Stay Cool with Kids when it’s Hot Outside

Free or Affordable & Air-Conditioned Places to Play in Grand Rapids

We’re in for some heavy heat over the next few days.

We’re lucky to have a lot of water options for cooling off, with local splash pads popping up across the region and beaches galore. But sometimes being outside takes it’s toll and you just want to chill out.

To help you and your kids stay cool in Grand Rapids, we’ve put together a list of free or affordable things to do in West Michigan during the big meltdown.

01 -Play Spaces & Programs at Local Libraries

Camping out at your local library or trying a new one is a great way to stay cool and check off boxes on your summer reading chart. The Main Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library has an area with dress up clothes, a play kitchen, LEGO bricks and more. The Cascade Township KDL branch is outfitted with a “Space Lab” and lots of activity bins. For photos of all of the area library play areas and a description of what each one offers, look here.

You’ll also want to check the Grand Rapids Kids event calendar for local library events. Magicians, drum circles, story time, LEGO clubs and more are happening all summer long all over the region and they’re all listed on our huge EVENT CALENDAR.

02 -Ice Skate at An Indoor Rink

What’s cooler than an indoor ice rink on a hot, hot day?

Here’s another in our list of cool things to do in West Michigan…

Three local ice rinks offer indoor lunch skates at various times throughout the week. At Griff’s Ice House, hit up lunchtime open skate. You can also find open ice skating at Patterson Ice Arena and Walker Ice Arena.

03 – Affordable Indoor Movies for Kids

Kid’s summer movies are just $1 at the Grand Haven 9, Kalamazoo 10, and Portage 16.

Shows are at 10 am and run through August 2, 2019.

RELATED: Grand Rapids Area Splash Pads and Water Playgrounds

04 – Play Area at Rivertown Crossings Malls

Head to the indoor treehouse at Rivertown Crossings – just be ready for a really fast slide!

I personally think the treehouse in the Grandville Mall is better suited for older kids (that slide is fast!) but you know your kids best. Oh, and don’t forget your socks!

05 – Storytimes + Play Areas at Local Bookstores

Schuler Books and Barnes and Noble locations both have children’s areas inside of their stores. Barnes and Noble also offers a themed children’s story time and activities. Most story times are at 11am on select Saturdays- check our event calendar for times, locations and details.

06 – McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A & Burger King Playlands

Make one of these restaurants your ice cream stop and get a side of playtime while you’re at it.

Don’t forget your socks!

Local restaurants with a playland include:

  • McDonald’s on Plainfield between 4 Mile and 5 Mile
  • McDonald’s on 28th and Michael
  • McDonald’s in Lowell on Main Street
  • Burger King on East Paris and 29th St.
  • Burger King on Northland North of Plainfield
  • Burger King on 44th West of 131
  • Chick-fil-A at 545 Edgeknoll Dr SE, Grand Rapids
  • Chick-fil-A at 700 54th St SW, Wyoming
  • Chick-fil-A at 2332 N Park Dr, Holland

07 – Indoor Play at Holland Playland

The Central Wesleyan Playland is a free resource for the Holland community.

Spring/Summer Hours April 8 – August 26

Mon / Tue / Wed: 9AM – 1PM
Fri: 9AM – 6PM
Sat: 9AM – 1PM

*Check website for schedule changes & unexpected closures

08 – Go Bowling – For Free!

Kids bowl free at a lot of lanes around the area, including Westgate Bowl in Comstock Park and Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, MI.

Be sure to sign up before you go and your child will get 2 free games of bowling each day your center participates.

More details here.

09 – Go Retro and Rollerskate!

Rollerblades or rollerskates, you can get groovy on a local roller rink and stay cool for just a few bucks.

Tarry Hall Roller Rink and Kentwood Fun Spot are two options for West Michigan families.

If you know of more affordable options we can add to this list, please leave a comment.

Thanks, and stay cool!

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