A few weekends ago we made our way to Grand Rapids to go to a
children’s ballet production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
and the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit
at the Grand Rapids Public Museum– an odd,
but fun, combination of activities! While
the Grand Rapids area is where I grew up and I have family we can visit and
stay with, it’s honestly not a bad day trip from Southeastern Michigan. It’s an easy two hour drive to get there, and
I think it is a super family-friendly town with lots to see and do.
|photo via Grand Rapids Museum|
I don’t know about you, but I continue to find dinosaurs fascinating,
and I love opportunities to share them with my kids to help all of us learn
more about them. The
Cranbrook Institute of Science
which, in addition to their regular collection, currently has a special exhibit
called Dinosaurs – The Lost World
on display until the end of June. While
the skeletons are interesting for my kids, exhibits like Dinosaurs Unearthed
that use animatronics really bring dinosaurs to life in a way that skeletons
can’t. Watching the dinosaurs move and make
noise is especially captivating.
This exhibition on display in Grand Rapids is focused on feathered
dinosaurs and their connection to modern day birds. It showcases fossil evidence that has led scientists
to now believe that dinosaurs are the ancestors of modern birds instead of
They also do a great job of interactive stations for kids. My younger daughter enjoyed playing with the
dinosaur figures and digging for dinosaur bones, while my older daughter spent
a lot of time with the various skeleton puzzles.
After you’re done learning all about these feathered dinosaurs, the
rest of the exhibits in the museum are worth exploring too. We especially love to step back in time and
walk on the brick streets through a re-creation of Grand Rapids in the 1890s
with their Streets of Old Grand Rapids exhibit
Their planetarium is also excellent!
And kids young and
young-at-heart won’t want to miss a ride on their carousel.
If you go, I highly recommend a stop at The Cottage Bar
for lunch or dinner. Located not too far
from the museum, they are the oldest operating bar and restaurant in downtown
Grand Rapids – in business since 1927!
It’s a casual, family-friendly joint with good burgers and chili. Apparently they were even voted best burger
in Michigan in 2010 by USA Today. Just
make note that they are not open on Sundays.
We were also truly impressed with the quality of the Creative Arts Repertoire Ensemble
(CARE Conservatory of Ballet). The performances last an hour, which is perfect for young audience members, and are designed to introduce families to dance by presenting condensed versions of classic ballets as well as original ballets based on children’s literature. We have heard their original production of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
is delightful, and we have already marked the calendar to take part in this holiday tradition next year!
The Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit is only open until April 27, so hurry! I look forward to sharing more of my favorite
west side hometown spots with you in the future!