Activities for Kids in Grand Rapids, MI

By Jane Rodda
Playgrounds are typically a hit with kids.
Playgrounds are typically a hit with kids.

Situated along the Grand River, the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan has a population of 189,815 according to the 2011 U.S. census estimate. Whether you are visiting the city, or considering a move to Grand Rapids, you'll find that there's no shortage of things to do with kids in this city.

Game Centers

For a fun bowling experience, Clique Lanes ( provides 16 lanes in it's multi-level complex. They offer Friday night glo-bowling, as well as a snack bar with a variety of fun foods including munchies, like waffle fries and chicken wings, as well as burgers and sandwiches. For a more varied selection of fun, Craigs Cruisers ( offers miniature golf, go-karts, laser tag, bumper boats, bumper cars and a high ropes course. Kids will likely also enjoy the pizza and pasta buffet. Woodland Skating Center ( is a roller skating venue providing free skating, skating lessons and snacks in a family-friendly environment.


The Grand Rapids Art Museum ( features numerous exhibits including one on cutting-edge ideas in graphic design and another on 18th-century paintings. Kids can participate in "All Day with the Arts," a hands-on art-making workshop, as well as kid-oriented tours of the museum. The Grand Rapids Public Museum ( has numerous exhibits that will likely interest kids like "Great Lakes Shipwrecks: Storms and Stories" and an exhibit of artifacts from the Titanic. There's also a planetarium with laser light shows. At the Grand Rapids Children's Museum ( kids can participate in interactive exhibits that include a theater, a construction site, a shopping experience and a science discovery exhibit. There's even a Wee Discovery exhibit, which is an area designed for children ages 0 to 4 and their caregivers.

Wildlife and Nature

At the Blanford Nature Center (, kids can view wildlife, visit historic buildings and take advantage of the hiking trails in the wilderness preserve. The John Ball Zoo ( is home to more than 200 species and 2000 individual animals including lions, grizzly bears, reptiles, wolves, chimpanzees and penguins. Kids can also attend a "Zoofari" class featuring up-close visits with animals and educational tours of the grounds. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park ( has a children's garden where kids can play and explore.


Grand Rapids boasts over 70 parks for visitors and residents to enjoy. Millennium Park ( dedicates over 1,500 acres of land for recreational use. Kids can enjoy the beaches, fishing, playgrounds, splash pads, hiking trails and open fields. Huff Park (no website; Ball Avenue and Aberdeen NE; 616-456-4091) features miles of wildlife trails and wetlands, which are excellent for kids to explore. Canal Park (no website; 941 Monroe NW; 616-456-4091) is a smaller park with a playground, picnic tables and grassy areas.

About the Author

Jane Rodda has been a writer since 2004, with articles featured in "Gameday Magazine" and "Urban Family Magazine." She is also the social media director and lead copywriter for a piano instruction website. Rodda holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University.