[note] Tickets for this review were provided by the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. All opinions are my own. [/note]
by Leslie P
We recently made the 50 minute drive to check out the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. While we had always heard positive reviews, we had never been. It certainly didn’t disappoint! Our kids, ages three and 19 months, had so much fun learning, creating and playing “make believe” at the exhibits.
The museum features two levels of space for kids as young as one to explore. The ground level features a space called Wee Discover, where you must be under a certain height to play. The littlest visitors will find building blocks, a toy kitchen, colored ball sorter, puppet theater and lots of space to run around and be a toddler.
The most popular area of the ground level was the grocery store. Kids can grab a shopping cart and go shopping for produce, meats and other groceries. After they are done shopping they bring their groceries to the check-out lane where another friend can scan their purchases. The grocery store features a bakery, deli and even Sandy the horse from Meijer! My three year old loved it and would have stayed there all day shopping.
Other highlights of the “Little GR” ground exhibits:
- A gas machine to fill up your toy car.
- A play pizza kitchen.
- A post office.
- The chance to work under the hood of a car.
- Space to “perform” in a costume, complete with dressing room.
- Hands-on activities including a lighted Lego station, sand table and wooden block building table.
As you head to the upper floor, you will get a view of a wooden tree house/fort area (my three year old referred to it as a “castle”). The tree house was one of my kids’ favorite areas of the museum. It features windows where you can look down at the lower level, books to read, as well as a tube phone to yell a message in that someone in another area of the museum can hear. My kids kept running back to the tree house in between other exhibits. Another fun area that my children enjoyed is the musical exhibit. Kids can play the piano, test out different drums and even bang on a musical wall to hear different sounds.
Other highlights of the upper level include:
- Activity area to balance on beams over “lava.”
- Rock-climbing wall and disc spinning station.
- Fun on the Farm area to garden and take care of farm animals.
- Hands-on activities included a crafting/coloring table, magnet table, block table and bubble station which included the opportunity to stand inside a giant bubble!
Overall, we really enjoyed our visit to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. I feel that it was definitely worth the drive and the cost of admission. While you do have to pay full price for any child over one, there are so many activities for a child that young, that it is absolutely worth it. We spent almost two hours at the museum and our kids did not want to leave, which speaks for itself!
Tips From A Parent
- There is limited parking in front of the museum. You may want to check out the map on their homepage before you visit, so that you can familiarize yourself with the area.
- Think twice about bringing a stroller. We immediately regretted bringing ours as soon as we realized our youngest would be too busy playing to sit in it!
- Consider inviting other family members or friends to join you. In such a busy place, it’s always nice to have extra eyes and hands.
- While everything at the museum was very clean, you may still want to consider bring hand sanitizer or wipes.
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
11 Sheldon Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Under One: FREE
Ages 1-64: $8.50
Senior (65+): $7.50
Military Family: $6.50
School Faculty Member: $6.50
Thursday Family Night: $1.75
Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tuesday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (Family Night 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
Friday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm