Want to give your kids the classic Grand Rapids childhood? Try to hit as many things on this list as you can!
There’s something unique about West Michigan that you can’t reproduce anywhere else. No one else has ArtPrize or the Big Red Button. I don’t know of any other grocery stores that have Sandy the Penny Horse. I bet we have the only weather ball, and I KNOW that we have the only true Santa Claus.
These are the unique experiences that every Grand Rapids kids should be able to brag doing when they go off to college or move out of state. It’s what makes Grand Rapids seem so special to the world.
Take a day trip to John Ball Zoo! Visit meerkats, tigers, chimpanzees, penguins, red pandas, otters, and more. Plus, don’t miss BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise – featuring over 40 life-sized animal sculptures created with over 1.8 million individually colored toy building bricks!
Receive dozens of butterfly kisses in the spring when the Fred & Dorothy Fichter annual exhibit Butterflies Are Blooming comes to Frederik Meijer Gardens.
2) Meet John Ball & his Zoo of Friends
Strike a pose on one of the most photographed sculptures in the city when you visit John Ball Zoo. Then head on inside for a day with the lions, tiger, red pandas, meerkats and more. Be sure to ride the funicular and try their mason jar sundaes.
Learn the Channel 13 Weather Ball rhyme and always get a quick weather report when you drive near the 131-96 interchange. “Weather ball red: warmer ahead. Weather ball blue: cooler in view. Weather ball green: no change foreseen. Colors blinking bright: rain or snow in sight.”
26) Drive Your Boat in the Great Lakes at FMG
Set sail, learn about the Great Lakes, and maybe get a wee bit wet, when you play at Children’s Garden withinFrederik Meijer Gardens.
27) Visit Our Presidential Museum – the Gerald R. Ford
Learn about our very own hometown President and take a gander at a replica Oval Office at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.
Ride the 2-story slide at Rosewood Park while you wait for your turn at the annual Saturday Slip-N-Slide event at Charlie’s Dump each June. (Saturday slip-n-slide canceled for 2020, but the park is still open, along with the splash pad!)
30) Cross the Covered Bridge at Fallasburg Park
After you walk the bridge, hop on the stones to cross over the creek at Fallasburg Park and ride the triple tire swing at the playground.
April is a stay-at-home-working-mom hybrid who balances her time between managing a household and using her editor brain to find all the typos in her friends’ emails. In her occasional free time she enjoys reading, quilting, antiquing and photography. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three children.