9 Reasons We Love the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

GRCM Childrens Museum learn through play feature image Niles

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 light box, music making and Legos to name a few. Plus, with the constantly rotating exhibits like Kidstruction or Diagnosis Fun, there’s always something new to do.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

From a fantastic layout and easy parking to so many fun exhibits, there is plenty to love about the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

It was hard to narrow it down to just nine things we love, but hopefully this list gets you started on making the most of your next visit!

GRCM Childrens Museum Think Tank feature image

-Upcoming Temporary Exhibit Highlight-

Play at the Beach in Any Season with GRCM’s Upcoming Little Lake Michigan Exhibit

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is always switching things up to keep families coming back time and time again. The new Little Lake Michigan exhibit promises to do just that.

Surrounded by images of Lake Michigan, Little Lake Michigan will provide a place for kids to dig and scoop with sand toys and learn while doing it.  This exhibit will even have a wheelchair accessible ramp, so everyone can climb in and enjoy some beach time

GRKids winter banner

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:

GRCM girl playing with bubbles

“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!”

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?

GRCM girl in firefighter costume Sneller

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!

GRCM Little GR

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.

boy playing bubbles at GRCM

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 and grins as the bubble pops are contagious.

GRCM Giant Bubble

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.

GRCM girl playing in sand Sneller

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 To the Rescue exhibit. The kids love to put on the fire jackets, hats & boots and go down the slide.

GRCM To the Rescue kids in ambulance

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 perfect 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.

GRCM girl playing in town Sneller

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

On the lower level, back by the lockers and bathrooms, is a Nursing Nook. Mothers can sit on a comfortable chair in a secluded space and close a curtain for privacy. There’s a little table and lamp 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 any 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.

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 ideal for us. I don’t feel like I’m wasting money by paying admission for all of us and not staying all day.

GRCM Amazing Dinos girl touching statue

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 or with a huge discount.

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, these 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!

adults making bubbles at GRCM

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 $3 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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