Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is a Hit Every Time

One of the things I love about living in Grand Rapids is that there are so many wonderful places for kids. The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is one of our faves.

There are so many exciting permanent exhibits like the giant light board, wheel & axel spinner, music making and Legos. Plus with the constantly rotating exhibits like Kidstruction, there’s always something new to do.

From a fantastic layout and easy parking to so many fun exhibits, there is plenty to love about the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Our team at Grand Rapids KIDS has compiled a list of 9 things we love about GRCM.

It was hard to narrow it down, but we hope this helps you make the most of your next visit!

-Temporary Exhibit Highlight-

Explore Careers That Keep Us Safe with GRCM’s New To the Rescue Exhibit

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is always switching things up to keep families coming back time and time again. The new To the Rescue exhibit on the second floor does just that.

To the Rescue provides an interactive way for kids to experience life-saving careers. With a pint-sized firetruck and ambulance, a real police car, and a speedy slide–it’s easy to let imaginations run wild for hours. 

Kids Can Practice Jumping Into Action

The treehouse has been transformed into a bonafide ranger station for kids to learn more about keeping our environment pristine. My daughter loved the bucket full of wildlife stuffed animals and puppets (the bat had to go along with us for most of our visit).

Cross the bridge from the ranger station and you can find the ambulance and fire truck. Kids can pretend to drive the trucks, touch real emergency gear, and get into action with a fire hydrant and hose. 

Around the corner you can find the police station–complete with a real Grand Rapids Police car. You can flash the lights and see all the tools police officers use to keep us safe! My kids thought it was pretty cool that police officers have a computer inside the car. 

Kids can also sit at the police headquarters to keep Grand Rapids safe. They can practice taking incoming calls and search a map of Grand Rapids to see where to send help.

Slide to Safety

The highlight for my young kids was the fire rescue slide (in lieu of a standard fire station pole). You can climb up a set of stairs (inside the police station) and slide down to find your firefighter gear to get you ready to jump into action. GRCM has several firefighter uniforms, boots, and hats in a myriad of sizes for all kids to feel like the real deal. 

This hands-on exhibit is sure to provide endless imaginative playtime for kids of all ages!

9 Reasons to Love the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

When I asked my 5 year old what he likes best about a visit to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, his response was a little long-winded:

“I like the fishies. The big bubble blower thingys. I like the wall climber part. I like the musical instruments–like that bongo drum. And also…let’s see here…those gear things that go around? I like those. I love the checkout area and the freezer in that little pretend Meijer store. I like putting lots of food in my cart. Like, lots and lots of food.

Hmm, I guess those are just all my best parts about the museum!”

Crosby, age 5

It really is hard to pick just one thing; everything is fun! My kids would stay and play all day long if I let them. With two floors full of opportunities to play, learn, and create for kids of all ages–what more could you ask for?

1 – Little Grand Rapids is Perfect for Pint Sized Citizens

I have to pry my kids away from Little Grand Rapids. There is so much to do in this exhibit! They love gassing up the different Cozy Coupes and “driving” the half police car.

But they could really spend all day in the other half of Little GR. They love to shop at Meijer and check out their groceries. And, of course, the free rides on Sandy!

2 – Giant Bubbles are a Guaranteed Hit

There are so many different ways to make bubbles at GRCM. We love to experiment with the different shaped wands. My kids think it’s fun to see who can make the biggest and best bubbles.

But nothing is cooler than being enclosed by a giant bubble! It’s tricky for young kids to get the rope soaked in the soap and pull slowly enough for the bubble to form, but the giggles as the bubble pops are contagious.

3 – Wee Discover Knows how to Entertain Toddlers

If you have kids under four, you are definitely going to spend a lot of your time in Wee Discover. This special toddler area is fantastic. It’s mostly closed off from the rest of the floor so the littles are safely contained from the bigger kids.

Kids love playing in the kitchen, perfectly sized for their shorter heights. When my little kids are in the obsessed-with-balls stage, they can’t get enough of the rainbow ball sorter. They love putting the balls in and then giggling hysterically when they pull the stopper from the bottom and they all crash down.

4 – Rotating Exhibits

It’s always so fun to see what the rotating exhibit is when we visit. One of our favorites is Kidstruction. The kids love to use little wheelbarrows to move around pieces of cut-up tires and then send them down the conveyer belt.

Another big hit is the fire / ambulance exhibit. The kids love to put on the fire jackets, hats & boots and go down the slide.

5 – The Thoughtful Layout was Created with Families in Mind

I always appreciate places where my kids can play at different areas and I am still able to see them all from one spot. The children’s museum is great for that.

When my daughter was a baby, I used to sit on a bench in the lower level and tell my older son to stay in this one room while I was nursing her. With Wee Town, rotating exhibits, pipes and blocks, he could easily keep himself entertained until I was ready to move to a different spot and I could always see him.

Even if you are claustrophobic, you won’t feel closed in. No matter how full the museum gets, it never feels noisy or crowded.

6 – A Nursing Nook and Kid Sized Toilets Make it Easy for Young Families

The museum recently added a Nursing Nook. It’s on the lower level, back by the lockers and bathrooms. Mothers can sit on a comfortable chair in a secluded space and pull a curtain closed for privacy. There’s a little table and lamp there to make it extra cozy for Mom.

My kids love that there are “little potties” in the restroom. Half the stalls in the ladies’ room have short toilets, perfect for potty-training littles. They also have a sink that’s lower to the ground and a stool to reach it in case those legs are still too short.

7 – Downtown Location is Easy to Get To

The children’s museum is so easy to get to, even for people like me who hate driving downtown. There is street parking available in front of the museum or around the square. I can even park my Mom Mobile there without trouble.

Parking on Sheldon Street in front of the museum has a three hour limit and the other streets are two hours. Two hours is the perfect amount of time for my kids to play. They get to see everything, but don’t have enough time to get bored.

Now that the meters run on the MOTU app, it’s so easy to keep track of your remaining time.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

8 – Membership Benefits Grant you Unlimited Visits and Reciprocal Perks

Memberships make fantastic presents. It only takes one or two visits for the membership to pay for itself. Since I’m often only there for two hours, the membership is perfect for us. I don’t feel like I’m wasting money by paying admission for all of us and not staying all day.

Plus I love the reciprocal benefits of the membership. We’ve been able to visit the public museum, Air Zoo, Impression 5 and more for free.

9 – The Friendly Staff Makes you Want to Visit Every Day

The museum staff members are so nice! They truly love to play with the kids – which isn’t always the case for me. On one of our visits, one of the staff members sat down and played in the sand table with my daughter for 20 minutes.

Of course, those amazing people are constantly picking up the messes all the kids are making. Honestly, not having to clean up the mess is probably my favorite thing about the children’s museum!

With so many things to love about the children’s museum, you are guaranteed to have a great time!

About GRCM

The museum, located in downtown Grand Rapids, is open every day except Monday. They are open until 8:00 PM on Thursday and admission is only $1.75 for Family Night on Thursdays, 5:00-8:00 PM.

11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 | 616-235-4726 | Website | Facebook

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