IMAX film at Celebration! Cinema.

Photo Credit: Celebration! Cinemas


Explore a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Upcoming blockbusters in IMAX at Celebration! Cinema North – perhaps not the most educational activity on the list – is a fun activity this season that will get imaginations soaring. At Celebration! Cinema, the kids will love the huge IMAX screen or donning 3D glasses to see movies in a unique way.

Make Your Own Art

Check out the Grand Rapids Art Museum in downtown Grand Rapids during the much-needed holiday break. After paying admission, Drop-In Studio is open on Saturdays to create a cool, seasonal craft.

Little ones can ring in the New Year and still make their bedtime at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum's New Year's Early Eve celebration.

Little ones can ring in the New Year and still make their bedtime at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum's New Year's Early Eve celebration.

Photo Credit: Grand Rapids Children's Museum


Ring in the New Year Early

Help the kids get pumped for the new year at the New Year's Early Eve celebration at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Tickets for the event are $15 ($10 for members), and every attendant will get to build a noisemaker for the real countdown at midnight and enjoy a balloon drop after the early countdown.

Participate at Your Local Library

Visit on of your local Kent District Library branch for storytime or other fun activities for any age. The Kent District Library has a whole calendar full of free and fun events throughout break to pique any kid's interest. 

The Grand Rapids Symphony is known for bringing kid-friendly classics, like Harry Potter and Pokemon, to life at the DeVos Performance Hall.

The Grand Rapids Symphony is known for bringing kid-friendly classics, like Harry Potter and Pokemon, to life at the DeVos Performance Hall.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Date Night at the Symphony

Take the kids on a date night to see experts in their craft. The Grand Rapids Symphony presents family-friendly shows that will captivate your kiddos. From Cirque de Noel shows to film showings with live orchestra performances of the music, the symphony dazzles at DeVos Performance Hall. Tickets start at $42, and vary by seat and event.

The science of Michigan winter is a major focus during the Grand Rapids Public Museum's winter break programs.

The science of Michigan winter is a major focus during the Grand Rapids Public Museum's winter break programs.

Photo Credit: Grand Rapids Public Museum


Discover Something Out of This World

Maybe you’re headed to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see one of their ever-changing exhibits, but if you can plan your visit accordingly, you could see one of the museum's planetarium shows. There are different shows on different days, so be sure to experience as many as possible - you'll learn something new with each one! Planetarium shows are an additional $4 to the price of admission. 

Even the animals at the John Ball Zoo have fun during Michigan's snowy winter!

Even the animals at the John Ball Zoo have fun during Michigan's snowy winter!

Photo Credit: Tina Cox


Take a Walk on the Wild Side

If your child asked for a pet for Christmas, maybe Santa could substitute for a chance to learn with awesome animals. John Ball Zoo is always a fun, educational way to see all types of animals and habitats. Some years, the zoo offers winter break camps. Be sure to check their website for open hours and camp offerings. 

Become a Master Chef

Sur La Table in Breton Village Shopping Center offers great “Kids Cook” classes, which you can find on its calendar. Over break, try cookie decorating or making pasta from scratch, among other tasty treats. These attendees will learn knife skills, fundamental recipe knowledge, and will make dishes from all over the world. Prices for the individual classes vary, but are listed on the calendar. Make sure you register in advance for these classes!


Looking for more fun, educational activities for your holiday break? Check out the Experience Grand Rapids event calendar for more ideas!

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Blandford Nature Center is offers a Seasonal Winter Break Camps for kids 6-11. Each day, the camp focuses on a different topic from winter survival to snow art. The camp is a two day experience and costs between $60 and $72 depending on your Blandford membership status.

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