Grand Rapids Public Museum: A Fun Place for Everyone
If you’re looking for something cool to do in Grand Rapids, Michigan, give the Grand Rapids Public Museum a chance.
It’s not just for history buffs or adults; it’s a great spot for everyone from toddlers to adults. Expect to spend at least two hours exploring all three levels of the museum!
What to do at GRPM
The Grand Rapids Public Museum offers three floors of intriguing exhibits, each one different from the last. From the nostalgic “Streets of Old Grand Rapids” to brand-new exhibits that change all the time.
The museum is pretty open, so you can see the different floors just by looking over the railing when you’re up high. Oh, and don’t miss the awesome old clock tower—it’s something special.
A to Z Scavenger Hunt
Before you dive into the museum, consider picking up (or bringing along) the A-Z Scavenger Hunt. This scavenger hunt provides fun clues that guide you through the museum. Be sure to take a look at the Interactive Map as well; it’s a useful tool.
Here’s a sample:
A is for Auto: located near the entrance, this display of historic vehicles kicks off your visit.
D is for Dolls: This little alcove is packed with 438 dolls from the museum’s treasure trove, each telling its own story from a distant time or far-off land, complete with a “please touch” section.
First Floor: Take a Trip Back in Time and Ride a Carousel
The first floor will make you feel like you’ve time-traveled. It’s got this Streets of Old Grand Rapids exhibit that looks like the city from the 1890s.
In fact, if you’re lucky, you’ll find volunteers dressed in period clothing interpreting the streets of Old GR.
And don’t miss the 1928 Spillman Carousel.
It’s almost 100 years old and you can ride it for a dollar or two.
Second Floor: Discover the Universe and Grab a Bite
Ever want to travel to outer space? The Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium, named after GR’s very own hometown astronaut, is your ticket to the stars. They have different shows that dive into space, science, and even art! Tickets range from $2-$5/person.
When hunger strikes, the museum café is right next to the planetarium. It’s open 10 AM – 3 PM on weekdays and 10 AM – 5 PM on weekends, offering fresh food options, prepacked snacks, and drinks with a view of the Grand River.
Also on the second floor: the Corliss Steam Engine. Weighing over 30 tons, this behemoth offers a fascinating contrast to today’s miniaturized tech. Catch a glimpse from the second floor while pondering the leaps we’ve made in engineering and innovation.
Additional things to see on the second floor:
- Special exhibits
- Watch a Mighty Wurlitzer Organ concert in the Meijer Theater.
- See a mummy in the ancient Egypt exhibit.
- Explore historic Grand Rapids – via Lego displays during this seasonal exhibit.
Third Floor: Explore Local Nature, History & Special Exhibits
The top floor is where you can learn about the local nature and people of Michigan.
For the kids, there’s an interactive zone featuring a treehouse and animal footprints. Plus, you can discover the rich history of Grand Rapids and its original inhabitants, the Anishinaabe people, followed by the people that followed.
But the third floor has more than just local attractions; it’s also the home of special exhibits that sometimes roll into town. Whether you’re interested in seeing life-size dinosaur replicas or other unique displays, this is where you’ll find them. Some of these special exhibits do require a separate ticket, so make sure to check that out when planning your visit.
The museum’s travelling exhibit, Bugs, is here til February 4, 2024.
The Building Buddies Exhibit for kids opens January 20, 2024.
Field Trips at Grand Rapids Public Museum: Learning Made Fun
Planning a field trip? Put Grand Rapids Public Museum on your roster of possibilities. With three floors of engaging exhibits, there’s something here to spark curiosity in students of all ages.
- Exhibits: From local history to special rotating displays, the museum offers a variety of educational experiences. Don’t forget to check out the third floor for hands-on activities like a treehouse and special ticketed exhibits.
- Interactive Learning: Enhance the experience with the A-Z Museum Hunt, guiding students through the museum in a fun and educational way.
- Planetarium: Add a cosmic twist to your trip with a visit to GRPM’s state-of-the-art planetarium.
- Café: Take a break at the café with snacks or meals for your group
- Tickets: Group rates are available, and some exhibits require additional tickets.
For more info or to book your field trip, contact GRPM’s group services department.
