Grand Rapids, Michigan is situated along the Grand River just to the east of Lake Michigan. With a population of more than 188,000 residents, there are a lot of little toddlers and preschoolers to keep occupied. If you're a mom living in or visiting the area, you'll find there are plenty of activities to keep your little ones happy.
Zoo or Museum Activities
Take your wild one to the John Ball Zoo (johnballzoosociety.org) for a day of exploring. Watch as the chimpanzees play together in the Peter C. and Pat Cook Mokomboso Valley Chimpanzee Exhibit. Visit the LV Eberhard Red's Hobby Farm to interact with pigs, cows and sheep, drive a tractor and meet adorable chickens and turkeys. Make a day of it at the Grand Rapids Children's Musuem (grcm.org). Check out Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles! where your cutie pie can experiment and even put herself inside a giant bubble. Your toddler will love Wee Discover, the play space designed for kids under 5. She can play with colorful balls, pretend in a kid-size kitchen and explore all of the hands-on activities.
Classes and Recreation
Find a class for your busy body. Take him to the Joyful Sounds Music Studio (kidsmusicgrandrapids.com) for a Music Together class. This class is ideal for your toddler or preschooler and involves experimenting with musical instruments, singing, rhythm chants and movement in an exciting, playful setting. The City of Grand Rapids (grandrapids.govoffice.com) has some fantastic recreational programs. In the summer your little man can play T-ball or soccer if he's 4. During the cold winter months take your toddler to Toddler Swim Time at the Community Education District #318. In the spring and fall, you can go to open swim time to splash, jump and swim with your little fish.
Get outside on a nice day to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine with your cutie. Take her to Blandin Beach Park (no website; 10th Ave. and 6th St. NW, Grand Rapids; 218-326-2500) to play on the renovated playground, or cool off on the splash pad at Millennium Park (no website; 1415 Maynard Ave. SW, Grand Rapids; 616-791-2357) on a hot summer day. Head over to the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (meijergardens.org) to take the children's tour around the park, inside and outside. Visit the Children's Garden where you and your kiddo can put on a puppet show in the Story-Telling Garden or dig for fossils in the Rock Quarry. Navigate the Butterfly Maze and climb around the Treehouse Village. Whatever you do, take time to soak up all the giggles and smiles!
Treat your little guy to some indoor play time on a rainy or dreary winter day. Head over to Java Gym (javagymgr.com) to let your little man blow off some steam. He can play on the four levels of indoor play or check out the toddler area. You can join right in or relax with a hot cup of coffee while he runs and plays. At Gymboree (gymboreeclasses.com) you can take your kiddo for Family Gymboree Play and Learn where he can participate in parachute activities and games with other kids his age. You can also visit the Grand Rapids Public Library (grpl.org) to spend time cuddled up reading stories together. Join some of the programs at the library like one of the story times or Celebrate the Holiday with Mrs. Claus in December.