Find the Best Things to do with Kids in Grand Rapids and Beyond
Finding family things to do, whether with toddlers, tweens, teens, kids or adults isn’t always easy.
If you use this curated list of things to do with kids in Grand Rapids, though, you’ll be on your way to exploring West Michigan like a pro. Find details on family fun events, activities, and local attractions right here.
Playing on one of GR’s Hidden Gems, Lorrie’s Button
Menu: things to do with kids
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Find Things to Do With Kids Today & This Weekend
Looking for events happening right now?
Our Event Calendar is up-to-date and loaded with fun things to do with kids.
Packed with all the local family fun for today, tomorrow, and in the future, it’s ready for you!
Look at the weekend roundup, too. Every Wednesday, we post our top things to do for the weekend. Want things to do with kids for Friday, Saturday or Sunday? This is a great bet.
Popular Things to Do with Kids in West Michigan
Take a look at our list of things to do with kids in West Michigan and you’ll be sure to find a thing or two (or ten) that you just have to try with the kids – and soon!
Let’s start with a few of the most popular family things to do in the area:
Head to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is an expansive indoor/outdoor art park dedicated to sculpture, education, performance, and botanicals. This worth-the-drive destination contains over 150 acres of fun for every age.
As far as things to do with kids, be sure to enjoy the giant treehouse and the Great Lakes water feature, both in the Children’s Garden.
Treehouse in the Children’s Garden
While you’re here, stop by the Michigan Farm Garden to check on the animal sculptures, try the water handpump, and see how the crops are coming along.
A stroll through the contemplative Japanese Garden is a nice change of pace, too.
Round out your day with a visit to the wetlands, sculpture walk, indoor art gallery, or tropical conservatory. These are just a sampling of the must-see attractions at this stunning destination.
The Tropical Conservatory at Meijer Gardens
Throughout the year, Meijer Gardens plays host to featured events that draw thousands of visitors.
Spend a day at John Ball Zoo
1300 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Kids will go ape over the Grand Rapids Zoo. The aquarium, petting zoo, lions, tigers, bears, red pandas, penguins and meerkats are always a hit with families.
Add to that an adventure ropes course, zip line experience, and gem mining and you’ve found one of the fun places for kids in West Michigan.
You can easily spend an entire day at John Ball Zoo.
With loads of animals and attractions like the petting zoo, aquarium, Monkey Island, zipline, and ropes course, this is a destination to visit with the kids over and over… and over again!
And be on the lookout for special events like the Grand Rapids Lantern Festival for even more fun.
Get Serious About Play at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
GRCM packs a big punch throughout its two floors of fun!
The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum features a bubble station, a treehouse, and a “Little GR” village where kids can shop at a pint-sized Meijer and even make their own Buddy’s Pizza.
No matter when you visit you can bet you’ll encounter a stellar exhibit that spreads throughout the museum. Exhibits cycle through regularly, so every visit is a new adventure.
A visit to the Children’s Museum is one of the all time favorite things to do with children in Grand Rapids.
Race Go Karts or Bounce off the Walls at a Local Family Fun Center
From go kart races to virtual reality games you’ll find everything you need at any one of these family fun centers.
Craig’s Cruisers – 5730 Clyde Park Ave SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
BattleGR – 284 Dodge NE Suite 100, Comstock Park, MI 49321
Rebounderz – 7500 Cottonwood Dr, Jenison, MI 49428
Urban Air – 12331 James St, Holland, MI 49424
Outdoor go karts at Craig’s Cruisers
Hop in a bumper boat, have a laser tag battle, or explore the trampoline park, foam pits, and arcades.
Laser Tag at BattleGR
Whatever you choose, these family fun centers have you covered from all sides!
Trampoline and foam pit at Rebounderz
Weather not so great? Keep it real at one of the local Indoor Playgrounds.
Get Inspired at Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
A public museum visit might not be on your things-to-do-with-kids radar, but be assured: the Grand Rapids Public Museum is a blast for the whole family.
Between the historic carousel, the planetarium, scavenger hunt, and interactive exhibits, every kid and adult will be happy they came.
Discover more museums and fun things for kids with this local museums list.
Make a Splash at the Holland Aquatic Center
550 Maple Ave, Holland, MI 49423
Indoor play has never been more fun than it is at Holland Aquatic Center. This is among our favorite indoor pools to visit.
With a splash zone that has water cannons, a tire swing and a 3-story slide measuring 150 feet tall, your adventurous water-loving kid is going to love this one! And we’re willing to bet that you will, too.
Play Old School Arcade Games
Want to give your kids a glimpse of your childhood? These family-friendly retro arcades let you take them there!
Pinball Land in Rockford
Play all of the classic arcade games you remember along with some newer options. One thing’s for sure – whether you choose a classic game or a new one, your kids will see you in a fun new light after this journey back in time.
Free Things to do with Kids in Grand Rapids and Beyond
Free fun things to do with kids around Grand Rapids are available in every season
- Free Fall Family Fun
- Summer Free Activities for Kids
- Free Spring Activities
- Christmas Free Things to Do
Plus, many restaurants offer kids eat free or cheap times throughout the week.
Up for a road trip? Check out 101 free things to do with kids in Michigan.
Uncover the Hidden Gems of Downtown Grand Rapids
Downtown needs to be on your list of West Michigan activities!
Use this easy-to-follow walking tour to find places in Downtown Grand Rapids that you might not otherwise discover, like the giant tire swing right around the corner from the Calder. It’s all found on this 2.5 miles Downtown GR Urban Gems Hike.
Make Your Own Mural Crawl
Murals are painted up high, down low, and just about every where you go.
Finding murals is one of the rather unexpected things to do with kids, but it’s a whole lotta fun. Some are even interactive, like the rainbow bench mural in downtown.
Get Creative at The Mud Room
1971 E Beltline Ave NE Suite 103, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Fun things for kids are happening at The Mud Room.
Paint your own pottery, take pottery wheel classes, or make a glass fusing project. Walk in hours are posted on their website.
Things to do with Kids: Toddlers, Preschoolers & Babies
Navgating life with babies, toddlers and preschoolers is synonymous with asking “what can we do with the kids today?” Never fear!
Toddler activities and more are staples in our community, just waiting to be discovered.
Make a Beeline for the Library
Run, don’t walk, to your area’s best library for kids. The East Grand Rapids branch of KDL (746 Lakeside Dr SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506) is one of our favorites. Let the kids read, learn, and play.
No need to keep the kiddos quiet here, the children’s library section gets its own floor, and it’s jam-packed with a great book selection, toys of all kinds, fish and turtle aquariums, crafts, and games. Be sure to check their calendar, too, for events like Storytime or Music and Movement.
Sign up for a Mommy & Me Class
Fun things for kids can involve adults, too! Businesses regularly offer gymnastics, swim lessons, music classes, art classes, and movement based classes for kids and their caregivers. Sometimes called mommy & me classes, these are open to a child and their caregiver regardless of family status.
Visit a Play Cafe with the Younger Kids
Play cafes have become a sanity saver for many a caregiver in Grand Rapids, and for good reason.
These businesses let you take toddlers and younger kids somewhere fun, stimulating, and engaging while you get to relax in a comfy chair with a delicious cup of coffee. Think the ultimate playroom meets your comfy living room — with craft coffee beverages!
EverPlay Cafe in Cascade
One of the best things about these places is that they’re constantly cycling in new toys, so the kids can enjoy something new at every visit.
Spring Things to Do with Kids
Put away the winter gear and enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan with these unforgettable springtime activities.
The hardest things about a staycation in Grand Rapids is deciding just what spring break activity should come next!
See the Butterflies
The Meijer Gardens Butterflies are one of the first signs of spring in the area. We’re always excited to see the calendar turn to March 1, marking the annual exhibit’s opening day.
Meijer Gardens Butterflies run March 1 through April 30
Easter Egg Hunts
Generally held the two weekends leading up to Easter, Egg Hunts are one of the springtime’s most sought-after things to do with kids in West Michigan.
Rainy Day Things to Do
Stuff to do with kids can be a little tricky when the weather doesn’t cooperate. No worries! It might be wet and wild outside, but West Michigan activites are up to the task. Take your pick from this list of local fun things for kids on a rainy day.
Put the Holland Tulip Festival on Your Calendar
Travel to Holland for a magical Spring experience unlike any other. For eight days in the month of May, Tulip Time takes over the Dutch-themed enclave. With over six million tulips on display, this event is a must-see adventure for kids and adults.
Windmill Island Gardens in Holland
In addition to the stunning tulip gardens scattered all throughout the city, Holland is a great host to its hundreds of thousands of visitors as it offers delicious local dining, breweries with craft beers, a top-notch shopping district, and atmosphere that can’t be beat.
Frolic Among the Spring Wildflowers at Aman Park
Tucked away in NW Grand Rapids is this charming hiking trail that comes to life in springtime.
When the flowers start to bloom at Aman Park (1859 Lake Michigan Dr, Grand Rapids, MI 49534) after a long winter, it’s time to take the family out for a magical nature hike through the wildflowers.
Trillium flowers at Aman Park
Find trillium and bluebells along the trail, as well as bridges and stick forts that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale forest.
We suggest visiting early April through Mid-May for the best flower frolicking experience.
Things to Do with Kids in the Summer
Summer is short and sweet in Michigan and we work hard to pack in as much fun as time allows.
Lakes, beaches, outdoor play, and time spent together are on the docket every summer. This list of all the summertime things to do with kids in Grand Rapids (and on the Lakeshore) is your ticket to West Michigan summer fun.
It’s true. We’re spoiled by the sugar sand beaches of Lake Michigan. And we’re not angry about it.
Summer camps give kids a chance to try out new sports and activities while making new friends. They come in all shapes and sizes so there’s several your for your child, will want to try!
Climbing at Adventure Point Summer Camp
Find a Festival or Fair
Have some fun with kids at summer festivals and fairs. Spending a day – or even a weekend – at a fair or festival riding carnival rides, eating funnel cake, or attending concerts on the fairgrounds is a memorable way to have family fun.
Go Camping or Glamping
Play Putt Putt and Race Go Karts
Have fun with your family at an outdoor amusement center!
Choose from mini-golf (putt putt,) practicing your skills in a batting cage, zipping through the trees at an outdoor adventure park, racing go-karts, riding roller coasters, or having too much fun on the bumper cars.
Things to Do with Kids Outside
Outdoor recreation opportunities in Grand Rapids are everywhere. Here are just a few of your options:
Paddle & Float
Play Disc Golf
Grab your discs and visit one of many disc golf (or Frisbee golf) courses in the region.
Try a New Park
Parks and playgrounds can be enjoyed in different ways all year.
No matter where you are in West Michigan, you can be sure to say that there are dozens of things to do with kids where you can be active and enjoy family fun.
Take a Hike
Hiking trails abound in West Michigan, making this one of the free and easy things to do with kids.
Want to chill out with the gang? Hang your hammock in one of these great hammocking spots.
Discover the Millennium Park Beach & Splash Pad, Boats, Trails & Playground
With over 1,400 acres to explore, you’ll want to plan multiple trips to Kent County Park’s crown jewel, Millennium Park, in order to experience everything they have to offer.
Visitors enjoy here are relaxing on the beach, letting the kids romp around the splash pad, renting a kayak at the boathouse, visiting the many playgrounds, fishing off the boardwalk, and exploring 18 miles of trails.
Splash pad at Millennium Park
At the Millennium Park Boathouse, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, row boats and paddleboats are all available by the hour at reasonable hourly rates.
Millennium Park Beach
Make it a North Beach Park Beach Day
A Lake Michigan beach day is a must while in West Michigan.
We like North Beach Park (18775 N Shore Dr, Ferrysburg, MI 49409) because it’s a hidden gem and is not as busy as the nearby Grand Haven State Park beach.
With 745 feet of shoreline along Lake Michigan there’s plenty of room to spread out, sit back, and relax on the sugar-sand beach.
Take a hike on one of the trails, let the kids play on the large playground, and end your day by climbing the stair trail up the dune to catch a view of the sunset over Lake Michigan.
Wondering what to do with the kids?
Load up in the car and jet off to see all sorts of amazing creatures up close at local animal farms & petting zoos. Many of these destinations, you can pet, feed, and maybe even hold an animal for even more adventure.
Deer Tracks Junction
Deer Tracks Junction (7850 14 Mile Rd NE, Cedar Springs, MI 49319) is home to deer, elk, pigs, goats, bunnies, donkeys, cows, camels, yaks. It’s an absolute dream for anyone who loves interacting with animals.
Plan to spend a couple hours here to give yourself time to visit all the different animals, and even feed a few! And don’t miss the unique play structures for kids and the homemade ice cream.
Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park
With over 1,500 animals, 180 species, and many rare and endangered animals, Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park (8313 Pratt Lake Ave SE, Alto, MI 49302) is definitely not just another zoo.
Let the kids’ imaginations run wild while they pan for gold in the river.
Make a giraffe friend and feed him a lettuce leaf or two. Go behind-the-scenes and get up close and personal with some animals in the VIP Animal Encounter – new to the 2023 season.
Take in the Great Outdoors at Blandford Nature Center
Looking for things to do with kids that will feed their curiosity and sense of adventure? Blandford Nature Center has entered the chat!
Blandford shows off Michigan’s wetlands, forests, and meadows on its 260 acres of land and gives guests eight miles of trails to see it all.
Take a trail to The Farm to let the kids play on a farm-themed playscape and say hello to some friendly sheep, goats, and chickens.
The Visitors Center gives an up-close view of rehabilitated animals, and, if you’re lucky, you may even encounter a wild animal on your hike!
Educational and entertaining events are on the calendar regularly at this venue. Sugarbush is an annual favorite.
Take Them To a Ball Game – a Whitecaps Game
Taking the family out to a Whitecaps baseball game at LMCU Ballpark (4500 W River Dr NE, Comstock Park, MI 49321) is the perfect way to spend a Michigan summer day.
I wasn’t into sports as a kid, but I loved going to baseball games with my family, and I still cherish the memories made.
In addition to rooting for the home team, let the kids run around at the Meijer Hometown Playground located on the first-base side of the field.
Check the calendar for a theme night (princesses, superheroes, and Harry Potter to name a few) or a post-game fireworks show. Don’t forget to grab something to eat – the ballpark offers delicious food for every appetite.
Visit East Grand Rapids for Ice Cream & Reed’s Lake Parks
If you find yourself at EGR Library on a nice day, be sure to venture outside for a beautiful view of Reed’s Lake.
A walk around the lake is just over 4 miles and is a mixture of paved paths and boardwalks, making it perfect for families with kids.
Waterfront Park at Reeds Lake
End your walk at John Collins Park for a nice stretch or lunch break, and don’t forget to walk to the iconic Jersey Junction for a post-hike ice cream cone.
Play Putt Putt and Get Ice Cream at Captain Sundae
365 Douglas Avenue, Holland, Michigan 49424
Has there ever been a more fun combo than ice cream and putt putt?
Holland’s Captain Sundae invites you to search for stolen treasure as you play 18 pirate-themed holes. Afterward, stop inside to grab a delicious ice cream treat.
Their most popular item is the Tommy Turtle Sundae. We give it a full 10/10.
Hang Out at Lamar Park
Enjoy a peaceful picnic lunch by the pond, take advantage of the splash pad and playgrounds, or go on a nature scavenger hunt along the walking paths at Wyoming’s Lamar Park (2561 Porter St SW, Wyoming, MI 49519).
There are plenty of activities to get up to here with courts and fields for basketball, tennis, and soccer, as well as fishing in the pond.
Stop by on the right night and you might even experience a live music concert at the grandstand.
Swim in Richmond Pool
1101 Richmond St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Located on Grand Rapids’ northwest side, Richmond Park features one of the best public pools in the area for family fun.
Big kids love the waterslide, while younger kids stay safe in the zero-depth entry end of the pool which features a mushroom fountain. Concessions are available if you work up an appetite.
Coast Guard Festival
113 N 2nd St, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Every year the city of Grand Haven honors our United States Coast Guard servicemen and women with this incredible 10-day festival.
Hundreds of thousands of people visit this festival each year to experience the parade of ships, firework show, carnival, craft fair, and even tours through a real Coast Guard ship.
There’s no better way to enjoy a summer festival with the family and also honor those who serve.
Load up on All of the Fall Fun Things to do with Kids
Apples and pumpkins and donuts, oh my! Be swept away this fall by these perennial autumn family favorites.
Every year as the weather gets chillier and Halloween creeps closer, pumpkin patches pick up foot traffic from families looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve. Nowadays this is an event that goes beyond just browsing pumpkins.
There is something magical about the cool air, changing colors, shorter days, and the oh-so-good food this time of year (fresh cider and homemade donuts, please).
Like the fall farms, most pumpkin patches offer all kinds of kid friendly activities like corn mazes, hayrides, and playscapes, as well as market centers full of farm-fresh jams, produce, and baked goods.
Dunneback & Girls Farm or Robinette’s Apple Haus
Trips to the farm to pick apples, drink cider, and eat donuts are the hallmark of fall in West Michigan.
Locals know that Ed Dunneback and Robinette’s are Michigander staples for these fall fun activities.
Fall at Dunneback & Girls Farm
Families love the hayrides, playground areas, and corn mazes.
Adding to the fun: each of these farms operates a market filled with those must-have tasty treats, and even a selection of alcoholic beverages for adults.
Before you leave be sure to say hello to the animals in the petting zoo!
Every September and October artists from around the world flock to Downtown Grand Rapids to display their works of art on the streets, in windows, on bridges and even in the river.
ArtPrize goers hunt for artworks both big and small and vote for their favorites, and winning artists receive cash prizes.
It’s a great opportunity for the family to get out, spend time together, and explore downtown GR in a whole new way.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — don’t miss the wonder in your kids’ eyes with these West Michigan activities!
Drive around look at the best neighborhood Christmas lights by following one of our light trails.
Meijer Gardens Christmas Trees
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
If you’ve never been to Meijer Gardens in the winter, you’re in for a treat!
Explore 46 intricately decorated trees and displays, each representing a different country or culture, and don’t be surprised if you learn something new along the way.
There’s nothing sweeter than watching kids’ faces light up in wonder over Christmas lights and decorations, and Meijer Gardens definitely delivers.
Grand Rapids Ballet performs at DeVos Performance Hall – 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Take your little ballerina to The Nutcracker for a classic and fun Christmas experience.
Since The Nutcracker is a story about kids, the audience is usually full of young boys and girls, so it’s a great place to take your kids to their first live performance.
It’s also a great way to kick off the Christmas season since performances usually start at the beginning of December.
306 Main St, Coopersville, MI 49404
If The Polar Express is on your annual Christmas movie list, you need to experience the Santa Train.
The Friends of Coopersvile and Marne Railway play host to Santa and his friends as he travels from the North Pole to Michigan to ride this train with your kids.
Throughout the ride guests are treated to stories and even a picture with the Big Guy himself.
Tubing at Cannonsburg
6800 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Belmont, MI 49306
Cannonsburg Ski and Ride Area is one of our favorite spots to go tubing for so many reasons.
Fly down the hill without worry of dragging the tube back up to the top – just ride the “magic carpet” lift back up!
Tubing is always a fun way to get the family out and playing together during those cold winter months, and Cannonsburg is the perfect spot for it.
Watch a Hometown Griffins Hockey Game
Grand Rapids Griffins hockey games are a hoot.
Star Wars Night at the Grand Rapids Griffins
Regular theme nights, crowd entertainment between plays, and delicious food and beverages make this a fun night out for the whole family.
Wondering “where is family fun near me?”
Day trips are the best ways to encourage family bonding and make lifelong memories. Check out these destinations that are sure to please even your grumpiest kiddo.
Want even more things to do with kids around the state? Dive into the Kids Activities, Field Trips & Fun Places in Michigan guide!
Lake Arvesta Waterpark
06464 Arvesta Drive, South Haven, MI 49090
Between the giant floating obstacle courses, wakeboarding, hillside waterslides, tubing, and kayak and paddleboard rentals, an adventure for kids and families is waiting for you at Lake Arvesta Farms.
This place is especially fun for competitive kids. Challenge them to a game of disc golf or a race through the obstacle course.
But even if you’re not into all that, the beach is still there for a relaxing sunbath or cooling dip in the water.
Lewis Adventure Farm & Zoo
4180 M-20, New Era, MI 49446
Don’t let the name fool you – this place is way more than just a farm! The 700 acres that make up Lewis Adventure Farm & Zoo is jam-packed with more things than we can mention here.
Have an animal lover? Hop on over to the petting zoo, and even sign up for a hands-on animal encounter.
Need a place for the kids’ energy to burn out? Zoom around on a pedal cart, slide down the giant hillside slide, brave the obstacle course, and explore the playground.
If you need something a little more low-key, enjoy a ride on the barrel train or carousel, have sensory play in the corn barn, and try a wide variety of foods at the Market.
6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002
This Smithsonian-affiliated museum is chock-full of aircraft, spacecraft, hands-on exhibits, art, flight simulators, and even an indoor amusement park!
There is plenty to learn and enjoy here for both kids and adults. Explore both the Flight Innovation Center and the Flight Discovery Center to find interactive displays that encourage STEAM learning.
For those that love things that fly, for those that love history, and for those that love a day full of fun, this is the perfect spot.
439 River St, Allegan, MI 49010
Adventure-seekers flock to Allegan Event – home of Michigan’s largest indoor ropes course.
Strap on a full-body harness and take on the ropes and zipline course, climb a quirky rock wall, play the arcade, or challenge your teen to a maze race.
Bring the little ones with you and let them have their own adventure on the SkyTykes ropes course that sits three feet off the ground.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, they’ve got you covered with pizza, hot dogs, chicken strips and more.
Gilmore Car Museum
6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, MI 49060
Classic cars, a retro diner, historic buildings, and over 190,000 square feet of exhibit space make the Gilmore Car Museum a must-see for families of all kinds.
More than 400 vehicles on display take you on a journey of America via the auto industry. As the largest auto museum in North America, your vehicle obsessed kid – or partner – will not be disappointed.
And if you just can’t pry yourself away, Gilmore offers on-site camping for an overnight stay you’re bound to remember for years to come.
St. Joseph, MI
St. Joseph is synonymous with quaint, idyllic, Lake Michigan towns.
Enjoy sand and sun at Silver Beach, splash around at the Compass Fountain, ride the charming Silver Beach Carousel, and end your day with a beautiful view of the sunset over Lake Michigan.
Don’t forget to try a local restaurant – it’s home-cooked food at its best!
Silver Beach Compass Fountain
133 Fitzgerald Park Dr., Grand Ledge, MI 48837
Fitzgerald Park and the Ledges: Take the family on a hike to see these amazing 300-million-year-old sandstone rock formations that take up nearly five miles along the Grand River.
Gaze in wonder at Mother Nature as she shows off some of her most spectacular features along this hike. Some of the ledges even measure up to 60 feet above the Grand River!
This hike is a great memory-maker for families of all sizes. Bring your sense of adventure and let nature do the rest.
Map of Family Fun things to do
Family Fun things to do near me
So Much to Do, But Which One to Choose?
West Michigan is a great place to raise a family, and an even better place to have fun with your family.
From ropes courses to beaches to train rides, take your pick of adventures and watch the memories make themselves.
What are some of your favorites from this list? Have other favorites that didn’t make our list? Drop them in the comments below!