Win Tickets to Grand Rapids Public Museum
Prize: We are giving away 3 general admission tickets to two lucky readers, just in time for their new exhibit, Bugs, opening October 14, 2023.
This giveaway will close on October 11, 2023, at 11 pm and the winners will be notified via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email accepting the prize. No purchase necessary to enter the contest. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to grkids.com and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used to enter the contest and notify winners. Entrants will release Facebook from all liability. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and reside in Michigan. Only one entry per household or IP address. Grand Rapids Kids’ liability is limited to the value of the prize.
How can I get into the Grand Rapids Public Museum for free?
Museums For All Program: If you receive SNAP benefits, you can visit for just $2 per person for up to four people. Just show your SNAP EBT card.
American Alliance of Museums Membership: AAM members can enter for free by showing their membership card.
GRCC Students & Faculty: Free admission is available for Grand Rapids Community College students and faculty. Just show your college ID.
ASTC Members: Those with an ASTC membership can enter for free, although restrictions apply for museums within 90 miles of each other.
Kids who live in Kent County get FREE admission to GRPM.
Free parking in the museum ramp to Kent County residents with the purchase of Museum admission
What discounts are offered by the Grand Rapids Public Museum?
Military Discount: Active or retired military members get $1 off with ID.
AAA Membership: Show your AAA card for a $1 discount.
Convention/Conference Attendees: Get a $1 discount by showing your convention or conference badge.
Teachers: Save $1 by showing your school ID. If you’re part of the Museum’s Teacher Club, you get free admission when planning a field trip.
Kent County Residents:
As a gesture of gratitude for supporting the GRPM through a millage, Kent County residents receive special benefits:
Adults: Reduced admission at $10
Seniors (62 and older): $8
Students: $5 with valid student ID
Children (ages 17 and under): Free admission
Parking: Free with the purchase of Museum admission
Can I get in free to Grand Rapids Public Museum with my library card?
Yes, you can get free entry to the Grand Rapids Public Museum if you have a Grand Rapids Public Library card. Use the “Check It Out! Circulating Memberships” program to check out a pass that grants up to 6 people one-time free admission to the museum.
GRPL Program Details:
Eligibility: You must have a Grand Rapids Public Library card. Cardholders from other districts are not eligible.
Usage: The pass must be used within 6 days of being checked out.
Restrictions: You can only check out one pass at a time and cannot check out a pass to the same organization again for one year. However, you can check out a pass to a different participating organization.
Pick-up: Passes can be checked out in person at any of the 8 Grand Rapids Public Library locations on a first-come, first-served basis. Holds cannot be placed on passes.
Admission: Present the checked-out pass at the admission desk of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
Limits: Due to the program’s popularity, families are limited to one check-out per organization per year.
KDL’s Perks Pass Details
If you are a patron of the Kent District Library (KDL) and are 18 years or older, you can also access the Grand Rapids Public Museum for free. These are available occasionally via PerkPass and are limited in number. They can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. For most museums and gardens, each pass entitles up to 6 people to visit the organization one time for free on the reserved date. Other membership benefits are not included.
Eligibility: Patrons of KDL who are at least 18 years old.
Reservations: Reserve your passes online using your KDL library card.
Print and Go: After reserving, print the passes and use them on the date for which you’ve reserved them.
If You Go: Grand Rapids Public Museum
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at:
📍 272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM
Sunday: 12 PM – 5 PM
|Ages 2 and under
- Kent County Residents: Reduced admission and free parking with valid ID
- Free Admission: For those qualifying under Museums For All, AAM membership, ASTC membership, and various other programs.
- Military Discount: Available through Blue Star Museums initiative from May 21, 2023 to Labor Day.
Pro Tips for Visiting GRPM:
- Parking: Off street meter parking as well as a parking garage west of the Museum. (Kent County residents get free validated parking in this ramp, with the purchase of a ticket.
- There is a circle drive for buses and disabled persons to be dropped off at the main door.
- The museum has elevators and is stroller friendly.
Will You Visit GRPM?
If you’re ready for a journey through time, science, and local history, it’s time to plan a visit to the Grand Rapids Public Museum!