April Events in Grand Rapids for Families

Shake off the cold. Warmer temps are teasing West Michigan and it’s time to celebrate the thaw. No matter your niche, we’ve sleuthed together a list of events in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas that are sure to meet the entire family’s needs, including those hosted in honor of National Autism Awareness Month. So, for things to do with kids in Grand Rapids – and a couple for moms and dads only – read on, mark your calendars, and let the fun begin.

Founders Film Series at Celebration! Cinemas

Ongoing through April 12, 2017 (Wednesdays only)

  • Address: Celebration! Cinema North, 2121 Celebration Drive NE, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-776-2182
  • Time: 8 p.m.
  • Costs: $2/person (must be 21-plus with ID)

Nothing goes better with a movie than good company and a cold brew. Courtesy of Founders Brewing Co., this perfect pairing is made possible at Celebration! Cinemas this spring with the Founders Film Series. Two pairings remain: Little Miss Sunshine and Curmudgeon on April 5, and Goldfinger and KBS on April 12. So arrive early to ensure your seat, then sit back, sip and enjoy the flick.

US IS THEM: Art from the Pizzuti Collection

Ongoing through May 14, 2017

  • Address: Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, 2 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-454-7000
  • Time: noon-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday
  • Costs: $5/person, free/ages 5 and under

Art has a rich history of breaking social barriers and bringing people together; this exhibit continues that legacy. Featuring 42 international artists whose work is renowned for confronting societal issues, US IS THEM exhibits not humanity’s differences, but all that we have in common. Organized geographically, purveyors can study African and Caribbean works with a focus on colonialism, Chinese art that addresses individuality, Middle Eastern works that contemplate religious freedoms, and American pieces that grapple with bigotry.

Super Hero Activity Day

April 1, 2017

  • Address: 3 Mile Project, 3050 Walkent Drive NW, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 855-772-8847
  • Time: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Costs: Free

Children with autism and their families are invited to participate in free fun the first of the month, courtesy of Centria Health Care. Get inventive with arts and crafts. Play video games, pool or foosball. Watch a movie. Dance to music, or bounce around in an inflatable house. Bring your empty bellies and indulge in free pancakes from 10 a.m. to noon. A behavioral health specialist will be onsite to answer parents’ questions on autism and discuss services in Michigan.

West Michigan Pet Expo

April 1-2, 2017

  • Address: The DeltaPlex Arena and Conference Center, 2500 Turner Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-364-9000
  • Time: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Costs: $10/ages 13-plus, $5/ages 5-12, free/ages 4 and under

Looking for a new fuzzy member to welcome home? West Michigan’s Pet Expo is the perfect place to meet all the cuddliest critters this side of the state, from canines and kittens to ferrets and bunnies. Those looking for more independent domestics can find fish, birds and amphibians. Even if you’re not looking to buy, the expo’s a great place to shop for the newest and best pet products. For any and all pet lovers, there’s live animal entertainment, a reptilian exhibit, and for the little ones, a petting zoo, and pony rides, too.

GRCM Spring Break

April 1-9, 2017

  • Address: Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, 11 Sheldon Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-856-6234
  • Time: Open hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday (extended hours, closes at 8 p.m. on Thursday), noon-5 p.m. Sunday; spring break special events: noon-2 p.m. Saturday, April 1; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 2; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Friday; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9
  • Costs: $8.50/person, $6.50/Military family members with ID, $1.75/person 5-8 p.m. on Thursday nights

Don’t keep the kiddies cooped up at home. Let them explore their local children’s museum hosting special events for the school break. They can still experience all their favorite exhibits, including Amazing Dinosaurs!, open through June 25, which permits tiny archeologists to dig up fossils and study dino habitats. Then be sure to stick around for silly songs, drums and dancing, magic and more throughout the week. Consult the website for a detailed schedule.

Drop-In Studio at GRAM: Upcycled Landscapes

April 1-29, 2017 (Saturdays only)

  • Address: Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-831-2927
  • Time: 1-4 p.m.
  • Costs: Free with admission: Free/members, $10/adult, $8/students with ID, $6/ages 6-17

Drop-In Studio is a year-round gig that lets kids get creative every weekend. For the month of April, young participants have access to upcycled materials to create mixed media landscapes. Not only do they get to let their imaginations build, but they’ll explore the importance of sustainability while they do.

Drive-In Movie at Grand Rapids Public Library

April 5, 2017

  • Address: Grand Rapids Public Library Main Branch, 111 Library St. NE, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-988-5400
  • Time: 1-3:30 p.m.
  • Costs: Free

Kids create their own cardboard cruisers among the bookshelves before the flick at this library movie day. Bring your own blankets and pillows for cushion, then hop into your car and pull up to the big screen. Kiddos casted their votes during the month of March to determine the film: Finding Dory or The Secret Life of Pets. Viewers won’t know the winner until the movie begins. Free popcorn provided.

Opening Day Bash 2017

April 6, 2017

  • Address: Fifth Third Ballpark, 4500 W. River Drive NE, Comstock Park
  • Phone: 616-784-4131
  • Time: 6-7:30 p.m. (gates open at 4:30 p.m.)
  • Costs: $26/person

With the warmth of spring comes baseball season. Kick it off right by purchasing tickets to see the West Michigan Whitecaps versus the South Bend Cubs from Pepsi Stadium Club seats. Participants enjoy all-you-can-eat barbecue and post-game fireworks. Register in advance; seats are limited.

Art.Downtown 2017

April 8, 2017

  • Address: Avenue for the Arts, 100 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-855-0435
  • Time: noon-9 p.m.
  • Costs: Free

Featuring 400 artists in more than 30 destinations, there’s no shortage of people to meet and art to admire at this citywide lollapalooza. Speak with artists, curators, and shop owners in your favorite eateries, museums, private studios and even parking lots. For one day only, Grand Rapids Trolley provides art aficionados free transportation to downtown hotspots so you can peruse the works with ease. Rain or shine, follow the red and white ART. signs speckled around and between Avenue for the Arts Corridor in the Heartside Neighborhood, Kendall College of Art and Design, and Devos Place downtown.

Springtime Walks

April 11, 18, and 25, 2017

  • Address: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-957-1580
  • Time: 1-4 p.m.
  • Costs: $14.50/ages 14-plus, $11/student with ID, $7/ages 5-13, $4/ages 3-4, free/ages 2 and younger

Anxious to get back to the dewy outdoors? On the second, third and fourth Tuesdays in April, parents and their preschoolers can stop in the picturesque gardens and sculpture park for informative springtime walks about the farm. The tiny ones can explore, learn about the animals, get crafty with hands-on fun, and hear interesting farm stories.

Spring Heirloom Hop at Robinette’s

April 15, 2017

  • Address: Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery, 3142 Four Mile Road NE, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-361-7180
  • Time: noon-4 p.m. (1-2 p.m. Easter Egg Hunt with treats/Easter Bunny photos)
  • Costs: $5/ages 21-plus, free/child (1-2 p.m.)

Featuring the best of both worlds, Robinette’s invites parents to indulge in heirloom-variety hard apple cider and wine tasting. Then at 1 p.m., unleash the munchkins for an Easter egg hunt complete with treats. The Easter Bunny will be onsite for festive photos with the little hoppers after the hunt.

Fancy Nancy at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

April 21-30, 2017

  • Address: Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, 30 N. Division, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-222-6650
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21; 12:30, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22; 12:30 and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27-Friday, April 28; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 30
  • Costs: $10-$16/ticket

Fancy a story complete with award-winning musical numbers? Based on the children’s book series, Fancy Nancy The Musical brings the tale to life. Join Nancy as she auditions for the school play and to her dismay, is cast as a tree instead of a mermaid. Watch as family and friends turn Nancy’s frown upside down, masterfully teaching young audience members they, too, can be splendiferous in the everyday roles they play. Buy tickets in advance; seats are limited.

Earth Day at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

April 22, 2017

  • Address: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-957-1580
  • Time: 1-4 p.m.
  • