Ready for sunnier days ahead, but not sure how you’ll keep the kids entertained all summer long? Rest assured, you can spend it slathered in sunscreen and sharing in belly laughs — right here in Grand Rapids! Tuck away this outdoor summer bucket list for families and you’ll be on your way to warm-weather days you’ll enjoy every bit as much as your little ones!
Millennium Park — Six acres of sandy beach, paired with a massive splash pad dotted by more than a dozen sprayers, buckets, splashers, and water features that’ll guarantee a good cool-down! Splash in the clear, 100-acre lake (with well-marked swimming area) and picnic by the Beach House with concession stand treats.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park — One step through the miniature gate of the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden will leave your little ones speechless! Use all five senses to explore this experiential learning garden — touching leaves that feel like lambs’ ears, launching a boat in the “Great Lakes”, or digging for fossils in the Rock Quarry.
TreeRunner Adventure Park — Aerial adventure park with over 70 obstacles and ziplines, three difficulty levels, and seven courses to explore — plus a Junior Park for littles ages four to seven! Enjoy family bonding time on an adventure in the trees!
John Ball Zoo — Amur tigers to African lions, see it all at this incredible zoo inside an urban park! Swing by Red’s Hobby Farm to pet the farm animals, feed birds right from the palm of your hand inside the Budgie Aviary, and take a camel ride together (complete with souvenir photo). And don’t leave without trying the four-story zipline or taking a ride on the Funicular!
Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park — See nearly 1,500 animals across 180 species — Addax Antelope to Red Kangaroo — even a new baby giraffe named Toskey! Give your kids the chance to possibly pet a baby zebra, wildebeest, or water buffalo, and hop a safari ride through the park before picnicking together and enjoying the playground!
Deer Tracks Junction — Take a fully-guided wildlife safari tour (where you might get to see a baby animal being born!), pet and feed animals from camels to alpacas, and enjoy the large playground, followed by a homemade treat from the Plop Plop Ice Cream Shop!
Critter Barn — Give your kiddos the chance to meet, pet, feed (and even hug!) baby animals down on the farm! Help feed hay to the goats, sheep, and cows, go inside the chicken coop, and enjoy seeing all kinds of animals, from pot-bellied pigs to a pony! Afterward, enjoy a picnic lunch together on the lawns of the front pasture.
Go Cruisin’ Together
AJ’s Family Fun Center — Go-karts to mini-golf, bumper boats to batting cages — challenge each other to a fun-filled day of family competition here!
Craig’s Cruisers — Bumper boats (and double bumper boats), go-karts (and double go-karts), enjoy family time together like never before at any of this West Michigan favorite’s four locations!
Catch a Fly Ball (or a Flick)
West Michigan Whitecaps — Bring the whole crew for a classic summer day at the ballgame, and let your little ones enjoy all the add-on fun! Stop off at the Meijer Hometown Playground (along the first base side of the concourse) for inflatables and two bounce houses! And don’t forget that every Sunday is Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Day — including pre-game catch and autographs on the field, a post-game chance for kids to run the bases, and free eats for the first 1,000 kids under 12!
Movies on Monroe — Grab your blankets, lawn chairs, and snacks, and treat the kids to a showing under the stars! From Beetlejuice to Matilda, Hotel Transylvania 3 to Space Jam, this year’s lineup is packed with family favorites!