The area east of Grand Rapids is vast, from long standing East Grand Rapids to the newer and fast growing Ada and Forest Hills communities. They brag two very popular libraries, lots of community interaction, and many families who take advantage of all the activities in this area.
If you’re wondering just how much fun your kids can have in the East of Grand Rapids area, here’s your list! –There’s a lot of fun to be had so go out there and experience it!
There’s plenty to keep the kids busy at Cascade Township Park! The 55-acre park includes playgrounds and a swing set, two baseball/softball diamonds, a multi-purpose field for soccer/football, a one-mile pedestrian path, four horseshoe pits, a sand volleyball court, an 18-hole Frisbee golf course, four tennis courts and restroom facilities. Bring your lunch and use any of the picnic tables around the park or if you have a large group, there are also three shelters available.
3810 Thornapple River Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
2 – BUILD SOMETHING FUN AT HOME DEPOT
Did you know Home Depot offers FREE weekly workshops for kids? Each week is a different hands-on project for children. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a free certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin!
4646 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Lace up your skates and take advantage of Open Skate at Patterson Ice Center on the weekends!
2550 Patterson Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
4 – HEAD TO THE LIBRARY
KDL Libraries have so much to offer! Since each branch has its own unique children’s area, including hands-on activities, puzzles, dress up stations, interactive toys, iPads and more- you can stop in any time for loads of educational fun. But KDL libraries also offer story times, classes and special events for ALL ages, so be sure to check their website for upcoming classes and events. Three great libraries in this community are the East Grand Rapids Branch and the Cascade Township Branch.
East Grand Rapids Branch: 746 Lakeside Dr SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Cascade Township Branch: 2870 Jacksmith Avenue Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
5 – SPEND YOUR “SATURDAY IN THE SOIL” AT KOETSIER’S
You might be surprised at all you can find at Koetsier’s! They don’t just sell plants and flowers- Koetsier’s Greenhouse provides hands-on garden experience, education and entertainment for the whole family. Kids can spend their “Saturdays in the Soil” with Koetsier’s Kids Klub, which includes gardening crafts and projects every Saturday morning in April and May. And in September and October, stop by for some Fall Family Fun including crafts, activities, an interactive hayride and inflatables!
1601 Spaulding Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
6 – COOL OFF AT THE SPLASH PAD
Located next to the Thornapple River, Leslie E. Tassell Park provides a beautiful spot for parents to relax while the kids play in the interactive fountain. The picnic tables and benches, fire pit, and shelters also create a perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch.
2900 Thornapple River Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
7 – TRY ICE SKATING ON A SOFTBALL FIELD
For some outdoor winter fun, try ice skating at Leonard Field! It serves as a softball field in the spring and summer, but becomes an ice skating pond in the winter months. And since it is conveniently located right in the heart of Ada, the kids can also enjoy a walk over the historic Ada Covered Bridge and maybe grab some hot chocolate at one of the local cafes!
7490 Thornapple River Dr SE, Ada, MI 49301
Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill is your local destination for apple picking- and after the picking, there’s cider for the kids, hard cider for the grownups and donuts for all!
8540 2 Mile Rd, Ada, MI, 49301
9 – TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LUNCH BUNCH AT GYMCO
Pack a lunch, drop off your potty-trained child at Gymco– and enjoy two uninterrupted hours to do WHATEVER you want! Lunch Bunch is every Monday-Saturday from 12-2 PM. Your kid will have a blast playing games, reading stories and burning off energy- and you can enjoy two productive (or relaxing!) hours. Win-win!
2306 Camelot Ridge Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
10 – TAKE A BIKE RIDE AROUND REEDS LAKE
Grab your bikes and take the family to Reeds Lake! Reeds Lake is a beautiful lake located in East Grand Rapids with a 4.2 mile path around the perimeter. The path is a combination of paved trails, boardwalks and sidewalks which will take you through wooded areas, wetlands and parks. It will also bring you near Gaslight Village, where you can stop off for some dining or shopping.
For the kid who loves to create, check out Kids Day at Arts & Carafes. Paint your own picture- art instruction, cookies and kool-aid are provided! And check their calendar for other fun events like PJ Paint Parties and Mom & Me paint sessions!
2675 East Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Looking for free, fun AND educational? On the first Saturday of the month, Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve offers an education program for families, exploring topics through discovery hikes, stories, games, and nature art projects. Registration is not required, so just show up and have fun exploring!
3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
13 – GET MOVING AT R-ATHLETICS OPEN GYM
Let the kids burn off that energy on Saturday afternoons at R-Athletics! Open Gym is from 1:00 – 2:00 PM and BOTH gyms are open so you can keep an eye on the little ones in the Rec ‘n’ Rollin Center while the big kids enjoy the equipment in the Rockin Gym.
2845 Thornhills Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
You’ll definitely experience fun and excitement as you climb, swing and soar your way through Grand Rapids Treetops Adventure Park! Treetop obstacle courses, zip lines and swinging logs are all part of the fun. But don’t worry, they have able and supportive staff who are there to train and help along the way. And if you come with little ones, they even have a Kid’s Course. This parent-guided course is ground-level and consists of a series of zip lines for the little kids.
2121 Celebration Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Let the whole family cool off with a swim at Goldfish Swim School. Goldfish offers weekly Family Swim sessions, which are open to all members of the community, not just members. Family Swim is every Monday 2-3 PM, Tuesday – Thursday 12-1 PM, Saturdays 6:30 – 8 PM and Sundays 4-6 PM.
2845 Thornhills Ave SE s, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Renew Mama Studio offers yoga for Mom and baby, toddlers, preschoolers and family, as well as music and art classes and more! Stop by the studio or check out their website to find out if there is a class for you.
5161 Northland Drive, Grand Rapids MI, 49525
There are tons of creative options at The Mud Room! Open Studio, pottery classes, Family Crafternoon, Handprint Happy Hour and more. And no studio fees! Your project price includes your materials, help from staff, use of the studio and supplies, and any glazing or firing needed.
1971 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
18 – CATCH A FISH AT ADA PARK
Take the kids to Ada Township Park and let them fish in the fishing pond. This is an especially great spot for little ones, as the pond is reserved for those under 12, senior citizens or physically challenged individuals. And when they are done fishing, head over to the playgrounds for some more fun (one play set for big kids and one for littles!)
180 Buttrick Ave SE, Ada, MI 49301
Head to MVP on Friday night and let the kids enjoy swimming, games, pizza and a treasure hunt- while you enjoy an evening out! Kids Night Out is 5:30 – 9 PM on select Fridays and reservations are required- so be sure to call or check the website!
4035 Burton Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Did you know you can get front row seats to watch airplanes take off and land from Gerald R. Ford Airport? Take the kids to the Viewing Park and they will be thrilled to see all the action up close. You can even bring your lunch and enjoy a picnic as you watch. And be sure to tune in your car radio to 1650 AM to listen to air traffic controllers, pilots, and airfield operations staff as they coordinate the safe passage of airplanes. The airport viewing park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Kraft Avenue north of 52nd Street
You’ll never get bored at Frederik Meijer Gardens! Covering 158 acres, Meijer Gardens has Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory, five indoor theme gardens, outdoor gardens, nature trails and boardwalk, sculptures and more! And you definitely won’t want to miss the interactive Children’s Garden which includes sculptures, a sand quarry, a Great Lakes water feature, tree houses, a log cabin, a butterfly labyrinth, a sense garden and even a child-sized beaver lodge.
1000 East Beltline Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Roselle Park is the perfect place to enjoy nature and wildlife with your children- and still be able to bring the stroller. This nature preserve has a 2 mile paved loop, which will take you along the Grand River and through wetlands, prairies and forests. Be sure to stop at the wetland observation deck along the way- and when you complete the loop, the kids will love exploring the silo climbing wall, natural-themed park climbing equipment and rope “spider web”!
1010 Grand River Dr. NE, Ada, MI 49301
23 – TRY BABY GYMNASTICS
Give Baby Gymnastics a try at Grand Rapids Gymnastics– it’s FREE! GRG Babies is every Tuesday at 11:00 AM and is open to babies 6 months- walking. Tummy time, sensory exposure and movement are all part of the fun.
1601 Galbraith Ave, Ste 301, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Tickets Are Cheap On Tuesdays! It’s only $5 a ticket, so bring all the kids. And don’t forget about Flick’s Family Film Festival movies either- FREE tickets for kids under 12!
2121 Celebration Dr. NE , Grand Rapids, MI 49525
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