2017 Christmas & Winter Break Activity Guide
Thanksgiving is over and there’s just a short time before Winter Break is upon us! How are you planning to fill the long days? With all the extra time on your hands, winter break is a great time to take advantage of all that Grand Rapids has to offer.
Use our guide to help plan your days and make Winter Break 2017 the most memorable one your kids have seen yet!
Christmas Lights Are a Great Place to Start
One of my kids’ favorite holiday traditions is seeing all the Christmas lights around town. We always set aside an evening or two during winter break to hop in the car (don’t forget the hot chocolate!) and drive around town looking at lights.
Be sure to check out our GRKIDS Holiday Lights Guide to see the places that our readers are recommending, including Hughes Musical Christmas Light Show. Or visit the Christmas Lite Show at Fifth Third Ballpark and experience almost two miles of magical lights!
Swim, Play Tennis & Go To Camp at MVP Sports Clubs
MVP offers a variety of indoor swimming classes and programs for all ages & skill levels. Whether you are looking for an introductory parent/child class or an opportunity to further develop swimming skills, there is a program just right for you.
MVP also offers USTA 10 and under tennis programs designed to bring all kids into the game by utilizing specialized equipment, shorter courts and modified scoring, as well as junior tennis and elite programs for more experienced players.
Looking for a fun activity for the kids during holiday or school breaks? MVP offers day camps for kids ages 3-11.
For more information on MVP programs, visit MVPSportsClubs.com
Definitely Play Outside over Winter Break!
If you are looking to get outside and enjoy some of the natural beauty that winter in Michigan offers, try a snowshoe hike at Blandford Nature Center or one of the Winter-time Walks in the Children’s Garden at Meijer Gardens.
Or enjoy the outdoors right in the heart of Grand Rapids while ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle.
Play at Jester’s Court
Jester’s Court is West Michigan’s largest indoor child entertainment center, where kids can play and parents can relax!
Our facility features action-packed fun for kids 12 years and younger (during open play), teens (special teen nights), and all ages (during private parties). We offer open play 6 days a week as well as BIRTHDAY PARTIES, PRIVATE PARTIES, FUNDRAISERS, and FIELD TRIPS.
Featuring softplay, inflatable slides, obstacle courses, jumps, interactive games and more that will keep your kids happy, healthy, and active.
Treat your toddler to Toddler Court (for children 3 and younger) where they will find a toddler-sized themed inflatable, safe play area, and friends their own age. Socks required.
Indoor Play Options are Everywhere for Winter Break!
Are you more interested in staying warm this break? No worries, there’s still plenty to do. You won’t want to miss Christmas and Holidays Traditions Around the World at Meijer Gardens. My kids can’t get enough of the Railway Garden exhibition- another annual tradition in our family. But with 300,000 lights, strolling carolers, rooftop reindeer and more than 40 international trees and displays, this is definitely an event that can be enjoyed by folks of all ages.
Or get jumping!
Check out GRGymnastics, Gymco, R-Athletics and others. Or for a fun twist on Open Gym, try Open Swim at Holland Aquatic Center. (Have you ever ziplined into a pool?) And don’t forget to plan for an afternoon of Awesome Indoor Play Time at Jester’s Court!
Skate at Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink
Winter Break at Tarry Hall is full of indoor Fun
Santa Skate Saturday December 23 | 1:30-4:30
Saturday December 23 | 6:30-9:30
Christmas Eve & Christmas Day CLOSED
December 26-30| 1:30-4:30
December 26 & 28 | 6:30-9:30
New Years Eve | 2:00-5:00 , 6:30-9:30
Closed New Years Day
January 2 – 5 | 1:30-4:30
January 2 & 4 | 6:30-9:30
Looking For a Show? Here are a Few Ideas
Between all that activity, though, you may just want to kick back and relax with a show. Celebration Cinema offers $6 movies all day on T.A.C.O. Tuesdays and December 27 is Free Family Movie Day at the Frauenthal Theatre in Muskegon, where you can introduce your children to my all-time favorite movie, Princess Bride!
Or treat your kids to a Grand Rapids Symphony performance of Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions, the “must-see video game concert of the year”!
Sports are Cool, Too!
And without the busyness of school and schedules, Winter Break is also a great time to check out a sports game. Both the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Grand Rapids Drive host home games during break this year.
You can even ring in the New Year at the annual GRKids.com Night with the Griffins, which includes West Michigan’s largest indoor fireworks display and a post-Game Open Skate. Plus- use our promo code to receive $5 off tickets!
Have Fun at R-Athletics
R-Athletics is Grand Rapids’ premier Gymnastics, Cheer, Rush Athletics and Ninja Zone facility! Check out our new gym which includes a life-size tree-house, fire truck, slides, rock climbing wall, trampolines and foam pits!
Our staff is highly trained, AED, CPR and Safety certified. After one FREE trial class at R-Athletics you will see and believe in the difference we will make in your child’s life! Call 616-957-4900 today!
R-Athletics is offering 12 Holiday events this December! They Include:
- 3 Drop N’ Shops (4 hours)
- 5 two-hour holiday open gyms
- 3 Skills & Thrills events
- HAPPY NEW YEAR PARTY!
- And much MORE!
How to Sneak in a Little Learning over Winter Break
If you want to sneak in some learning for your kids while they’re on break, definitely consider taking them to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. They’ll have so much fun exploring The Life of the Mind exhibit, they won’t even realize they’re soaking up knowledge at the same time! And you may also want to check out Science Tuesday (learn about the science of snow!)
Your whole family can enjoy free general admission to the GR Art Museum on Meijer Free Tuesdays and $1.75 admission to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on Thursday Family Nights. And if your older children are into robotics, be sure to let them know about Mindstorm Saturdays at GRPL, where they can use Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits to learn coding skills and more.
Make a Splash at Holland Community Aquatic Center
Visit the Holland Community Aquatic Center this winter for some fun in the water!
Climb the Alpine challenge, take the Zipline and splash into the pool or ride down the 150 ft water slide! Little ones can enjoy our Splash Zone that includes tumble buckets, a tire swing and lemon drops. Extra hours for Family Open swim will be available Dec 22, 26-29, and Jan 2-3, as well as a special New Year’s Luau on Saturday, Dec 30. Call ahead for specific times and pricing. Age and height requirements apply to some features.
Winter Break is a Great Time to Try Something New
Looking for something new and different this break?
Or let your kids get messy and creative making pottery at Camp Mud at The Mud Room.
And for an experience you’ll never forget, grab your tickets to Night at Your Museum. Become part of the unfolding drama as characters from the GRPM exhibits come to life!
Learn through Play at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
Spend your winter break playing at the Grand Rapids Chidren’s Museum! We have two weeks packed full of special performances, art programs, and fun! Visit grcm.org for a full calendar of events!
Burn off That Winter Break Energy!
If you are interested in day camp, there are lots of places for kids to spend a few hours burning off holiday break energy. MVP Sportsplex Holiday Sports Camps and Holiday Mini Camps are two options, as well as Camp Kroc at the Kroc Center.
You can also get the kiddos moving at Gymco’s holiday day camps or get them outside for Winter Break Camp at Howard Christensen Nature Center.
And John Ball Zoo Winter Break Camp is sure to be a hit- enjoy all the fun of camp, and maybe even see the otters sliding on the ice and tigers romping in the snow!
OPEN EVERY WEEKDAY STARTING DECEMBER 26 at 2pm
Closed only Christmas Day
ALL HOLIDAY SESSIONS $5 INCLUDES ADMISSION AND REGULAR SKATE RENTAL
REGULAR PRICING on Friday night, Saturday & Sunday
CHARACTER SKATE TIME EVERY WEEKDAY at 4PM: A different character everyday skating with your children. Princesses, Spongebob, Olaf, Storm Troopers, Goofy, Superheros, Paw Patrol. Each location will have different characters.
NEW YEARS EVE FAMILY SKATE: Sunday, December 31 from 2-5pm. Party Favors, Balloon Drops, Prizes.
FREE SELF-SERVE BIRTHDAY: Bring Cake, Ice Cream, Decorations and pay admission and rental only. DECEMBER ONLY.
Be sure to check our events calendar for even more ideas throughout your kid’s winter break!