The holidays certainly are the most wonderful time of the year, especially when it comes to planning an activity for the whole family! Grand Rapids has a variety of interesting activities that family members of all ages will enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a day-trip, weekend getaway, or feeling like being a tourist in your own city, here are just a few ideas for getting your family out of the house and into some fun.

Spending school breaks at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. There are plenty of fun, educational activities to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Grand Rapids Public Museum


Visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum to find an experience for all family members...

Exhibit: Historic Grand Rapids LEGO Display

Location: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Dates available: Until January 18, 2019

Step back in time to see historic Grand Rapids built with LEGOs. The 1925-era display will show visitors what this city looked like during the early 20th century. See the moving trams, the Grand River, Morton Hotel, and more. You’ll recognize a few familiar facades like the Amway Grand Plaza Curio Collection by Hilton hotel and Civic Theater among the creations.

The exhibit is free with admission to the museum.

Exhibit: Expedition: Dinosaur

Location: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Dates available: Until April 28, 2019

You and your family can get up close and personal with lifelike dinosaurs like the T. Rex and triceratops at Expedition: Dinosaur. As you walk between the animatronic dinosaurs, be sure to check out interactive displays and hands-on learning stations that explain dinosaur movement, digestion, and evolution, and show the life and methods of dinosaur hunters from the 1800s to today.

Children can also pretend to be paleontologists by exploring the digital sandbox, learning about dinosaur eggs, and by taking a microscopic peek inside a dinosaur skull! This fascinating exhibit brings dinosaurs from the Mesozoic-era to life.

Admission to the exhibit is $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 17 years old and younger, $9 for Kent County resident adults, $4 for Kent County resident children ages 17 years old and younger, and $2 for all Grand Rapids Public Museum members.

Exhibit: Snowflake Break

Location: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Dates available: December 23, 2018 to January 7, 2019 from noon to 3 PM

After witnessing all that the Grand Rapids Public Museum has to offer, stop by Snowflake Break to create your own unique holiday decor. Located through the museum's main galleria, Snowflake Break, is ideal for visitors of all ages to express their creativity and holiday spirit.

The exhibit is free with admission to the museum.

Exhibit: Let it Snow! - A special show inside the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium

Location: Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium inside the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Dates available: Until January 6, 2019

Enjoy snowfall and festive songs while staying comfy and warm by visiting Let it Snow! - A special show inside the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. This seasonal show features tunes by legends such as Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Special effects and fun animations dance across the projector to create a holiday experience for all to enjoy!

Guests can view planetarium shows for $4 each with general admission to the museum. Museum members can view planetarium shows for $5 each and no general admission fee.

See many cultures represented through holiday tree displays at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park's annual "Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World" display.

Photo Credit: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park


Take a trip to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and travel around the world!

Exhibit: Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World

Location: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Dates available: Until January 6, 2019

Ever wonder how people in other parts of the world celebrate the holidays? Find out with a visit to the dazzling wintertime display, Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World.

The gardens are decked out with carolers, rooftop reindeer, and 400,000 glowing lights along with more than 40 international trees and authentic cultural displays. As you walk through the display, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the trolleys and trains that are part of the exhibition.

In addition to Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World, there will also be an original film, “joy,” for visitors to enjoy inside the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s Hoffman Family Auditorium. “joy” explores the diverse festive fabric that is holiday life across our local communities.

Witness Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World for free with admission to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Visit the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts for a sentimental family outing…

Exhibit: Coming Home

Location: Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA)

Dates: Until January 25, 2019
*Note: UICA is closed on Mondays

The Coming Home exhibit, which has a name that’s quite fitting for the holidays, celebrates both departures and reunions. Located within the UCIA, Coming Home features work by four artists who are from Michigan or have spent a considerable amount of time in Michigan during the course of their careers. Enjoy a series of paintings, photographs and sculptures that each tell their own unique story.

Guests can witness Coming Home for free with admission to the museum.

The "Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present" displays over 200 images of legendary athletes.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Stop by the Grand Rapids Art Museum for thought-provoking exhibits...

Exhibit: Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present

Location: Grand Rapids Art Museum

Dates available: Until January 13, 2019

*Note: The GRAM is closed on Mondays

The Grand Rapids Art Museum has an incredible exhibit for the sports fan, history buff, and art lover in your family. Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present displays over 200 images of legendary athletes, such as tennis star Serena Williams and paralympic athlete Avi Torres. 

This exhibit also shows historic action shots and offers a glimpse of competitions behind-the-scenes and on the sidelines. This stunning exhibit demonstrates how technology has allowed photographers to capture the human body in motion for the past 175 years.

Admission to the exhibit is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $8 for college students.  

Exhibit: Dylan Miner: Water is Sacred // Trees are Relatives

Location: Grand Rapids Art Museum

Dates available: Until March 3, 2019

This unique exhibit was created by Michigan-based artist and activist, Dylan Miner. In his work, Miner, who is a descendant of Wiisaakodewinini (or Metis), focuses on the history and culture of the indigenous tribes that comprised the Anishnaabewaki peoples of the Great Lake regions. His exhibit explores how the degradation of regional resources, capitalism, and colonialism has shaped the state of Michigan today.

Visitors can immerse themselves in Miner’s large-scale cyanotype (a printing process that creates a blue print) photographs that are printed on fabric. These items portray images of cloudy skies and water surfaces.

Guests can witness Dylan Miner: Water is Sacred // Trees are Relatives for free with admission to the museum.

Free, historical, holiday exhibit at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Exhibit: Breton Village Holiday Train Display

Location: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Dates: Until December 31, 2018

The historic Breton Village Holiday Train Display has a new ‘home’ this year within the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, and the display is free for guests to view! The train display will be located in the museum’s lobby so guests can easily access the work of art.

For 30 years, the Breton Village Holiday Train Display was located within the Breton Village Mall, but after the mall’s recent renovation, the train display needed to find a new home. Now located within the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the Breton Village Holiday Train Display will include pieces from past exhibits, as well as new pieces that pay tribute to President Ford.

As a bonus, the entire Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum will have free admission to guests every Sunday in December! Check out the museum’s historical exhibits with the whole family this holiday season for ample (and affordable) fun.

Before checking out these family-friendly exhibits, make sure to purchase a Culture Pass GR for discounted entry to all attractions. Please keep in mind that local attractions may have different hours of operation around the holidays.

What exhibits are you most looking forward to visiting with the family? Let us know in the comments below!

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