by Keri Siemens
Get your idea juices flowing with the items listed below and then head over to our bulging event calendar for plenty of other holiday events!
NOTE: Businesses may change or cancel events at a moment’s notice. It is your responsibility to call ahead and verify details.
- Take in a show! Broadway Grand Rapids presents “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” with an international cast of over 30 multi-talented and brilliantly costumed artists coming to life and performing astonishing feats of disbelief (December 26-29). Or ring in the new year with the Grand Rapids Symphony, joined by vocalists and dancers in “A Swingin’ New Years Eve” (December 31). Or for the little ones, check out Kevin Kammeraad’s Winter Wonderland Puppet Concert (December 28).
- Take the family out for a drive to see the lights! Check out our grkids Holiday Lights Guide, including an Interactive Holiday Christmas Lights Map! Visit the Nite Lites at Fifth Third Ballpark (over a mile of fun with nearly a million lights!) through January 4. Or stop by and see the hour long sound and light show on the Boardwalk in Cascade, playing daily.
- Head to downtown Sparta on Christmas Eve for horse-drawn trolley rides. December 24.
- Check out this “cool” event! The Ice Sculpting Competition in Holland. January 10-11.
- The whole family will enjoy the live nativity at Critter Barn in Zeeland. Or if you are near Grand Haven, stop by and see one of the largest Nativity Scene displays in the world.
- Test your skills and have fun competing in KDL’s Beyblade Battles! Bring your own Beyblades and arenas, or train and compete using the library’s equipment. For ages 6 and older. Thursday, January 2, 1:00 PM – Alto branch
- Join KDL for a gaming tournament for school-age kids featuring Mario Kart, prizes and more. Many will enter, but only one will be crowned champion! Pre-registration is required and participant spots are limited. For grades K-5.
Friday, January 3, 11:00 AM – Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branch
- Teen Zone! Teen-only fun for you and your friends at the library! Stop by for activities that may include board games, food and more. For teens grades 6-12. January 2, 3:00 PM – Grandville branch
- Get the family out of the house and attend a Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey Game! And save money with a Fan 4 Pack! Visit their website for game details. Or if you are near Muskegon, take in a Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey game.
- Don’t miss Night at your Museum at the GR Public Museum! Guests will receive a souvenir flashlight upon admittance to the dimly-lit museum and become part of the drama that unfolds as characters from the exhibits come to life on all three floors of the museum, including Medieval knights dueling with swords, Native American performances of ceremonial dances in full regalia, and Civil War soldiers reenacting skirmishes! December 27.
- Winter Blast! Join us at the library for winter-inspired fun. Crafts, snacks & more. Sled dogs will be there at 2:00 PM. For all ages. Saturday, December 21, 11:00 AM – Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branch
- Climb aboard, mateys, and celebrate at the Pirate Festival! Performers from the Michigan Pirate Festival will lead activities, including a treasure hunt, while pirates of all ages enjoy music by the steel drum band, “Travel Strike.” January 2, 3:00 PM – Cascade Township branch
- Check out Snowflake Break at the Public Museum. Make a fossil, create your own Trilobite, or get a dinosaur tattoo. December 21- January 3
- See 42 cultural trees and displays, Santa, reindeer, carolers, carriage rides and the much-loved Railway Garden at Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World at Meijer Gardens. November 26- January 5.
- Drop in at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for some fun hands-on activities. December 27 & 28
- Paint with the family! Brush Studio Family Days are Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Check out their calendar for the featured Family Day paintings. $30 for children under twelve years old.
- Thursday evening is Family Night at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum from 5:00-8:00 pm with $1.50 admission per person, ages 1 year and above.
- Discover your inner artist at Drop-in Art at the Kroc Center. Wednesdays and Saturdays. See website for more details.
- All ages will enjoy the train display at Breton Village Mall. And maybe visit with Santa while you’re there!
- Paint pottery, try glass fusing, or play with clay at The Mud Room. Family Days are Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Fees are just $12 per family and good for up to five parents and/or kids from the same household.
- Extended hours at the Kroc Center! Monday, December 23–Saturday, January 4. We’ll have extended hours for the pool, climbing wall, game room and art room, as well as bounce houses, gaga ball and a FREE family movie night.
- Get moving with Open Gym at GRGymnastics, Gymboree Play and Music or Gymnastiks Unlimited.
- And be sure to check out Munch-n-Move at GRGymnastics every Tuesday from 12:00-2:00 pm. Just pack your child’s lunch and bring them to GRG for safe, fun, organized activities and gymnastics! (Parents don’t need to stay!) Ages 3 and up.
- If you are in Holland and have active little ones, take them to Crazy Bounce Toddler Time!
- It’s Life-Sized Candied Land! Everyone’s invited to play a giant version of a favorite childhood board game. Follow the colored squares as you walk across the gumdrop bridge and voyage through the candy cane forest… but don’t get stuck on a licorice spot! For all ages. Friday, January 3, 1:00 PM – Englehardt branch; Saturday, January 4, 10:30 AM – Sand Lake/Nelson Township branch
- Get your little ones moving with “Rhyme Time Music and Movement” at the library. See kdl.org for times and locations.
