• Best of Grand Rapids for families Grandtastic

CONGRATS 2018 GRANDTASTIC AWARD WINNERS!

Grand Rapids BEST for Families

Our GRKIDS parents are the real experts in this city, so we asked YOU to tell us what your favorite family-friendly places are around West Michigan.

Whether you were born and raised in Grand Rapids or you just moved to the area, we know that parents across West Michigan want to know where the best places are to eat, shop, learn and play with their family.

Be sure to bookmark this guide, so you can quickly reference this to find Grandtastic places around town!

Every listing in this guide received significant votes from our readers through an extensive social media campaign. Businesses voted in the top 7 were invited to sponsor their section, ensuring that you are getting information on top notch businesses around Grand Rapids.

Navigate the List

To make browsing easier, we broke the list into sections. Use these buttons to get to the section you’re interested in faster.

Learn and Discover
Play
Venues & Events
Dining
Shopping

LEARN & DISCOVER

Parents often ask us to suggest the best Grand Rapids places when it comes to putting kids in dance, swimming lessons or music programs. Read on to see the West Michigan’s GRANDTASTIC places to learn and discover with your children!

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Art Classes/Studios for Kids
  • Swimming Lessons for Kids

  • Dance Classes for Kids

  • Music Programs for Kids

  • Libraries for Kids
  • Field Trips

ART CLASSES & STUDIOS FOR KIDS

TOP ART CLASS/STUDIO FOR KIDS

Sign up for a class, plan a party or stop in during Open Studio hours to paint pottery. The Mud Room offers creative fun for all ages! Conveniently located at Knapp’s Corner.

1971 E Beltline Ave NE #103, Grand Rapids MI 49525
616-259-7269 | FACEBOOK 

VISIT THE MUD ROOM @ KNAPP’S CORNER

More winners…

1- The Mud Room @ Knapp’s Corner

2- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

3- Cookies & Canvas

4- Paint a Pot (Holland)

5- Brush Studio

6- Kendall College of Art and Design

7- Accidental Art (Rockford)

8- YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

9- Hearts for the Arts

10- Captured in Clay

SWIMMING LESSONS FOR KIDS

TOP SWIMMING LESSON FOR KIDS

Goldfish Swim School

 

Our shiver-free pool and state-of-the-art facility, paired with our play based teaching philosophy provides your child with lifesaving, long lasting water skills and great memories. 

2845 Thornhills Ave. Suite S Grand Rapids, MI 49546
616-259-0725 | FACEBOOK 

Visit Goldfish Swim School

More winners…

1-Goldfish Swim School

2- Julie’s Swim School

3- YMCA – David D. Hunting

4- Miss Rita’s Swim School

5- YMCA – Mary Free Bed

6- MVP Sports Clubs

7- Kentwood Public Schools Aquatic Center

8- (TIE) YMCA – Spartan Stores

8- (TIE) The Kroc Center

10- ISR (Infant Swimming Resources) – Michael Petrella

DANCE CLASSES FOR KIDS

TOP DANCE CLASS FOR KIDS

Caledonia Dance & Music Center

“CDMC has been such a wonderful experience for my daughter . . . They really take the time to know the dancers individually and to challenge them. For the last ten years, CDMC has taught my daughter self-confidence, self-reliance, and how to be a team player. These skills, the friendships and the wonderful memories she is making will last her a lifetime!”

Jackie B.

Providing your child with top-notch training by worthy role models in a fun and caring atmosphere, CDMC is your place to start your child’s music and dance lessons AND your place to stay! It’s never too late to enroll. Call today!

131 E Main St SE, Suite E, Caledonia, MI 49316
616-891-1606 | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM  

Visit Caledonia Dance and Music Center

More winners…

1- Caledonia Dance & Music Center

2- Hearts in Motion

3- Kathy’s Dance Co. (Hudsonville)

4- HIS Dance Academy

5- Grand Rapids Ballet

6- Dance Dimensions

7- Dance Creations

8- Ada Dance Academy

9- Michigan Ballet Academy

10- Body Language Dance & Theatre Arts Studio

sponsored listings

4336 Plainfield Ave NE GR, MI 49525 | 616-226-6412 | FACEBOOK 

At Hearts in Motion we believe in the power of dance. We believe in the way dance can make you feel. We believe that dance should be fun, fanciful, happy, and magical. We believe that every child can and should dance. We believe in building strength and confidence through dance and fostering a LOVE for the art of dance. Come dance with us!

VISIT Hearts in Motion Dance

1595 Galbraith Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 | 616-710-1666 | FACEBOOK 

Michigan Ballet Academy is the premier ballet school in West Michigan, training students using the internationally recognized Vaganova technique, a consistent, graduated ballet training program.

VISIT Michigan Ballet Academy

2715 29th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512 | 616-245-9501 

Offering dance classes in a warm, welcoming environment that balances learning with fun for both the Recreational (ages 2 – Adult) and Graded Technique (Levels I-VII) dancer.

Graded Technique classes for ages 8+ are taught using our Vaganova based ballet curriculum which includes Bible verses relating to all terms and positions.

Visit HIS Dance Academy

MUSIC PROGRAMS FOR KIDS

TOP MUSIC PROGRAM FOR KIDS

St Cecilia Music Center

More winners…

1- St. Cecilia Music Center

2- Academy of Music in Grand Rapids

3- Grand Rapids Symphony

4- Kent District Library

5- Joyful Sounds Music Studio

sponsored listings

6159 28th St SE, Ste 24, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 | 616-965-1655  | FACEBOOK 

West Michigan’s largest private music lesson school offering parent friendly services, a family safety plan, month-to-month lessons, and top-notch instructors for piano, guitar, voice, drum, string, and ukulele lessons all in one location. Open 7 days a week inspiring students ages 5 and up to dream, believe, and achieve.

“My daughter absolutely LOVES her voice lessons at the Academy of Music. Her teacher is kind and friendly, and my daughter is now enthusiastic about singing! Their staff is welcoming and helpful and provides such a wonderful experience. Love seeing such passion and enthusiasm in a business!” Heidi Bolduc-Seijas

VISIT Academy of Music in Grand Rapids

959 Lake Dr., SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 | 616-916-0478 

Music Together is an early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through age eight—and the grownups who love them! Our classes help little ones develop their innate musicality—and much, much more. Join us on a rich musical journey as we sing, dance, play, learn and love!

VISIT joyful sounds music studio

LIBRARIES FOR KIDS

TOP LIBRARY FOR KIDS

East Grand Rapids Branch – KDL

More winners…

1- East Grand Rapids Branch – KDL

2- Cascade Township Branch – KDL

3 -Caledonia Township Branch – KDL

4- Grandville Branch – KDL

5- Wyoming Branch – KDL

6- Kentwood – KDL

7- Byron Township – KDL

8- Plainfield Township Branch- KDL

9- Main Library – GRPL

10- Herrick District Library (Holland)

sponsored listing

111 Library Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 | 616-988-5400

VISIT grand rapids public library

FIELD TRIPS

TOP FIELD TRIP

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

More winners…

1- Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

2- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

3- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

4- John Ball Zoo

5- Critter Barn (Zeeland)

6- Binder Park Zoo (Battle Creek)

7- Blandford Nature Center

8- Post Family Farm (Hudsonville)

9- Dairy Discovery – Swiss Lane Farms (Alto)

10- Robinette’s Apple Haus

sponsored listing

5081 Bauer Rd., Hudsonville, MI 49426 | 616-669-1964| FACEBOOK 

We are an 80-acre reminder of life’s simple pleasures. Come visit us during our Spring and Fall Festivals. Reserve your next group event with us.

VISIT Post Family Farm

Best Place to Play around West Michigan

If you’re looking for the best playgrounds, beaches and indoor play places, look no further. We’ve collected a list of all the most GRANDTASTIC places around West Michigan for kids to play inside and out

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Outdoor Playgrounds/Parks

  • Outdoor Venues/Experiences for Families

  • Beaches for Families

  • Water Play Places (splash pad, pool)

  • Indoor Play Places

OUTDOOR PLAYGROUNDS/PARKS

TOP OUTDOOR PLAYGROUND/PARK

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

More winners…

1- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

2- Millennium Park (Walker)

3- Frog Hollow Park (Wyoming)

4- Hager Park (Georgetown Twp.)

5-  Ada Township Park

6- Blandford Nature Center

7- Cascade Township Park

8- John Ball Park

9- Fallasburg Park (Lowell)

10- Riverside Park

OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES/VENUES FOR FAMILIES

TOP OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE/VENUE FOR FAMILIES

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

8313 Pratt Lake SE Alto, MI 49302 | 616-868-6711 

Visit Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

More winners…

1- Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

2- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

3-  John Ball Zoo

4- Blandford Nature Center

5- Michigan’s Adventure (Muskegon)

6- Critter Barn (Zeeland)

7- Klackle Orchards (Greenville)

8- West Michigan Whitecaps

9- Millennium Park (Walker)

10-  Nelis’ Dutch Village (Holland)

sponsored listings

11466 W. Carson City Road, Greenville, MI 48838 | 616-754-8632 | FACEBOOK 

Klackle Orchards is West Michigan’s Family Fun Farm! Pick-your-own apples and pumpkins! Enjoy fall fun for the whole family! You can’t miss the famous donuts & cider.

VISIT Klackle Orchards

12350 James St., Holland, MI 49424 | 616-396-1475 | FACEBOOK 

Three generations make new Family Memories in a Dutch atmosphere, and admission includes all rides, petting farm fun, craft demonstrations and tasty experiences.

VISIT NELIS’ DUTCH VILLAGE

BEACHES FOR FAMILIES

TOP BEACH FOR FAMILIES

Grand Haven State Park

More winners…

1- Grand Haven State Park

2- Holland State Park

3- Millennium Park (Walker)

4- Tunnel Park (Holland)

5- P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon)

6- Grand Haven City Beach

7- (TIE) Kirk Park (West Olive)

7- (TIE) Duck Lake State Park (Muskegon)

9- Oval Beach (Saugatuck)

10-  Gun Lake (Wayland)

WATER PLAY PLACES

TOP WATER PLAY PLACE

Millennium Park Beach & Splash Pad (Walker)

More winners…

1- Millennium Park Beach & Splash Pad (Walker)

2- Michigan’s Adventure Water Park (Muskegon)

3- Frederik Meijer Gardens – Great Lakes Garden

4- Holland Community Aquatic Center

5- Goldfish Swim School

6- Maplewood Park Splashpad (Jenison)

7- The Kroc Center

8- YMCA – David D. Hunting

9- Lamar Park Splash Pad (Wyoming)

10- YMCA – Spartan Stores

INDOOR PLAY PLACES

TOP INDOOR PLAY PLACE

Catch Air (Kentwood)

Catch Air can provide hours of fun for children and their caretakers with our slides, bounce houses, and soft play and spinning toys!

2978 28th Street Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-200-6956 | FACEBOOK 

Visit Catch Air

More winners…

1- Catch Air (Kentwood)

2- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

3- Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena (Jenison)

4- AirTime Trampoline & Game Park

5- Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park (Kentwood)

6- For the Kidz Gymnastics (Wyoming)

7- Dave & Busters

8- Goldfish Swim School

9- GR Kroc Center

10- Jester’s Court

sponsored listing

3707 Northridge Dr NW, Grand Rapids Charter Township, MI 49544 | 616-784-5437 | FACEBOOK 

“Perfect place for a day out! Ton of inflatables and a jungle gym. There was a baby/toddler area too, great for families with different aged kids! There was a room with a party happening and everyone seemed to love it! We will be back and we spent a lot less money than going to other indoor places.” Jester’s Court Customer

Come on over to Jester’s Court! Our indoor facility features approximately 20,000 sqft of action-packed fun for kids 12 years old and younger. Softplay, inflatable slides, obstacle courses, jumps, interactive games and more will keep your kids happy, healthy, and active. Follow us on Facebook for specials and events!

VISIT jester’s court

BEST FAMILY EVENTS, BIRTHDAY PARTIES & DAYCARE CENTERS

Planning a birthday party? Looking for a high-quality daycare provider? This section covers the best, GRANDTASTIC family-friendly events and venues around town!

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Events for Family Fun
  • Birthday Party Venues

  • Daycare Centers

EVENTS FOR FAMILY FUN

TOP EVENT FOR FAMILY FUN

Butterflies are Blooming – Frederik Meijer Gardens

More winners…

1- Butterflies are Blooming – Frederik Meijer Gardens

2- ArtPrize

3- West Michigan Whitecaps Game

4- Celebration! Cinema – Flick’s Family Film Fest

5- Zoo Goes Boo! – John Ball Zoo

6- Hudsonville Community Fair

7- Coast Guard Festival (Grand Haven)

8- Festival of the Arts

9- Tulip Time (Holland)

10- 4th of July Celebration – Cascade Township

BIRTHDAY PARTY VENUES

TOP BIRTHDAY PARTY VENUE

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park (Alto)

More winners…

1- Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park (Alto)

2- Craig’s Cruisers (Wyoming)

3- Catch Air (Kentwood)

4- For the Kidz Gymnastics (Wyoming)

5- Rebounderz (Jenison)

6- (TIE) Sky Zone (Kentwood)

6- (TIE) Chuck E. Cheese’s

6- (TIE) Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

9- AirTime Trampoline & Game Park

10- (TIE) The Mud Room

10- (TIE) R-Athletics

sponsored listings

2845 Thornhills Ave., Grand Rapids, Mi 49546 | 616-957-4900 | FACEBOOK 

R-Athletics is Grand Rapids’ premier Gymnastics, Cheer, Ninja Zone and Rush Athletics’ facility! Check out our gym which includes a life-size tree-house, fire truck, slides, rock climbing wall, trampolines and foam pits! R-Athletics offers programs starting at crawlers all the way through level 10 national champions earning college scholarships! We offer a variety of physical activities your child will love!

VISIT R-Athletics

1971 E Beltline Ave NE #103, Grand Rapids MI 49525 | 616-259-7269 | FACEBOOK 

Pottery painting, glass fusing, potter’s wheels and more! The Mud Room offers parties that are FUN for the kids and EASY for the parents! Online booking available.

VISIT The Mud Room @ Knapp’s Corner

2978 28th Street Grand Rapids, MI 49512 | 616-200-6956 | FACEBOOK 

Catch Air is the ideal place for your child’s birthday party! Our party coordinators take care of all the details so you can relax and have fun!

VISIT Catch Air

DAYCARE CENTERS

TOP DAYCARE CENTER

AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care & Preschool

Providing high quality childcare and early education in a safe, nurturing environment. Visit your child anytime online using the AppleCam and receive daily activity reports online, in real-time, via our AppleGram. We enhance your child’s experience with music, technology, foreign language, gymnastics, and S.T.E.M. enrichment opportunities all included in your tuition.

• Breton Village – 616-957-1023
• Caledonia – 616-891-2776
• Cascade – 616-726-5000
• Cascade Young 5’s and School Age – 616-719-4401
• Grand Rapids – 616-447-7837
• Grandville/Wyoming – 616-531-4252
• Holland – 616-393-6525
• Hudsonville – 616-662-4222
• Kentwood – 616-530-6400
• Knapp Corner – 616-364-0543
• Rockford – 616-874-5437
• Standale/Allendale – 616-805-9335
• Walker East  – 616-481-3811
• Walker West – 616-735-4600
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

“We are so pleased with the level of care our daughter receives at AppleTree. She has learned so much in the past 2 years she’s attended and has grown to become such a smart and independent girl. We love knowing she is in a safe environment and is not only learning academic skills but personal skills as well.” -Parent at AppleTree and Gilden Woods

Visit AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool

More winners…

1- AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care & Preschool

2- Milestones Child Development Center

3- Big Steps Little Feet (Ada)

4- Orchard Hill Christian Preschool & Child Care

5- YMCA – Spartan Stores

6- The Goddard School For Early Child Development

7- Adventures Learning Centers

8- Childtime Learning Centers

9- Tutor Time

10- Rainbow Child Care Center of Grand Rapids

sponsored listings

3710 29th St. Kentwood MI 49512 | 616-301-2030 | FACEBOOK – CALEDONIA | FACEBOOK – KENTWOOD

“We have had both our children enrolled at Adventures Learning Center in Portage, Michigan for the past six years.  It is due to the safe, caring and structured environment they offer that we have remained loyal to this center.  The care they have received from the staff of the center is second to none.” The Feltch Family

Preschoolers are independent and eager learners. Our philosophy is that preschoolers learn best by “doing”, or through interactive play in an environment that is rich in experiences and exploratory opportunities. In the classrooms, each day has a schedule that includes group times as well as center or choice time. The planned activities encourage language development, mathematical reasoning and scientific thought.

VISIT Adventures Learning Centers

8720 Broadmoor Ave SE, Caledonia, MI 49316 | 4533 Cascade AVE Grand Rapids, MI 49456
616-536-2520 | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Milestones Child Development Center is a locally owned company that opened in August of 2005 and has grown to 4 locations with centers in Cascade, Caledonia, Rockford (Belmont) and Portage. Milestones focuses on family relationships and a learning through play philosophy that highlights hands-on activities and child centered environments.

VISIT Milestones Child Development Center

Best Places to Eat Out or Grab Candy or Ice Cream with Kids

We all know that dining out with kids can be a challenge, so it’s important to find a kid-friendly restaurant that offers a great children’s menu, friendly waiters, and an atmosphere that’s loud enough to drown out any unpleasant whining. Read on for the GRKIDS readers’ top choices for sweet treats and kid-friendly restaurants around greater Grand Rapids.

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Restaurants for Families

  • Candy Stores

  • Ice Cream Shops

RESTAURANTS FOR FAMILIES

TOP RESTAURANT FOR FAMILIES

Chick-Fil-A Grand Rapids South

Follow the herd to Chick-fil-A Grand Rapids South for our delicious food, great service and kids play place! It’s our pleasure to serve you!

1545 Edgeknoll Dr SE (M6 & Kalamazoo Ave), Grand Rapids, MI. 49508
616-656-6000 | FACEBOOK 

Visit Chick-fil-A Grand Rapids South

More winners…

1- Chick-Fil-A

2- Red Robin

3- Chuck E. Cheese’s

4- Russ’ Restaurants

5- Uccello’s Ristorante

6- Applebee’s

7- Downtown Market

8- Pizza Ranch

9- Brann’s Steakhouse & Sports Grille

10- Arnie’s

CANDY STORES

TOP CANDY STORE

Holland Peanut Store

More winners…

1- Holland Peanut Store

2- Jersey Junction (East Grand Rapids)

3- (TIE) Cosmic Candy Company (Woodland Mall)

3- (TIE) Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream

5- Sweetland Candies (Plainfield)

6- Sweet Tooth of Rockford

7- Rocket Fizz

8- Albertus Koeze & Company – Gourmet Nuts

9- Krissy’s Kandies (Grand Haven)

10- Something Sweet (Allegan)

sponsored listings

3195 28th St Suite A103 Grand Rapids MI 49502 (In the Woodland Mall across from Barnes and Nobles) | 616-559-0044  | FACEBOOK

Cosmic Candy is an old fashioned candy and popcorn store. We feature Pentwater Popcorn and tons of nostalgic candy and glass bottle soda from yesteryear. Come in and get “Lost in Taste.”

Visit Cosmic Candy Company

2090 Celebration Dr., Ste. 122, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 | 616-279-2913 

Visit Rocket Fizz Grand Rapids

ICE CREAM SHOPS

TOP ICE CREAM SHOP

Jersey Junction (East Grand Rapids)

More winners…

1- Jersey Junction (East Grand Rapids)

2- Captain Sundae (Holland)

3- Houseman’s Ice Cream (Byron Center)

4- Frosty Boy

5- Spoonlickers

6- Brink’s Ice Cream Express (Caledonia)

7- The Pump House

8- (TIE) Burlingame Dip and Dogs (Wyoming)

8- (TIE) Custard by the Dam (Rockford)

10- Hudsonville Ice Cream at Hudsonville Lanes

Top Consignment Stores, Sales and Clothing Boutiques for Kids

Whether you are looking for a consignment store steal or a one-of-a-kind boutique find, we’ve got you covered. We have a list of all the most GRANDTASTIC places to shop around West Michigan, so read on…

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Consignment Stores for Kids
  • Consignment/Mom2Mom Sales
  • Clothing Boutiques for Kids

CONSIGNMENT STORES FOR KIDS

TOP CONSIGNMENT STORE FOR KIDS

Once Upon a Child (Wyoming)

More winners…

1- Once Upon a Child (Wyoming)

2- Village Kids Consignment (Ada)

3- Once Upon a Child (Alpine)

4- Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids

5- littlePosh Consignment Boutique

6- New 2 You

7- Africa’s Child

8- Peek a Boutique (Holland)

9- The Hive (Holland)

CONSIGNMENT/MOM2MOM SALES

TOP CONSIGNMENT/MOM2MOM SALE

Just Between Friends (JBF) Sale

 

Just Between Friends is Grand Rapids largest children’s and maternity consignment event! It’s where West Michigan comes to save!

2500 Turner Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544 | 616-528-8284 | FACEBOOK

Visit Just Between Friends Sale

More winners…

1- Just Between Friends (JBF) Sale

2- West Michigan Spring Mom’s Sale at Devos Place

3- All About Kids Sale at Resurrection Life Church (Grandville)

4- Thornapple MOPS Sale

5- Orchard Hill Mom2Mom sale

6- NE Grand Rapids MOPS Consignment Sale

7- Holland Mom2Mom Sale

CLOTHING BOUTIQUES FOR KIDS

TOP CLOTHING BOUTIQUE FOR KIDS

Tip Toes (Holland)

More winners…

1- Tip Toes (Holland)

2- Village Kids Consignment Boutique (Ada)

3- Pink Lemonade Boutique (East Grand Rapids)

4- Hopscotch Children’s Store

5- Snapdragon Boutique (East Grand Rapids)

6- Matilda Jane

7- River Babe Threads (Rockford)

8- Aberdeen’s (Grand Haven)

9- EcoBuns Baby & Co (Holland)

PHOTOGRAPHY

Kids grow up fast and we all want to capture each precious stage with great photos. Not every photographer knows how to take great photos of squirmy or grumpy kids, but these GRANDTASTIC family photographers are trusted by tons of West Michigan parents. When booking your next family photo session, trust this list of Grand Rapids best family photographers.

FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHERS

TOP FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

Marie Clark Photography

More winners…

1- Marie Clark Photography

2- Anne Jansen Photography

3- Abby Jayne Photography

4- Katie Cook Photography

5- Kate Morrow Photography

6- Erin Alies Photography

7- Erin Massie Photography LLC

8- deVries Photography (Zeeland)

9- (TIE) Junia Studios

9- (TIE) Kerri Jenison Photography

Feel free to pin this image for your reference.

Grandtastic Header Best Grand Rapids

By |2018-06-20T11:27:10+00:00May 7th, 2018|Categories: Grandtastic Award, Guides, Parent Info, Parenting Resources, Play Date, Real Life|Tags: |0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment