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Sailor

Kid-friendly Grand Rapids

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Where do you folks with kids take them for fun? We've got friends with four kids coming in from out of state, and we'd love to show them the best of Grand Rapids, but I don't think the staff at Leo's would approve... :P Not having kids ourselves, we're stumped.

We're already planning on Meijer Gardens, the Children's Museum, and maybe Aunt Sailor and Uncle First Mate will take them for ice cream. :fun:

What else would show off our fair city yet still be okay for four little kids?

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1. Meijer Gardens

2. Jersey Junction for Icecream

3. Depending on the age of the kids, the park on the river (6th St. Park? Canal St.? whichever one has a little playground) is nice to just sit around while the kids play, with a nice view of the river and city... if it's warm enough

4. if it snows, go tubing at Pando

5. If it's sunny/warm go hiking ... spring wildflowers will be coming pretty soon (we have crocuses coming up right now)

6. Yesterdog (there were no fewer than 12 kids under the age of 10 in there today at lunch)

7. If they're older and it's nice out, go play disc-golf ( http://tinyurl.com/25jkju )

8. If they're younger the Children's Museum is good, but not great (compared to other cities at least)

9. The Van Andel museum is nice...the carosel is very popular with the littl'ns

10. The EGR public library puts on a nice face and has a great kids area in the lower floor. I've never been to the children's section of the downtown GRPL branch, but it's probably nice too.

Good luck. My kids are both under 3 years old, so I don't have a huge list for you. :)

11.

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Depends on their ages and the time of year. Go see the fish ladder (won't kill too much time though), Griffins, Rampage or Whitecaps game...inexpensive yet fun for all ages. Zoo? The Childrens Museum is embarissing if you ask me. So many other cities our size have far superior childrens museums.

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Depends on their ages and the time of year. Go see the fish ladder (won't kill too much time though), Griffins, Rampage or Whitecaps game...inexpensive yet fun for all ages. Zoo? The Childrens Museum is embarissing if you ask me. So many other cities our size have far superior childrens museums.

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Mangiamo's is a pretty decent place to take kids. If you haven't been, the home is beautiful since they changed it over from Gibson's starchiness, and they have large blackboards on the walls that the kids can write on. Age specific entertainment.

I was just in The BOB recently and they've changed the foyer into a jungle theme, much like the old Big Cahuna's in Rivertown Mall (that closed). They've also added a trippy new glass catwalk on the fifth floor level. If you go early enough, I'd say it's kid friendly (Bobarino's maybe?).

Craig's Cruisers is loud and fun for kids maybe 8 - 15.

Definitely Jersey Junction and walking around Gaslight Village in the Summer, and then walk down to the park and watch boaters on the lake. Big Bob's Pizza hits the spot too.

The new lion exhibit at the zoo is supposed to open this Summer, and the new zipline is pretty fun.

When the kids don't have school-related activities going on, that's a lot of the stuff we do.

Then there's that big mall/entertainment complex downtown with an IMAX, Dave & Busters, science museum, lots of shops, a Nordstrom, aquarium and riverwalk all wrapped into one. Oh wait...

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Mangiamo's ...

The BOB ...

Craig's Cruisers ...

Jersey Junction ...Gaslight Village ..

lion exhibit at the zoo ...zipline ...

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You didn't say when, but there's an event at the Van Andel Museum Center tomorrow (3/29/08) where kids and parents can enjoy a multi media presentation about Great Lakes shipwrecks, try on scuba gear and learn about exploring the treasure in the lakes. It's their Adventure Club and it runs from 11 am til 4 pm.

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1. Meijer Gardens

2. Jersey Junction for Icecream

3. Depending on the age of the kids, the park on the river (6th St. Park? Canal St.? whichever one has a little playground) is nice to just sit around while the kids play, with a nice view of the river and city... if it's warm enough

4. if it snows, go tubing at Pando

5. If it's sunny/warm go hiking ... spring wildflowers will be coming pretty soon (we have crocuses coming up right now)

6. Yesterdog (there were no fewer than 12 kids under the age of 10 in there today at lunch)

7. If they're older and it's nice out, go play disc-golf ( http://tinyurl.com/25jkju )

8. If they're younger the Children's Museum is good, but not great (compared to other cities at least)

9. The Van Andel museum is nice...the carosel is very popular with the littl'ns

10. The EGR public library puts on a nice face and has a great kids area in the lower floor. I've never been to the children's section of the downtown GRPL branch, but it's probably nice too.

Good luck. My kids are both under 3 years old, so I don't have a huge list for you. :)

11.

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... Kids can also be amused with something as simple as sidewalk chalk and a bike ride.

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Thanks, everyone! Great ideas in here. The visit is this weekend, so there won't be a whole lot of activity...Plus, they're all very young, so unfortunately some of the sporting events are out. I've got a good list now; I think I'll forward it to other friends and relatives. This certainly won't be our last round of visitors this year!

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Meijer Gardens has their annual butterfly exhibit going on as we speak - it is a HUGE hit with kids, even the very littlest!!!!! It's been an annual ritual for my kids since they were 2yrs old (they're now almost 9). This could easily be your number one option.

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