- Take the family ice skating! Family Fun Spot Centers in Kentwood and Byron Center have Holiday Break Skate with special holiday prices: $2 admission and $3 skate rental! Or check out Lunch Time Open Skate at Griff’s Icehouse or ice skating in Rosa Parks Circle. If you are in Holland, stop by the Riverview Park Ice Rink or Lakeview Park Ice Rink. Or check out our event calendar for more open skate opportunities.
- If you’d rather stay warm, head to Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink for Holiday Break Skate, Hudsonville Lanes for Buck Night Bowling or Century Lanes Bowling in Holland for Glow Bowling!
- Take the kids sledding at Pando Winter Sports Park or at any of the places in our sledding guide. Or try downhill skiing at Cannonsburg or cross country skiing at Van Raalte Farm.
- Get jumping at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park!
- Stay active with Friday Fitness Funshops at MVP Sportsplex. Participants swim, tumble, complete a project and have a snack. Pre-registration is required at least 24 hours in advance. Sibling discounts available.
- Open Swim opportunities abound! Check out our event calendar to find a location near you.
- Head to your local library! There are lots of storytimes to take advantage of–and plenty of other library activities over the break. Check the grkids.com event calendar or kdl.org and grpl.org for locations and times near you.
- Chess Anyone? Drop in and play chess at the library! All skill levels welcome. An adult is usually on hand to help you with your game or match you up with a worthy opponent. For all ages. Check the grkids.com event calendar or kdl.org for locations and times near you.
- Home Depot’s Kids Workshops. Free How-To Workshop for kids ages 5-12. First Saturday of each month at all Home Depot Stores.
- Craft Time at the library. Drop in at the library for some creative fun with this self-directed activity. For all ages. Check the grkids.com event calendar or kdl.org for locations and times near you.
- Holiday Mini Camp at MVP Sportsplex. Ages 3-6. Activities include swimming, games, arts & crafts, music & movement and more! Register at the Athletic Club service desk or online. 9:00 AM- 1:00 PM. December 23, 26-27, 30, January 2-3.
- Holiday Sports Camp at MVP Sportsplex. Ages 6-11. Activities include swimming, sports, games, arts and crafts. Register at the Athletic Club service desk or online. 9AM- 3PM. December 23, 26-27, 30, January 2-3.
- Mid City Winter Break Fun Club. Boys and girls ages 5 (enrolled in Kindergarten) through 12 years. Activities include swimming, gym games, building snowmen & forts, snow archery, sledding, arts & crafts. 9 AM- 5PM. Call 855.9622 to sign up. December 26, 27, 28, & 31; January 2, 3, & 4.
- Christmas Break Day Camp at the Kroc Center. Kids ages 5-12 will enjoy swimming, drama, music, arts & crafts, group games, sports, bible lessons, and other fun activities. 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM. Week 1: December 23-24, 26-27. Week 2: December 30- 31, January 2- 3.
- Humane Society’s Winter Camp Kids and Paws. Campers in grades K-5 can join us for a half day or whole day camp experience. This 2 day mini camp will feature animal interactions, presentations, crafts, games, and snacks. 9AM- 12:30PM and/or 1:30- 5:00 PM.. Apply online. January 2-3.
- Winter Break Horse Day Camp. Ages 8-15. Six days to spend winter break in a snowy camp getaway. Each day has unique activities but also takes full advantage of the wonders of winter. Sign up for all six days or just one; it’s your choice! 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM. December 23, 26, 27, 30, January 2, 3.
- Camp Manitou-Lin Winter Break Day Camp. Ages 6-14. Six days to spend winter break in a snowy camp getaway. Each day has unique activities but also takes full advantage of the wonders of winter. Sign up for all six days or just one; it’s your choice! 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM. December 23, 26, 27, 30, January 2, 3.
- New Years Overnight Camp. Ages 8-15. Ring in 2014 camp style! We have every detail covered; from noisemakers to party hats – the party won’t stop until the ball drops! Count down the New Year by climbing our high ropes course or nailing a bull’s-eye at archery. Sign up for male or female sleepover. 6:00 PM- 10:00 AM. December 31- January 1.
- Gymco Day Camp. Day Camps offer fun and flexibility, with part- and full-day and full-week options! We offer a variety of themes and activities. Ages 3 and up. Sibling discounts available. Register for a single session or all day. 8:30 AM- 12:00 PM and/or 12:00-4:00 PM and/or 3:00-6:00 PM. December 23, 26, 27, 30, January 2, 3.
- Winter Explorers Camp at Blandford Nature Center. During this children’s camp we will take a winter hike through the woods, use tracks to discover what animals are active in the winter, make shelters from the cold, and get active with animal themed games to stay warm. Ages 6-11. 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM. January 2.