[note]This post is sponsored by Koetsier’s Greenhouse. Staying home for Spring break? It’s T-shirt weather in the greenhouse! Taste, Touch and Tour the Greenhouse runs MondayFriday 10-12, April 6-10. Taste food you can grow, get your fingers in the dirt and tour the greenhouse!

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[pullquote_left]by Jill Clarin[/pullquote_left]

If you are anything like me, the last several weeks may have left you feeling like a character in the Disney movie Frozen, stuck in eternal winter. Although glimpses of spring are finally here, I still find myself daydreaming of the day when I can trade in my boots and ice scraper for sandals and garden tools. We have a list of events and places that will stop the daydreaming and make you feel like this long cold winter has finally ended!

Events That Give You a Feel for Summer[clear]

Butterflies are Blooming at Frederick Meijer Gardens 

March 1 – April 30. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm; Tuesday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. Spend a day enjoying the warmth and views in the Tropical Conservatory at the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. Adults $12; Children (age 5- 13) $6; Children (age 3-4) $4; Children 2 and under are free. 1000 East Beltline Ave NE Grand Rapids.


Koetsier’s Room to Bloom

March 20 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm; March 21 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Back by popular demand! You plant it, we grow it! Choose from a 12″ plastic or 14″ cone basket. We have several different plant combinations from which to choose. Baskets will be available for pick up in May. 12″ basket $35, each additional basket $25; 14″ cone basket $40, each additional basket $30. Cost includes basket, soil, plants, care, maintenance, and refreshments. 1601 Spaulding Avenue SE, Grand Rapids.

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Garden Planning at Downtown Market 

March 21 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Families, come map out your dream garden for 2015! Our greenhouse expert will explain cold-sensitive and cold-hardy crops, how many days different vegetables grow to maturity, and how to do “succession planting” so your garden will be active from before school is out until after school starts in the fall. $20 includes one adult and one child; $10 for additional child. 435 Ionia Avenue SW, Grand Rapids.

downtown market

Bloomstudio – Kids Planting Parties at Koetsier’s

Saturdays, April 4 –  May 30 (not April 25) 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. We provide the instruction and inspiration, you provide the fun and creativity! Programs include: Make Your Own Mini Garden Ornaments (April 4), Kid’s Desert Garden / Butterfly Feeder (April 11), Fairy Garden (April 18), Mini Garden / Lemonade Herb Pot (May 2), Teacup Flower For Mom (May 9), Mini Terrarium in a Jar (May 16), Mini Garden (May 23), Veggie Garden in a Pot (May 30). Program costs range from $5 – $25. 1601 Spaulding Avenue SE, Grand Rapids.

koetsiers kids

Koetsier’s Kids Klub

Saturdays, April 4 – May 30 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Spend your Saturdays in the soil! Programs inlcude: Easter Egg Hunt and Craft (April 4), Tulip Art (April 11), Fairy Festival (April 18), Nature Walk and Scavenger Hunt (April 25), TBD (May 2), Handmade Mother’s Day Cards (May 9), Painted Suncatcher Garden Stake (May 16), Recycle Day (May 23), Bubble Bonanza (May 30). FREE! 1601 Spaulding Avenue SE, Grand Rapids.

kids klub

Taste, Touch, and Tour Koetsier’s Greenhouse

April 6 – 10, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Take a tour of the greenhouse, see what’s growing, taste food that you can grow and touch the soil with your own planting project! FREE. 1601 Spaulding Avenue SE, Grand Rapids.


Seeding Party at Downtown Market

April 25 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Gardeners can get a jump start on growing times by starting transplants: baby plants grown indoors first, then “transplanted” outside. $20 includes one adult and one child; $10 for additional child. 435 Ionia Avenue SW, Grand Rapids.


Places to Feel Like You’re Getting Away[clear]

Castaway Bay and Splash Tower at Ramada Inn Grand Rapids

Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 11:00 pm (10:00 pm – 11:00 pm adults only). Take on Splash Tower, our 180-foot indoor waterslide or relax in the Tiki Spa–a tropical paradise that is a true respite for families and travelers. Four wristbands included with your guest room; Two room suites include 6 bands. 3333 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids.

castaway bay

Double JJ Resort Indoor Waterpark (Rothbury)

Hours vary daily, see website for Waterpark hours. With water slides, pools, and lazy rivers, there is no better way to spend a cold spring day! Adults $25; Children 42 inches and under $20; Children 3 and under are FREE. 5900 Water Road, Rothbury.

double jj

Goldfish Swim School

Open Swim: Monday 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm; Tuesday – Thursday 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm; Friday 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm; Sunday 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Our water is always kept at 90 degrees and filtered with a state-of-the-art purification system, ensuring a clean, shiver-free place for kids to have fun, build confidence and learn skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives. $5.00 per person; $15.00 for 3 or more persons; Free Monday – Thursday open swim for current Goldfish Swim School students. 2845 Thornhills Ave, Suite S, Grand Rapids.

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Holland Aquatic Center

Open Swim: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm; Saturday 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 pm -5:00 pm; Preschool Swim: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 am-12:00 pm. From our 50-meter pool, to our spa, Therapy Pool and the Splash Zone with slides and water toys – Holland Aquatic Center has everything you need any season of the year! Single Visit Admission $5.50 per person; Groups of 4 or more $4.50 per person. 550 Maple Ave, Holland.

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The Kroc Center

Open Swim: Saturday 12:00 pm – 7:30 pm; Sunday 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm; Wednesday, Friday 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Check the monthly Recreation Drop-In Guide for up-to-date open swim hours). Equipped with a 28-foot slide, three lap lanes, lazy river, outdoor splash pad and a 17-person hot tub, the Kroc Center’s pool offers many different types of swimming times to accommodate all different types of ages and swimmers. Adult (12+) $7.50, Children (0-11) $5.50. 2500 S. Division Ave, Grand Rapids.

Kroc Center

The Oasis Hot Tub Garden

Sunday – Thursday 12:00 pm to 1:00 am; Friday – Saturday 12:00 pm to 2:00 am. As you relax in the warmth of the hot tub, let your mind take you to far away places–with room themes like the Borneo Rainforest and Cozumel, escaping the winter blues should be easy! Rates start at $24/hour. Our specially-discounted family rates allow parents to bring up to two kids for free! (We even have kids’ water toys, available upon request). 5041 Alpine Ave NW, Comstock Park.


Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel

Sunday – Thursday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm; Friday – Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm. Enjoy all this water park has to offer by trying your surfing skills on the FlowRider, relaxing on a tube in the lazy river or spinning down a three story slide. Day passes start at $17.99 per person, children 2 and under are free. 5665 E. Pickard Road, Mt. Pleasant.

soaring eagle

Surfari Joe’s Indoor Wilderness Waterpark and Hotel (Southwest Michigan)

Hours vary daily, see website for Waterpark hours. Our year round, 20,000 square foot indoor waterpark combines all of the benefits of a Safari without the danger of wild animals or annoying mosquitoes. Surfari Joe’s features two extreme water slides for the adventurous or a lazy river without piranha for a relaxing float. Day passes start at $25 per person. 8258 Arnt Boulevard, Watervliet.

Surfari Joes

And don’t forget, many West Michigan Area Schools have excellent pools open to the public. Local schools with open swim include: Byron Center, East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills, Hudsonville, Jenison, Kentwood, Rockford, and Spring Lake. Check out our Pools with Open Swim Roundup for all of the details!

Grand Rapids, MI 49512