John Ball Park Zoo

John Ball Zoological Garden is located in Grand Rapids Michigan and is an urban park with over 100 acres located on the west side of the city. Your family or group can really meet the wild at John Ball Zoo which features everything from regal tigers to playful river otters to graceful pink flamingos along with a tree course, zip line, and hands-on petting zoo! Your family or group can visit the colorful aviary, fun aquarium, animal encounters, ride funicular inclined railway, and much more! The John Ball Zoo is situated on the ravines and bluffs along the west edge of the park. The zoo houses a variety of animals from around the world and is a major regional attraction.

Frederik Meijer Gardens

Close to all our vacation rental homes in Grand Rapids is Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, located at 1000 East Beltline N.E. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, opened to the public in April of 1995. Meijer Gardens includes Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; five indoor theme gardens; outdoor gardens, nature trails, and boardwalk; One of the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences - sculpture galleries and permanent sculpture collection; library; café; gift shop; education center; and meeting rooms. Both indoors and outdoors, the 158-acre main campus is barrier-free and handicap accessible. Enjoy a day with your family, group, or reunion. Our 2009 building upgrade was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver status by the USGBC (U.S Green Building Council). Since it opened, Meijer Gardens has attracted more than twelve million visitors.

Cascade Township Park

Cascade Township, Michigan currently has one 55 acre recreation park which is fun for families and groups, located approximately one mile south of 28th Street at 3810 Thornapple River Drive SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The park offers a variety of recreational opportunities including two baseball/softball diamonds, a multi-purpose field for soccer/football, a one-mile pedestrian path, four horseshoe pits, a sand volleyball court, an 18-hole Frisbee golf course, and four tennis courts.

The park also has two large play systems and a swing set for children in the 5-12-year-old age group, one of which was installed in July, 1999. There is a shelter adjacent to the play area. A pavilion and a gazebo offer additional shelter and are located at either end of the park. Picnic tables can be found all over the park including the three shelters. Restroom facilities are also available.

In winter, a large hill at the East End of the park is used for sliding and tobogganing. The pedestrian path is kept clear for walking and there is plenty of wide-open space for cross-country skiing.

James C. Veen Observatory

Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association takes pride in its James C. Veen Observatory near Lowell, Michigan, a multifaceted educational and research facility named after the co-founder and first president of the GRAAA. It houses three permanently mounted astronomical telescopes and several portable instruments, all available (with some age-based restrictions) to members following appropriate orientation. The observatory was constructed primarily by GRAAA members over five years, with support from community foundations and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. It became fully operational in 1970. The building consists of:

  • 2 Ash Domes, which contain the following equipment:
  • West (large) Dome:
  • 16-inch Schmidt Cassegrain
  • East (small) Dome:
  • 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain

There is also a 17-inch Dobsonian located on the grounds for general viewing purposes, and a Lunt hydrogen-alpha telescope is available for solar observing. The Observatory has a large meeting room, an extensive library, and an audio-visual system for presentations to both GRAAA members and the public.

Leslie E. Tassell Park

The Leslie E. Tassell Park, a 3.2-acre park on the Thornapple River, is located just south of Cascade Rd., at 2900 Thornapple River Dr. Construction of the park began in spring 2001 with completion in 2002. The park, situated beneath a variety of mature hardwood trees and beautiful landscaping, boasts an interactive fountain, sculptures, a fire pit, two shelters, and a public restroom. Picnic tables and benches are located throughout the park.

Opportunities for your family, group or reunion abound for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, relaxing along the bank of the river or picnicking. The park is near Cascade Rd. and Thornapple River Dr. pathways, allowing easy access by foot or bicycle. There are two small lots at either end of the park for vehicle traffic.

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park, just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan is a full Zoo and Safari adventure... With over 100 acres and thousands of animals, Boulder Ridge makes for a great adventure for the whole family, reunions, or groups. Come experience the wild! A unique, hands-on experience for the entire family. The park boasts a distinct collection of exotic animals and reptiles, and the variety and dynamic atmosphere make Boulder Ridge anything but your average zoo. From hand feeding Giraffes to riding on our Safari...You are sure to enjoy your next visit to Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park!

Woodland Mall

Woodland Mall is a premier shopping and family destination in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Convenience is prioritized with services including children’s play area and free cell phone charging stations. A great activity for your large and small groups, family reunions, or wedding parties with many restaurants and shopping activities.

Shop for your day to day needs like affordable and high-end clothing, home decor, jewelry, and children’s clothing. Explore over 100 top brands including Apple, Von Maur, Pottery Barn, Urban Outfitters, Altar’d State, The North Face, LUSH, J. Crew, REI, Forever 21, Sephora, Ann Taylor, Williams-Sonoma, Buckle, Express, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Bath & Body Works, Swarovski, and many others.

Grab a quick bite in our Cafe in the Woods food court or enjoy full-service dining at The Cheesecake Factory, Black Rock Bar & Grill, On The Border, Red Robin, Jamba, and Olga’s Kitchen. Woodland Mall hosts many free events and programs for the community and families to enjoy year-round.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

The Children’s Museum is located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Children’s Museum is great for large and small groups, family reunion activities and celebrates childhood and the joy of learning by providing an interactive, hands-on experience that encourages self-directed exploration. Eighteen permanent exhibits include Aunt Daisy’s Farm, Mom & Pop Store, Treehouse, Giant Lite Brite, Wee Discover, Wee Bank, Puppet Stage, Buzzy Buzzy Bees and Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles!

These are supplemented with rotating featured exhibits that engage and encourage young minds and bodies. The 1916-era building is hard to miss: large expanses of plate glass give passersby a view of the fun inside and one exterior wall is covered with a large mosaic that was originally installed for ArtPrize 2009.

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