[pullquote_left] by Melody[/pullquote_left]

What does it mean to grow up in Grand Rapids?

It used to mean tours of gypsum mines and talk of furniture city… but no longer.

So, what are the signature experiences every Grand Rapids Kid should have these days?



Here’s our list of {15} iconic events, activities or experiences we think every kid in Grand Rapids should have before their 15th birthday.


  1. Play your heart out at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum with self-made human-sized bubbles, gigantic blocks and more![pullquote_right] #15- Look at the Christmas trees and sing along on the trolley at Meijer Gardens.[/pullquote_right]
  2. Go to family day at a Whitecaps Game, play catch with the players and run the bases after the game.
  3. Put on your walking shoes and follow the grkids.com ArtPrize Kids’ tour [2012 edition coming soon!]
  4. Get a photo with the statue of John Ball at the Zoo, pet the sting-rays and try your luck on the zip-line or high ropes course.
  5. Jump into Blandford Nature Center’s Sugar Bush Days just in time for pancakes, Blandford syrup, and a visit to their historic buildings.
  6. Make sandwiches or pack lunches for hungry students at Kids Food Basket.
  7. Be a tourist in downtown GR with our free Afternoon on the Town Tour – take in the Big Red Button, Giant Tire Swing, Fish ladder Park, and of course, see the La Grand Vitesse at Calder Plaza – We are saddened to report that the tire swing is broken at this time and we do not know when or if it will be repaired.
  8. Take photos of butterflies at Meijer Gardens in the Spring and then head outside [pullquote_right] #2 – Go to family day at a Whitecaps Game, play catch with the players and run the bases after the game.[/pullquote_right]for a climb through the tree house.
  9. Ride the carousel and watch a laser light show at the Grand Rapids Public Museum
  10. Rent a boat and row, row, row it at Millennium Park.  After a visit to the splashpad and romp around their trails, that is.
  11. Pack a picnic and plane watch at the airport observation area.
  12. Stroll through time and eat dinner, grab dessert, or spend the night at the historic Pantlind Hotel {Amway Grand Hotel.}
  13. Tie on some skates and spin under the stars as you ice skate at Rosa Parks Circle.[pullquote_right] #9 – Ride the carousel and watch a laser light show at the Grand Rapids Public Museum [/pullquote_right]
  14. Put on your mittens and cheer as the Grand Rapids Griffins take the ice at the VanAndel Arena.
  15. Look at the Christmas trees and sing along on the trolley at Meijer Gardens.

By | 2017-05-12T14:44:29+00:00 August 4th, 2012|Categories: General, Guides, Guides- travel|Tags: |13 Comments

About the Author:

Melody V
INFJ. Mom of three. Idea chaser. People believer. Inspiration seeker. Together, we make this city amazing. Let's go!


  1. […] summer, grkids.com published the article 15 Before They’re 15, listing some fun must-dos for every child in West Michigan. Being an active mom, I was excited to […]

  2. Holly Betten via Facebook August 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Oh…can you tell I’m tired? 🙂

  3. grkids.com via Facebook August 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Susannah Tuuri and Anna Miller Wicks – not passes for all, but for a very special one! http://grkids.com/win-a-night-away-at-the-amway-grand-plaza-hotel/

  4. […] Just a few weeks ago we published a list of 15 Experiences {we think} Every Kid Should Have before turning 15. […]

  5. Anna Miller Wicks via Facebook August 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I’m with Susannah.

  6. Susannah Tuuri via Facebook August 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Passes to each of these venues??

  7. grkids.com via Facebook August 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Holly Betten That’s a fun idea. but I was wondering if you could guess what the prize is based on this list…

  8. Holly Betten via Facebook August 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    A treasure hunt?

  9. Willow Cramer August 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    I was just thinking about the Gypsum mines a little while back so they don’t do tours anymore? So sad I really wanted to go back with my kids!! I was also wondering a little more about kids food basket ministry? Is this something for all age kids and when do they do this could I please have some more info? Thanks for the list!! We have done a lot of this already as a family!!

    • Melody V
      Melody V August 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      It appears that the gypsum mines are mostly full of storage (that’s what their naturally controlled temps are used for these days) and not open to the public. I wish I could take my kids, too! As for the Kids Food Basket volunteering, kids need to be 5 years old and then they can start helping out. They are continually using volunteers throughout the school year, so you can just give them a call/email [[email protected] or (616) 235-4532] and set something up that works for your family or group.

  10. Lindsy August 6, 2012 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Great list! You should add to participate in the Access of West Michigan county wide food drive – second Saturday in October collecting over 80tons of food for GR area pantries! An awesome family experience.

    • Melody V
      Melody V August 6, 2012 at 11:34 am - Reply

      Great idea, Lindsy. Have you done this with kids? What ages do you recommend?

  11. Tamara Abboud August 5, 2012 at 2:28 am - Reply

    Thanks … there are some great ideas in this article! I’m not from Michigan so there are still lots of things for our family to see and do. 🙂

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