by Courtney Sheffer
“I’m bored” is something no parent likes to hear! Luckily,the West Michigan Tourist Association has collected a list of great kid-friendly places for you to visit, with everything from water parks to zoos, and museums to festivals. Keep this list on hand year-round for ideas to pull out when the kids start getting restless, or you’re looking to plan your next family outing!
A.W. Overhiser Orchards, South Haven: Hands on animal barn, hayrides, & child corn maze.
Allegan County Fair, Allegan: Live music, midway, & a historical village.
Allegan County Parks – Recreation and Tourism, Allegan County: Bike, hike, go boating, or fish outdoors.
Air Zoo, Portage: Rare & historic aircraft, amusement park-style rides, historical exhibits and educational activities.
Barn Theatre School for Advanced Theater Training, Augusta: Theatre training programs and performances.
Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival, Battle Creek: Nation’s largest air show and balloon festival.
Berrien County Youth Fair, Berrien Springs: Exhibits from youth ages 5-10 in August.
Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek: African Adventures, Feed the Giraffes, Kids Zoo Programs.
Cass County Fair, Cassopolis: Firefighter show, supercross, and family dollar day.
Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA, Marshall: Turkey dinner, ice cream parlor, and dinner theatre.
Crane Orchards, Fennville: U-pick fruit, pie pantry, & cow train rides.
Dutch Farm Market, South Haven: Bakery, farm market, and ice cream.
Echo Valley, Kalamazoo: Tobogganing, tubing, and ice skating.
Farmers Alley Theatre, Kalamazoo: Seasonal performances with kids shows.
Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners: Visit a car of Disney movie fame, watch Model Ts drive around, and eat at the Blue Moon Diner.
Historic Charlton Park: Village, Museum & Recreation Area, Hastings: Step back in time and tour historic buildings from Barry County, & head to their beach for swimming & a picnic.
Kalamazoo County Parks, Kalamazoo: Hike, beach, picnic, or farm market.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo: Visit the Interactive Gallery for a variety of fun games, puzzles, activities, and a reading corner to enjoy.
Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, South Haven: Become a Bailey’s Budding Naturalist, tour one of the oldest homes in South Haven, and enjoy the gardens.
Michigan Flywheelers Museum, South Haven: Antique engine & tractor exhibit and display.
Michigan Maritime Museum, South Haven: Sail on the Friends Good Will restored tall ship and learn about Michigan’s maritime history.
Niles Haunted House, Niles: Michigan’s largest haunted theme park.
Olde World Village, Augusta: Visit for Frontier Days, Buccaneer Bash, or BlackRock Medieval Festival.
Saugatuck Dune Rides, Saugatuck: Learn of the lost town of Singapore or check out our local vegetation and wildlife on a dune tour.
The Silver Beach Carousel, St. Joseph: Ride the tigers, hippocampus, panda, and clown fish, and learn local history just steps from the beach.
Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises, Saugatuck: Ride an authentic sternwheeler paddleboat down the Kalamazoo River and watch for wildlife.
Stokes Homestead, Grand Junction: Wagon rides, pedal karts, corn kernel crib.’
Tibbits Opera House, Coldwater: Attend “Popcorn Theatre” which includes a show, snacks, and meeting the actors. Coming up: “Peter Pan” this July!
ArtPrize, Grand Rapids: Explore free art in and around downtown Grand Rapids.
Berlin Raceway, Marne: Weekly racing April-October, Special family events, discounted kids tickets.
Blandford Nature Center, Grand Rapids: Self-guided hikes, Children’s Camps, Visit Blandford’s Farm.
Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park, Alto: Hands-on wildlife experience, Exotic animals & reptiles, Feed the animals.
Cannonsburg Ski Area, Belmont: Ski lessons, special events, and winter trails.
Christmas Lite Show, Comstock Park: Over one million Christmas light display.
Community Circle Theatre, Grand Rapids: Magic Circle shows for kids and summer concerts.
Coopersville & Marne Railway, Coopersville: Vintage Train Car Rides, Seasonal themed outings, 90 minute rides.
Country Dairy, New Era: Visit the dairy cows, Learn how Ice Cream is Made, Enjoy a bottomless glass of milk.
Critter Barn, Zeeland: Hands-on educational farm, Hold, Pet, & Feed the Animals, Free Admission.
Danish Festival, Greenville: Annual Danish breakfast & Hans Christian Andersen Park.
Deer Tracks Junction, Cedar Springs: Wildlife safari by stagecoach, Live Theatre Show, Kids Play Area.
DeGraaf Nature Center, Holland: Knee-High Naturalist classes, adopt-an-animal, & nature programs.
Double JJ Resort, Rothbury: Splash in the water park, learn to ride a horse, attend a rodeo.
Double R Ranch, Belding: Hop on a hayride, float down the Flat River, ride a horse.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids: Children’s Garden, outdoor concerts, spring butterfly exhibit.
Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids: Free outdoor arts, entertainment, & activities.
Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, Grand Haven: Parades, fireworks, entertainment, carnival.
Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids: Purposeful play and artful learning.
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids: Play with a giant Lite Brite, make giant bubbles, and rock the stage at the Amigo Amphitheater.
Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Grand Rapids: School of theatre arts & performances.
Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids: Walk under a whale skeleton, visit the streets of old Grand Rapids, & catch a planetarium show.
The Haunt, Grand Rapids: 20,000 square feet of fear to navigate your way through.
Holland Museum, Holland: Take a Family Ties or Native American tour.
Holland Princess/Holland Water Sports: Jet ski, boat rentals, and boat cruises.
Ionia Free Fair, Ionia: Free entertainment, live music, midway.
John Ball Zoological Garden, Grand Rapids: Pet stingrays & sharks at Stingray Lagoon, ride a camel, climb through the Sky Trail Ropes Course.
Klackle Orchards, Greenville: Apple orchard, school trips, Le Tour de Donut.
Lakeshore Museum Center / Hackley & Hume Historic Sites & Scolnik House, Muskegon: Visit the hands-on science center, learn about Michigan habitats, & walk through 10,000 years of natural history.
Lewis Farm Market & Petting Farm, New Era: Visit Jeffrey the camel, bounce on the giant jumping pillow, and feed animals at the petting farm.
Loutit District Library, Grand Haven: Kids programs, classes, special events.
Mac Woods Dune Rides, Mears: Climb the sand dunes in a Dune Scooter.
Michigan Historical Museum, Lansing: Explore an Upper Peninsula copper mine, stroll along a 1920s urban street & relive the 1957 Detroit Auto Show!
Muskegon Luge and Winter Sports Complex, Muskegon: Luge, snowshoe, sled, and skate.
Nelis’ Dutch Village Theme Park & Wooden Shoe Factory, Holland: Ride the arms of a windmill, watch wooden shoe carving, watch Dutch klompen dancing.
Pando Winter Sports Park, Rockford: Tubing, skiing, and snowboarding.
Parrot’s Landing, Mears: Rent a Jeep on the sand dunes, a jet ski in Lake Michigan, or take a guided dune tour.
Post Family Farm, Hudsonville: Hayrides, homemade donuts, & fall fun days.
Pumpkinfest, Zeeland: Fall activities & pumpkin contests.
Rainbow Ranch Horseback Riding, New Era: Horseback riding, riding lessons, and sleigh rides.
Ramada Plaza, Grand Rapids: Indoor pool with a three story water slide.
Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery, Grand Rapids: Apple haus, jumping pillow, hayrides, and corn maze.
Silver Lake Buggy Rentals, Mears: Cruise the dunes, picnic on the beach or swim in Lake Michigan in your own ATV or Dune Buggy.
Teusink’s Pony Farm, Holland: Pony ring rides, hay maze, feed the sheep and goats.
Tulip Time Festival, Holland: Klompen dancing, Kinderplaats, and thousands of tulips.
Unity Christian Music Festival, Muskegon: Live music, The Hide Out youth lounge.
USS LST 393 Veteran’s Museum, Muskegon: Board a WWII Landing Ship Tank, tour the galley & crews quarters, and watch a movie at night on deck.
USS Silversides, Muskegon: Spend the night in a WWII submarine or sign up for a Submarine Technology Program.
Van Singel Fine Arts Center, Byron Center: Theatre technology school program and off-Broadway shows.
West Michigan Whitecaps, Comstock Park: Cheer on the home team, join in a wacky game between innings, and root for a home run.
Windmill Island Gardens, Holland: Dutch carousel, fudge shop, and antique street organ.
Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, Boyne Falls: Michigan’s first SuperLOOP waterslide, Rip Zone Surf Simulator, Arcade & Snack Shack.
Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City: Hands on Discovery Gallery, Family Days, Inuit Gallery.
Econo Lodge Bayview, Mackinaw City: Pirates Adventure Indoor Waterpark, Beach access, Game room.
Fairview Beachfront Inn & Waterpark, Mackinaw City: Indoor & Outdoor water park.
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum/Historical Society, Salt Ste. Marie: Explore the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes & visit the oldest functioning lighthouse on Lake Superior.
Historic White Pine Village, Ludington: Visit on a History in Action Day, or stop by Town Hall for some ice cream in a circa 1900 Ice Cream Parlor.
Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen: Art classes, education, and performances.
Jacob’s Corn Maze, Traverse City: Corn maze, farm market, u-pick.
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, Mackinac Island: Take a horse-drawn narrated tour of Mackinac Island with stops at Arch Rock and the Grand Hotel.
Moomers Homemade Ice Cream, Traverse City: Homemade ica cream and dairy farm tours.
Music House Museum, Acme: Listen to a player piano, tour a mini Traverse City, and marvel at the sounds of the 18 foot tall Dance Organ.
Pine River Paddlesport Center, Wellston: Kayak, canoe, raft, SUP.
Shetler Family Dairy, Kalkaska: Open barn, flavored milk, farm store.
Traverse Tall Ship Co., Traverse City: Cruise Grand Traverse Bay, drop anchor for a quick swim, and learn to help pilot the ship.
Treetops Resort, Gaylord: Snowboard, ski, and participate in family activities.
Wildwood Rush Canopy Tours, Boyne City: Adrenaline-filled zip line tours through the trees.