The Grand Rapids Public Museum is Worth Your Time

Grand Rapids Public Museum Interior

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.

Grand Rapids Public Museum Exterior

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’s Inside?

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.

Grand Rapids Public Museum Electricity Exhibit

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. 

Visitors exploring Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Streets of Old Grand Rapids

In fact, if you’re lucky, you’ll find volunteers dressed in period clothing interpreting the streets of Old GR.

Grand Rapids Public Museum Old Time Actor

And don’t miss the 1928 Spillman Carousel.

It’s almost 100 years old and you can ride it for a dollar or two.

Grand Rapids Public Museum Carousel

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.

Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium Grand Rapids Public Museum

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.

Good to Know: Guests are welcome to bring their own food into the café and use the museum’s seating area.

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.

Learning Buddies GRPM Grand Rapids
Building Buddies Exhibit

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.

Enter Here


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 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

Contact Information:

Ticket Prices

GeneralKent County
Ages 3-17$5free
Ages 2 and underfreefree

Special Discounts:

  • 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!

About The Author

21 thoughts on “The Grand Rapids Public Museum is Worth Your Time”

  1. Sheila DeGroot

    I have been meaning to go back to the Planetarium for so long! Haven’t been since I was a kid. This year, I’m GOING TO make it happen!!!!

  2. I’m excited for my grandsons (6 and 8) to see the Pterosaurs exhibit and my 2 year old granddaughter would love the carousel! They would all have such a fun time there! (And I would love to see the doll exhibit!)

  3. Honestly I want to take my 5 grandkids and just explore from top to bottom…I live in Holland …what a treasure but was only able to spend a short time there. I want my grandkids to explore more with me. Ages 9 to 18!!!!👍🙂❤️

  4. We would love to see the planetarium and rude the carousel. Liked GRPM on Facebook and followed on Instagram

  5. Amber McDaniel

    We’re excited to see the pterosaurs and the planetarium! My son loves anything space and dinosaur related! Liked and followed on Facebook! Followed on Instagram! Thank you! 😊

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *