28 Terrific Things to do in Kentwood, Caledonia and Southeast Grand Rapids

kentwood caledonia things to do creekside park Shaffer

Kentwood and Caledonia Have a lot of Things to Do

Southeast Grand Rapids is booming. What used to be a more rural, quiet community has seen unprecedented growth in recent years.

Trails and parks are intermingled with play centers and shopping, giving us both indoor and outdoor entertainment options. You can find splash pads and ice cream, and ice skating and river fun.

Kentwood has grown into a popular hub for families who want to raise their kids in diverse communities and schools. With the 28th and 44th street corridors in their zip code, there’s no end to shopping, food and fun.

You’ll also see areas sprawling beyond Kentwood grow into popular hubs. Dutton/Cutlerville is a growing part of the M-6 area, where you can find more shopping and a Celebration! Cinema theater.

And if the urban sprawl is a little too busy for you, drive a little farther south to Caledonia, one of our area’s favorite small towns.

If you’re wondering just how much fun your kids can have in Southeast Grand Rapids, here’s your list!

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 DEMOGRAPHICS  

What it’s Like to Live on Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side

See what these southeast Grand Rapids towns are known for, and what their vibe is like. Which one do you think your family would dig?

Life in Kentwood

Why people love to live here: Points go to Kentwood for diversity. Schools and neighborhoods celebrate many cultures and family types, and residents love that. It’s also a very affordable area, with housing options ranging from rentals to condos to homes. Families often start out in Kentwood for the affordability and end up staying for the great neighbors, proximity to GR, great shopping, and an active parks and rec program.

You should know: Most people identify Kentwood as the Woodland Mall area, but Kentwood is so huge and has such an unusual shape that chances are you’ve been in Kentwood and didn’t even realize it.

Kentwood

Population: 51,868

School District: Kentwood Public Schools

Known for:
» Woodland and CenterPoint Malls
» Horrocks
» Active Parks & Rec department
» Activity centers like Sky Zone, Amped Virtual Reality and Catch Air

Life in Caledonia

Why people love to live here: Locals love that they’ve found a modern-day small town. This tight-knit community has the quiet vibes of yesteryear, coupled with great updates and community hotspots like a brand new trails system, and exciting new developments in front of the library that include an amphitheater and dog park.

You should know: Caledonia is really into parades and celebrations. Celebrate Western Week, Harvest Festival, Memorial Day, Christmas and 4th of July with neighbors and friends in Caledonia.

Caledonia

Population: 1,527

School District: Caledonia Community Schools

Known for:
» Caledonia Lakeside Park
» New Community Green
» Paul Henry Thornapple Trail

  THINGS TO DO  

01 – Have a Picnic at Lakeside Park

Caledonia Lakeside Park
370 N Lake St SE, Caledonia, MI 49316

Pack up a picnic lunch and head to Caledonia Lakeside Park! After lunch, the kids can enjoy the playground, run the bases at the baseball diamond and explore the surrounding wooded areas on the trail.

And when they’re done, you can take the path from Lakeside to downtown Caledonia and get a treat at Ice Cream Express!

things to do in Caledonia

02 – Treat Your Tastebuds at Taste of Kentwood

Taste of Kentwood – Kentwood Activities Center
355 48th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

So Kentwood has restaurants. Many, many restaurants. From the quick-stop chains to local classics like Pietro’s and Underground Cookie Club, Kentwood residents will never go hungry.

And to celebrate that, the Parks & Rec department hosts an annual culinary experience to showcase their local chefs.

03 – Get an Adrenaline Rush at Amped Virtual Reality

Amped Virtual Reality
2923 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Amped Reality Feature Image Hunt

04 – Ride the Ponies at Legacy Stables

Legacy Stables
8001 Patterson Ave SE, Caledonia, MI 49316

While Legacy Stables (Karin’s Horse Connection) offers numerous horse riding opportunities and classes for all experience levels, the KinderPony Program is designed specifically for children ages 2-6.

A KinderPony ride includes 30 minutes of whatever your child would like to do, including riding your pony indoors or outdoors, learning to feed and care for your pony and meeting other animals on the farm.

Legacy stables karin and kid

05 – Out of This World Ice Cream at Underground Cookie Club

Underground Cookie Club
5422 Division Ave S, Kentwood, MI 49548

This image speaks for itself.

And for those wondering, yes, they have GF, vegan and dairy free options!

Underground Cookie Club sandwiches

06 – Tube Down the Thornapple River

Hop in at the 84th Street Dam in Caledonia and float your way down the river! This part of the Thornapple River offers calm, shallow waters and beautiful scenery along the 3.1 mile stretch to where you can exit at 68th Street.

things to do in caledonia: tubing down rogue river

07 – Play with the Monsters at Woodland Mall

Woodland Mall
3195 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Woodland Mall’s play area got a facelift recently and kids dig it. Located near the food court, kids can explore a bi-level structure with slides, as well as climb on multiple colorful monster friends. There’s so much to do it’s hard to believe it’s free.

Woodland Mall Play Area Ward
Woodland Mall

08 – Go for an Adventure on the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail

Following along a former railroad corridor and in close proximity to the Thornapple River, the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail is a multi-use recreational trail. Put the little ones in a stroller and take a walk, go rollerblading with your middle schooler or bring the whole family for a bike ride!

09 – Shop the Most Unique Grocery Store in GR 

Horrocks
4455 Breton Rd SE, Kentwood, MI 49508

Remember how Kentwood likes food? Horrocks has a hand in that. This is a grocer like no other. In addition to their huge array of fresh goods, they make gourmet popcorn, offer items like loose leaf tea, and are a popular spot to catch lunch with a friend.

Horrocks is constantly introducing new items and exciting areas of the store. They have a huge greenhouse and garden center. You can buy clothes and home goods here. Their candy department is off the hook. You can find all the local beer and wine.

This is the place to take an out of town friend and wow them with how GR does food.

Horrocks Grand Rapids Brooks greenhouse

10 – Play Disc Golf or Just Run the Playgrounds at Jaycee Park

Jaycee Park
1088 Gentian Dr SE, Kentwood, MI 49508

Jaycee Park is known for its 18-hole disc golf course, but families with smaller kids also dig the 3 playgrounds on the property.

It’s also home to the R.E.A.C.H. program, where kids can drop in for exciting activities, games and a snack most weekdays in the summer.

Jaycee Park Kentwood girl on playground Shaffer

11 – Have a Blast at Catch Air

Catch Air
2978 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

If it’s raining outside and your kids need to get out of the house, head to Catch Air! There is plenty there to keep them jumping, sliding, bouncing and playing.

Their equipment and floors are padded and they even have a separate Tiny Town for the little ones. Plus, if you need to leave for lunch or nap time, you can head back afterward- your stamp is good for the entire day!

Catch Air Dentler boy on slide

12 – Ride Bikes on the M-6 Bike Trail

The Fred Meijer M-6 Trail was built along the course of the M-6 highway and connects Grandville, Wyoming, Cutlerville, Dutton and Kentwood to the Kent Trails and Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail.

So whether you’re looking for a short ride with the little ones or a full-day excursion with the older ones, you can do it here!

13 – Cool off at a Splash Pad

Pinewood Park
2000 Wolfboro Dr SE, Kentwood, MI 49508

Veteran’s Memorial Park
355 48th St SE, Kentwood, MI 49548

Splash Pads are always a fun summer option for kids of all ages. If you’re in the Kentwood area, check out the splash pads at Veteran’s Park or Pinewood Park. And once the kids have cooled down there, they can head to the playground!

things to do in kentwood: pinewood park splash pad
Pinewood Park Splash Pad

14 – Hike Prairie Wolf Park

Prairie Wolf Park
8555 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Caledonia, MI 49316

This small (1.4 mile) simple trail is a hit with families. Paths are a mixture of paved and natural, and if you’re quiet, there are plenty of wildlife sightings.

15 – Jump at Sky Zone

Sky Zone
3636 28th Ste SE, Kentwood, MI 49512

Sky Zone trampoline park recently went through a huge transformation. Bring the whole family for Open Jump or show up on Tuesday or Friday morning for Toddler Time with your little one.

And on the weekend, don’t forget to send your big kids to GLOW on Friday night or SkyJam on Saturday night!

SkyZone foam pit feature image 1

16 – Roller Skate at Kentwood Fun Spot

Kentwood Fun Spot
14 52nd St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

With $3 admission and only $1 skate rental, there’s no excuse not to bring the whole family to skate at Kentwood Fun Spot on Wednesday evenings!

Or check out their other great deals for open skate throughout the week. And don’t forget Tiny Tot Skate on Saturdays from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM!

17 – Walk the Trails at Lepard Nature Preserve

Lepard Nature Preserve
6030 76th St SE, Caledonia MI 49316

With its convenient location and trails that are shorter in length and easy to walk, Lepard Nature Preserve is the perfect place to bring the kids to enjoy the outdoors! There are even signs along the way to help point out and explain what nature you will observe.

18 – Ice Skate Kentwood Ice Arena

Kentwood Ice Arena
East Kentwood High School, 6230 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Kentwood, MI 49508

Take a spin around the ice! Weekend Open Skate times on at Kentwood Ice Arena. $5 to skate and only $2 skate rental!

19 – Spend the Day at Creekside Park

Creekside Park
1035 68th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Enjoy the two playgrounds, take a hike on the walking trails, play horseshoes, hop over to the picnic area for lunch or grab some friends for a game of softball!

things to do in kentwood: creekside park

20 – Splash Around at Kentwood Aquatics Center

Kentwood Public Schools Aquatics Center
6230 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Take advantage of Open Swim at Kentwood Public Schools Aquatics Center! In addition to the large main pool, they have a Kids Pool (only one foot deep) and a warm water pool as well!

21 – Stop in for Story Time with a Twist

Caledonia Dance & Music

If you’re looking for FUN and FREE with your toddler during the week, head to Caledonia Dance & Music on Tuesday morning for Story Time With A Twist! Stories, dance, music, rhymes and more.

131 E Main Street SE, Suite E Caledonia, MI 49316

22 – Treat Yourself to Sweet Rewards Ice Cream

Sweet Rewards Ice Cream
6969 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Whether you’re craving ice cream or a hot dog and fries, be sure to check out Sweet Rewards Ice Cream. Family-owned and operated, this little ice cream shop is happy to serve its loyal customers and community. Walk up or drive thru, but make sure you don’t miss out!

Things to do in Cutlerville

23 – Watch the Parade at Dutton Days

Once a year in June, you can find food, fun, friends and more at Dutton Days. Enjoy a pancake breakfast, parade, vendors, food, music- and a free Kids Zone!

24 – Feed the Animals at Orchard Hill Farm Market

Orchard Hill Farm Market
2934 68th St SE, Caledonia, MI 49316

There’s so much to do at Orchard Hill Farm Market in Caledonia! Feed the animals in the petting zoo, hike the nature trail, visit the pumpkin patch, make your way through the corn maze, check out the bee hive and enjoy a hay ride. And don’t forget to visit the fresh produce and bakery while you’re there!

things to do in caledonia: orchard-hill-farm-market

25 – Experience All the Fun at Cutlerville Days

Each summer, Cutlerville hosts a fantastic weekend of family-friendly fun! You can always find plenty to do including parades, races, carnival rides, food, train rides, ice cream, animals and fireworks!

26 – Settle in for a Story at the Library

KDL Branches
6260 92nd St SE, Caledonia, MI 49316
421 68th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548
4950 Breton Rd SE, Kentwood, MI 49508

There are story times galore at the Caledonia Township, Gaines Township and Kentwood Branches of Kent District Library! Babytime, Toddler Time, Preschool Storytime, Family Storytime… even Rhyme Time Music and Movement!

things to do in kentwood: library

27 – Bike, Scooter or Skate Caledonia’s Paved Trail System & Community Green

Caledonia recently added to their trails system, connecting many popular community spots, including the Caledonia’s KDL branch library, Lakeside Park, Paul Henry Trail and downtown Caledonia (which includes Ice Cream Express).

Locals are super excited about the new Community Green in front of the library. This renovated space includes pickle ball courts, an amphitheater, dog park and picnic areas, and is looking forward to splash pad expansion too.

28 – Snag Mega Deals at the Scholastic Book Fair

Scholastic Warehouse
8280 Broadmoor Ave SE, Caledonia, MI 49316

Normally held twice a year, the Scholastic Warehouse Sale is a haven for teachers and parents alike. Shoppers especially love their December sales, just in time for Christmas!

scholastic warehouse sale grand rapids

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