Our 10 Best Things To Do In Grand Rapids, Michigan article looks at a city Grand Rapids is located on the Grand River, East of Lake Michigan. Grand Rapids is best known for its many breweries located around town. Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in the state of Michigan. Grand Rapids is home to five of the world’s best office furniture companies. President Gerald R. Ford grew up in Grand Rapids. He was the 38th President of the United States. President Gerald R. Ford and his wife Betty are laid to rest on the Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum’s grounds.
Grand Rapids, Michigan has an abundance of spectacular places to visit and food to sample. Visitors can enjoy the arts, 28 golf courses, plenty of water activities, history, and delicious food. Grand Rapids was actually the first United States city to add fluoride to its drinking water in 1945. West Michigan produces over 80% of all harvested crops in Michigan. Kent County in Michigan produces the most apples out of any other county. Michigan is the third-largest apple producer in the United States.
That is plenty of fun facts and general information on Grand Rapids. Let’s begin our tour and take a look at the top 10 best things to do in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
# 10 – Blanford Nature Center
We open up our 10 Best Things To Do In Grand Rapids, Michigan article with the wonderful Blanford Nature Center. Located at 1715 Hillburn Ave NW, the nature center has 143-acres of property. Included on the property are ponds, fields, streams, and a wooded area. Blanford’s mission is to engage the community through experiences in nature. They give everyone who visits the opportunity to explore, enjoy, and learn about nature in nature. Blanford Nature Center started as Collins Woods and went through many changes over the decade. The nature center is a non-profit organization that, in part, rescues and saves wild animals.
Blanford’s is home to many wild animals that have been injured. Some of the animals, even after healed, would not survive in the wild. They are the nature centers Wildlife Ambassadors. Blanford’s Nature Center has 18 species of falcons, kites, eagles, and hawks. Bobbi and Falco are two American Kestrels that call the center home. The nature center also houses Baby and Bart, the Barred owls. Luna the Barn Owl, Dr. Hoot the Eastern Screech Owl, and a few others. Blanford’s also houses many Vultures, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals for visitors to see and learn about.
# 9 – Craigs Cruisers Family Fun Center
We continue our 10 Best Things To Do In Grand Rapids, Michigan with Craigs Cruisers Family Fun Center. Kids at heart and kids of all ages will have a full day of fun at Craigs Cruisers. The fun center is locally and family-owned and has over 120,000 square feet of indoor fun. Not to mention outdoor attractions and food. The Grand Rapids location was opened in 1999. In 2006, they opened their 25,000 square foot restaurant. You can play, have lunch, play some more, and have dinner, all in one great family fun location.
When vacationers visit Craigs Cruisers, they will enjoy electric go-karts, video arcade, laser tag, the trampoline park, compact spinning coaster, and so much more. When patrons are ready for lunch or dinner, they can choose from pizza, burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, and dessert. Craigs Cruisers Family Fun Center offers many different packages, including birthday packages. They also have gift cards and group rates.
# 8 – Aman Park
Let’s go from a fun, exciting, inside adventure with an abundance of activities to the quiet, sunny outdoors. Aman Park Loop is a 2.3-mile trail located near Grand Rapids. Take a beautiful stroll and enjoy the river, the gorgeous flowers, and the quiet. Aman Park is dog-friendly, but they must be kept on a leash and kid-friendly. The locals use Aman Park Loop for hiking, running, cross country skiing, and walking. Aman Park is enjoyable during the spring, summer, and fall months. For the locals who like to ski, it is great I the winter as well. The prime time of year for vacationers to visit is April through November.
There are many other nearby trails as well that are just as beautiful to walk through. Lake Lista Trail (4.1 miles), Grand Ravin’s Loop (2.4 miles), Grand River Park (3.3 miles), and Kent Trail (10.3 miles). All of the parks and trails are just outside of Grand Rapids, taking you away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Giving you different scenery from the museums, parks, and other attractions. Each one has a different length to walk, run, bike, or whatever you feel you want to do on your vacation.
# 7 – Frog Hollow
Take a break from sightseeing, relax, and let the kids run off some energy at Frog Hollow. Located just outside of the Grand Rapids area, in Wyoming, Michigan. The gorgeous playground is just one of many throughout Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan. Vacationers can take a break from the hustle and bustle of Grand Rapids, enjoy a nice picnic in the sun, and kids can enjoy boundless playgrounds.
Frog Hollow was built with a very generous grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation, along with many other sponsors and supporters. Frog Hollow has an abundance of playground equipment for all ages, stages, and abilities (or disabilities). They welcome anyone and everyone to enjoy the gorgeous outdoors, nature, and everything the area offers. As with the trails, there are many other parks in the area of Grand Rapids that you can go and relax at during your vacation. Give the kids a chance to run off some energy while you sit and watch them play and rest your legs from all of the sightseeing.
# 6 – Gerald Ford Presidential Museum
Patrons can take their children to see a bit of amazing history at the Presidential Museum. This is also the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R Ford, and his wife, Betty Ford. Visitors can walk through and experience many wonderful highlights from President and Mrs. Ford’s lives. The museum opened in September of 1981 and is one of the most popular spots for vacationers to visit while in Grand Rapids.
Visitors will take a gigantic step back in time as they walk through the doors of the museum. The museum houses an abundance of exhibits, including The Continental Struggle. They change out the exhibits at the museum regularly so that you do not miss any of the amazing history and items from decades ago. Patrons will be able to take a look at over 19,000 artifacts. Some of them are gifts given to the President, Betty Ford’s dresses, a collection of Mr. Ford’s footballs, and even items from the 1976 Presidential Election.
# 5 – Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
More for adults and older children from an iconic museum, we will head over to an interactive children’s museum. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum has interactive exhibits for children of all ages and skill levels. The museum rotates and changes exhibits regularly. This gives the children something new to see and learn about every time they visit. Children can visit the Think Tank, Live Hive, Bubbles, the TreeHouse, and much more.
The Children’s Museum also offers many programs for the local Grand Rapids children, which vacationers can also partake in while they are in the area. They offer daily programs, toddler-time, open paint, imagination laboratory, and sensory environment. Children will enjoy and learn about; slime, exploring mud, quiet music, cozy spaces, messy art, storytime, and so much more. Be sure to check their website or give them a call to see what their hours and protocol are due to the pandemic.
# 4 – Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Opened in 1995, vacationers can enjoy this gorgeous park as part of their Grand Rapids tour. Visitors will enjoy a 158-acre botanical garden, outdoor sculptures, and an art museum. Meijer Gardens also includes a large tropical conservatory, outdoor garden, nature trails, and an 8-acre Japanese garden. Patrons who are art lovers can view Jean Arp’s Torso of a Knight, The Kiss by Augusta Rodin, and Neuron by Rory Paine.
Spring highlights at the garden include the caterpillar room, 1880s Farm House, a butterfly maze, and a kid-sense garden. Visitors who love plants and flowers will enjoy the Orchid Wall, beautiful pathways, Kettle Pond, and the Wardian Case. Vacationers will want to stop into the gift shop and take a look around. They have original, unique, and hand-made items. Educational books, toys, jewelry, and greeting cards are just a few items that visitors can purchase at the gift shop.
# 3 – John Ball Zoo & Aquarium
Kids and adults alike will love to visit the John Ball Zoo. To see the gorgeous creatures that we would, otherwise, never get to see. I always say, no matter where you go on vacation, you need to visit the local zoo. The John Ball Zoo has an added excitement feature that you will no see in many other zoos (if any); a 600-foot, four-story Zipline. Visitors will step off of a platform and soar over the beautiful waterfall to another ridge. Children must be 65 pounds, and some waivers will need to be signed before they rig you up. Not only do patrons enjoy the thrilling zipline, but there are also virtual safaris, animal adventures, art at the zoo, and much more.
Some of the habitats available for vacationers to enjoy are; Crawford Tigers, Living Shores Aquarium, Natural Treasures, Red’s Hobby Farm, and many more stunning animals. Visitors will spend all day at the John Ball Zoo and not see everything they have to offer. 15 different frogs, toads, salamanders, grizzly bears, Canada Lynx, chimpanzees, and the kids can even ride a camel. The zoo also has a fully stocked gift shop so that you can purchase some memorabilia to take back home. There is also food and drinks when the visitors get just a little bit hungry while gazing at all the spectacular creatures.
# 2 – Grand Rapids Public Museum
No one can ever learn too much about history or see too many unique items that you may never find anywhere else but in a museum. The Grand Rapids Public Museum was founded in 1854, and it is the oldest museum in Michigan. There are over 25,000 artifacts for visitors to admire. The public museum focuses on culture, science, and history. They often bring in traveling exhibits to add a little something new to the spectacular in-house exhibits.
Everyone who walks through the museum doors will be amazed at all of the different exhibits. Under the Arctic, Wild Connections (made out of LEGO blocks), Egypt, 1928 Wurlitzer Organ, and the 1928 Spillman Carousel are just a few of the amazing exhibits that patrons can enjoy. Children will be amazed when they enter the planetarium. Recline and relax! Enjoy the stars. Vacationers can explore the constellations, galaxies, and far away planets. Before you leave, don’t forget to stop and grab a snack at the café and maybe a souvenir from the gift shop.
# 1 – AJ’s Family Fun Center
We close out our 10 Best Things To Do In Grand Rapids, Michigan with a one-stop, memory-making, family fun vacation stop. Create memories, laugh until your stomach hurts, and eat until you can not eat any more at AJs Family Fun Center. AJs offers group packages and rates, so definitely check this place out when you are in Grand Rapids. Take the whole family, a huge crew of friends, or just yourself and your spouse and enjoy the ultimate family fun zone. With so many things to do, you will not know where to begin.
The whole family can enjoy many different go-kart racing; regular go-karts, double go-karts, Nazkart, Spring Kart, and even kiddie karts. Some of the go-kart obstacles require you to be 16 and have a valid driver’s license. Visitors can also enjoy mini-golf, arcade games, bumper cars, and a lot more. Have a blast in the water on a bumper boat or double bumper boat, or take a swing at the batting cages. Enjoy lunch or dinner at the Gator Cage Cafe, choosing burgers, dogs, pizza, or combo meals. Enjoy some delicious ice cream for dessert. AJs Family Fun Center has everything you need to build excellent memories with the whole family.
A family vacation to Grand Rapids, Michigan, will bring you all sorts of fun, laughs, and memories. Visit the many parks that are in the area. A large number of museums, gardens, fun zones, and so much more await you. Book your vacation today and make sure that you have a grand ol’ time.