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!

Now, on to some technical information: We started earlier this year by taking nominations from the community for over twenty categories. Nominations were complied and listed on a voting form. Voting happened in the spring of 2016 and was promoted across our website and on social media. Votes were compiled and the top seven or eight vote-getters were determined.

Every listing in this guide received significant votes from our readers. As far as sponsors go, businesses were only invited to sponsor if they were within the Top 7 nominees of their select category. We did this so you can trust that every listing in this guide is “top notch” when it comes to family-friendly spots in West Michigan.


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
  • Dance Classes
  • Music Programs
  • Libraries for Kids
  • Field Trips

Here are the results!



The Mud Room

The Mud Room offers pottery painting, glass fusing, wood signs, potter’s wheel classes, canvas parties and more! Walk in during Open Studio hours for some DIY creative fun, or check out their creative classes and artsy party options. All ages welcome, no experience needed. Now conveniently located at Knapp’s Corner!

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

“This is such an awesome place to have fun and be creative! That have so many options and the staff is so helpful and attentive!” -Karen

Visit The Mud Room

More winners…

1- The Mud Room

2- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

3- ARTengage!

4- Brush Studio

5- TIE – Cookies & Canvas

5- TIE – Paint a Pot (Holland)

7- Accidental Art (Rockford)

8- Captured in Clay (Hudsonville)

9- TIE-Kendall College of Art and Design

9- TIE- YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids


More winners…

*Our initial publication contained an error. This post has been updated to reflect the correct order of winners.

1- Goldfish Swim School

2- ISR (Infant Swimming Resources) – Michael Petrella (Belmont, Grandville, Spring Lake)

3- Julie’s Swim School (Byron Center, Grandville, Holland)

4- Angel Swimmers – Michele Davis (Byron Center, Caledonia)

5- Miss Rita’s Swim School (Grandville)

6- The Salvation Army Kroc Center

7- YMCA – David D. Hunting

8- YMCA – Mary Free Bed

9- YMCA – Spartan Stores (Wyoming)

10- YMCA – Wolverine Worldwide Family (Belmont)


sponsored listing

Salvation Army Kroc Center

2500 S. Division, Grand Rapids, 49507 | 616-588-7200 | FACEBOOK 

The Kroc Center offers the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program using certified instructors. This program helps children learn the fundamentals of swimming and water safety through learning critical water skills.



More winners…

1- Hearts in Motion

2- Grand Rapids Ballet

3- Caledonia Dance & Music Center

4- Turning Pointe School of Dance (Holland)

5- Kathy’s Dance Co. (Hudsonville)

6- HIS Dance Academy

7- Body Language Dance Company (Jenison)

8- TIE-Ada Dance Academy

9- TIE-Dance Dimensions

10- Gymco

sponsored listing

Caledonia Dance & Music Center

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

“We love Caledonia Dance Center because of the excellent teachers and strong programs. Their class offerings are perfect for every age and ability level, even offering an “all boys” class.” Rebecca S.

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!



More winners…

1- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

2- Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

3- Kent District Library Music Programs (Multiple locations in Kent County)

4- Grand Rapids Symphony

5- Gymboree Play & Music

6- Academy of Music in Grand Rapids

7- Kindermusik with Miss Leigh (Allendale)

8- St. Cecilia Music Center

9-TIE – Franciscan Life Process Center (Lowell)

9- TIE – Joyful Sounds Music Studio


More winners…

1- East Grand Rapids Branch – Kent District Library

2- Cascade Township Branch – Kent District Library

3- Caledonia Township Branch – Kent District Library

4- Grandville Branch – Kent District Library

5- Herrick District Library (Holland)

6- TIE – Plainfield Township Branch- Kent District Library

6- TIE – Wyoming Branch – Kent District Library

8- Main Library – Grand Rapids Public Library

9- TIE – Kentwood Branch – Kent District Library

9- TIE – Byron Township Branch- Kent District Library

9- TIE – Walker Branch – Kent District Library


More winners…

1- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

2- Critter Barn (Zeeland)

3- Blandford Nature Center

4- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

5- Binder Park Zoo (Battle Creek)

6- John Ball Zoo

7- Post Family Farm (Hudsonville)

8- Dairy Discovery – Swiss Lane Farms (Alto)

9- Grand Rapids Public Museum

10- Schwallier’s Country Basket (Sparta)


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 Playground/Park
  • Outdoor Venue/Experience
  • Beach
  • Water Play Place (splash pad, pool)
  • Indoor Play Place


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- Cascade Township Park

7- John Ball Park

8- Fallasburg Park (Lowell)

9- Maplewood Park (Georgetown Twp.)

10- TIE – Allendale Community Park

10- TIE – Rosewood Park (“Charlie’s Dump” in Jenison)


More winners…

1- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

2- John Ball Zoo

3- Blandford Nature Center

4- Critter Barn (Zeeland)

5- TIE – West Michigan Whitecaps

5- TIE – Klackle Orchards (Greenville)

7- Millennium Park (Walker)

8- Craig’s Cruisers (Wyoming)

9- Nelis’ Dutch Village (Holland)

10- Koetsier’s Greenhouse

sponsored listings

Klackle Orchards

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

Nelis’ Dutch Village

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

Head to Dutch Village for educational family fun with a Dutch flair! Your family will learn about Dutch culture while enjoying fun rides, visiting the petting zoo, watching Dutch dancing and MUCH more!



More winners…

1- Grand Haven State Park

2- Holland State Park

3- North Beach Public Park (South Haven)

4- Millennium Park (Walker)

5- Tunnel Park (Holland)

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

7- Duck Lake State Park (Muskegon)

8- Grand Haven City Beach

9- Oval Beach (Saugatuck)

10- Kirk Park (West Olive)


More winners…

1- Millennium Park Beach & Splash Pad (Walker)

2- Michigan’s Adventure Water Park (Muskegon)

3- Holland Community Aquatic Center

4- Frederik Meijer Gardens – Great Lakes Garden

5- Maplewood Park Splashpad (Jenison)

6- The Salvation Army Kroc Center

7- Lamar Park Splash Pad (Wyoming)

8- Goldfish Swim School

9- Allendale Splash Pad 

10- TIE – YMCA – David D. Hunting

10- TIE – YMCA – Spartan Stores (Wyoming)

sponsored listing

Salvation Army Kroc Center

2500 S. Division, Grand Rapids, 49507 | 616-588-7200 | FACEBOOK

The Kroc Center pool includes a large water slide, water basketball area, lazy river, splash pad, and toddler play area. View open swim times at



More winners…

1- Catch Air (Kentwood)

2- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

3- Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena (Jenison)

4- Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park (Kentwood)

5- For the Kidz Gymnastics (Wyoming))

6- Airtime Trampoline & Game Park

7- Jester’s Court (Walker)

8- TIE – RiverTown Crossings Play Area (Grandville) 

8- TIE – Chick-fil-A Play Area

10- TIE – ARTengage!

10- TIE – Chuck E. Cheese’s (Kentwood and Walker)

sponsored listing

Jester’s Court

3707 Northridge Dr NW | 616-784-5437 | FACEBOOK 

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.

VISIT jester’s court


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 Venue
  • Daycare Center


More winners…

1- ArtPrize

2-  Butterflies are Blooming – Frederik Meijer Gardens

3- National Night Out (Multiple Locations)

4- Zoo Goes Boo! – John Ball Zoo

5- TIE – Hudsonville Community Fair

5- TIE – Coast Guard Festival (Grand Haven)

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

8- Tulip Time (Holland)

9- Festival of the Arts

10- TIE – Cascade Township 4th of July Celebration 

10- TIE – Kent County Youth Fair (Lowell)


More winners…

1- Northstar Gymnastics (Rockford)

2- Catch Air (Kentwood)

3- TIE – Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park (Alto)

3- TIE – For the Kidz Gymnastics (Wyoming)

5- Craig’s Cruisers (Wyoming)

6- Rebounderz (Jenison)

7- Chuck E. Cheese’s (Kentwood and Walker)

8- Sky Zone (Kentwood)

9- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

10- The Mud Room

sponsored listing

Catch Air

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

Catch Air is your birthday party destination! Let us do the work while you relax and play with your kids in our 18,000 square foot safe, clean and fun facility!

VISIT Catch Air


More winners…

1- AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

2- Milestones Child Development Center (Belmont, Caledonia, Cascade)

3- Rainbow Child Care Center of Grand Rapids (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

4- Big Steps Little Feet (Ada)

5- Orchard Hill Christian Preschool & Child Care

6- YMCA – Spartan Stores (Wyoming)

7- TIE – Freedom Early Learning Center (Jenison)

7- TIE – Adventures Learning Centers (Caledonia & Kentwood)

7- TIE – Tutor Time (Grand Rapids & Jenison)

10- Treehouse Child Care – Grandville Public Schools

sponsored listing

Adventures Learning Centers

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

The journey down the road to kindergarten is full of adventures, exploration, new discoveries, investigations, problem solving, and curiosity! While there is no exact formula to determine if your child is truly ready for kindergarten, there are multiple steps we use to help prepare them, with your help! All children learn at different levels. Young children learn so fast that while they may not be able to do something one week, their skills may grow a couple of weeks later.

Our kindergarten readiness begins in the earliest years (Infant, Wobbler, Waddler and Toddler Rooms) and builds each year into our Preschool and Pre-K classrooms (Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow Rooms) that prepare children for success in school. With this program, we are confident that each child will have an early education foundation that instills confidence, knowledge and self-assurance; giving them the building blocks for success and a lifelong love of learning.

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

VISIT Adventures Learning Centers


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:

  • Restaurant for Families
  • Candy Store
  • Ice Cream Shop


More winners…

1- Russ’ Restaurant (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

2- The Corner Bar (Rockford)

3- Uccello’s Ristorante (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

4- Downtown Market

5- Brann’s Steakhouse & Sports Grille (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

6- Bagger Dave’s (Cascade & Grand Rapids)

7- Peppino’s Sports Grill & Pizzeria (Allendale, Grand Rapids & Kentwood)

8- Tom + Chee (Grandville)

9- Big Bob’s Pizza (East Grand Rapids)

10- TIE – Vitale’s of Ada

10- TIE – Marie Catrib’s

sponsored listing

Tom + Chee

3060 44th Street Grandville, MI 49418 | 616-531-9900 | FACEBOOK

Grilled CHEEse & TOMato soup for the kid at heart, mixing classic comfort food with varied ingredients, healthy alternatives, and exciting combinations.

VISIT tom + chee



More winners…

1- Holland Peanut Store

2- Jersey Junction (East Grand Rapids)

3- Sweetland Candies (Plainfield)

4- Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream  (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

5- Cosmic Candy (Pentwater)

6- Sweet Tooth of Rockford

7- TIE – Albertus Koeze & Company – Gourmet Nuts (Grand Rapids & Wyoming)

7- TIE – Krissy’s Kandies (Grand Haven)

9- Lakeside Emporium (Muskegon)

10- Something Sweet (Allegan)


More winners…

1- Captain Sundae (Holland)

2- Jersey Junction (East Grand Rapids)

3- Hudsonville Ice Cream at Hudsonville Lanes

4- The Pump House (Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Rockford)

5- Spoonlickers (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

6- Frosty Boy Ice Cream (Cascade)

7- Houseman’s Ice Cream (Byron Center)

8- Burlingame Dip and Dogs (Wyoming)

9- Brink’s Ice Cream Express (Caledonia)

10- Furniture City Creamery


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


More winners…

1- Once Upon a Child (Wyoming)

2- Once Upon a Child (Alpine)

3- Village Kids Consignment (Ada)

4- littlePosh Consignment Boutique

5- Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids (Multiple Locations in West Michigan)

6- The Hive (Holland)

7- Peek a Boutique (Holland)

8- Africa’s Child


More winners…

1- NE Grand Rapids MOPS Consignment Sale

2- Just Between Friends (JBF) Sale

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

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

5- Thornapple MOPS Sale

6- Holland Mom2Mom Sale

7- Orchard Hill Mom2Mom sale

sponsored listing

Just Between Friends

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

We’re West Michigan’s largest children/maternity consignment event! Save 50-90% off retail and make some cash by clearing cluttered closets. It’s where savvy shoppers come to find some of the best deals in town!



More winners…

1- Tip Toes (Holland)

2- Village Kids Consignment Boutique (Ada)

3- Hopscotch Children’s Store

4- littlePosh Consignment Boutique

5- EcoBuns Baby & Co. (Holland)

6- TIE – Sassy Pants Baby & Children’s Boutique (Rockford)

6- TIE – Pink Lemonade Boutique (East Grand Rapids)

8- Snapdragon Boutique (East Grand Rapids)

9- Aberdeen’s (Grand Haven)

10- Matilda Jane 


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.


More winners…

1- Junia Studios  (Hudsonville)

2- Brooke Collier Photography

3- Jules K Photography

4-TIE- Whitney Leigh Photography (Spring Lake)

4-TIE- Abby Jayne Photography

6- Kerri Jenison Photography

7- deVries Photography (Zeeland)

8- TIE – POSH Photography

8- TIE – Marie Clark Photography

8- TIE – Erin Alies Photography

8- TIE – Kate Morrow Photograph

sponsored listing

Jules K Photography

859 Orchard Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 | 616-446-5621

VISIT jules k photography

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Best Grand Rapids Everything Grandtastic tall



By | 2018-03-09T23:15:14+00:00 May 8th, 2017|Categories: Grandtastic Award, Guides, Parent Info, Parenting Resources, Play Date, Real Life|Tags: |0 Comments

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