For a fun bowling experience, Clique Lanes (cliquelanes.com) 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 (craigscruisers.com) 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 (woodlandskating.com) is a roller skating venue providing free skating, skating lessons and snacks in a family-friendly environment.
The Grand Rapids Art Museum (artmuseumgr.org) 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 (grmuseum.org) 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 (grcm.org) 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 (blandfordnaturecenter.org), kids can view wildlife, visit historic buildings and take advantage of the hiking trails in the wilderness preserve. The John Ball Zoo (johnballzoosociety.org) 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 (meijergardens.org) 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 (accesskent.com) 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.
The City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department offers an assortment of sports programs and camps during the summer, like soccer camp, where your 5- to 14-year-old can practice dribbling, ball work, passing, shooting and control through competitions, drills and games. At the summer fencing camp, kids 7 to 17 can learn the rules and fundamentals of fencing and compete with other participants. MVP Sports Clubs offers summer sports programs as well, like Mini Camp for 3- to 6-year-olds and Kids Sports Camp for 6- to 11-year-olds. Each camp features a weekly theme, like Mad Lab, Carnival, Superhero and Beach Week and includes activities like swimming, games, sports, arts and crafts.
At the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, your children can attend one of the day camps, such as Traditional Day Camp for kids 6 to 11 with rock climbing, swimming and crafts or the half day Kinder Day Camp for kids 4 to 5. The John Ball Zoo offers a summer day camp for kids 3 to 14, with weekly themes and activities like zoo tours, games, animal encounters and role-playing. Kids 4 to 15 can attend summer day camp at the Blandford Nature Center to learn about animals, tracks and nature.
The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids also offers a variety of overnight summer camps for kids. An Overnight Horse Camp is available for kids 8 to 15 and teaches them how to feed and care for horses along with daily riding lessons. Kids 13 to 15 can go to the Teen Overnight Camp with activities that include a high ropes course, zip-lining and water activities. Traditional Overnight Camp is for kids 7 to 12 and features rock climbing, cooking, biking, sports and water activities.
The Grand Rapids Public Library branches offer a summer reading challenge with exciting activities throughout the summer, including a Rock Garden Party, Dinosaur Encounters, Construction Truck Petting Zoo and a puppet show. Your kids can participate in swimming lessons or diving classes through the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department. Or, you can sign your kids up for one of the other youth activities through the recreation department, like Hip Hop Dance Workshop for kids 12 to 16, Princess Ballet for kids 3 to 6 or the Ballet Workshop for ages 8 to 12.