By Jeremy Witt, West Michigan Tourist Association
Where to take that bundle of energy you call a child? There are many options right here in West Michigan.
The Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park has six (soon to be seven) courses that are broken into four different skill levels. These range from very easy to expert. Each course takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete, but you have three hours to do as much or as little as you please. They have activities for kids of all ages with a mini zipline course designed for kids ages 4 to 6, and a main deck which starts with kids that are 7 years old. You may have a hard time getting your kids to come back to the car when you visit this outdoor adventure park.
The Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven is the perfect place for young learners who don’t want to be limited to just reading. Instead, step in, see, touch, and even smell all things history. Each exhibit is housed in a structure that is appropriate for the era. For example, the Woodland Era of Native American history is found inside an authentic birch bark wigwam. While The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is open to all ages, parents and guardians typically find 1st grade and above to be the most invested in the exhibits, though highly engaged parents will find something teachable in each exhibit.
A visit to Catch Air in Grand Rapids is sure to have your kids jumping for joy. Their indoor adventure park has inflatable slides, jungle gym, bounce castle, and more. Catch Air is also the perfect place for a birthday party. Throw the most memorable and enjoyable party ever without lifting a finger. Whether you’re stopping by for an afternoon of fun, or celebrating a birthday, Catch Air is always a hopping place to be.
The Critter Barn in Zeeland is a nonprofit educational farm spanning three acres. Their curriculum focuses on promoting an understanding of agriculture, food sources, animal care, animal science, volunteer initiatives, and the farmer’s role in feeding the world. They have an authentic learning environment with many friendly animals. Working on a farm, even visiting a farm, develops character and deepens an appreciation for the world around us.
A palette of colors await you as you wind along the entrance to Holland’s treasured Windmill Island Gardens. Tour five stories of the DeZwaan windmill, the only authentic Dutch windmill operating in the United States. From the top, you can survey 36 acres of manicured gardens, dikes, and canals. Complete your immersive Dutch experience with their costumed guides, hand-painted Dutch carousel and children’s gardens, gift shops, and more. Mark your calendars for Opening Day on Saturday, April 15th, 2017!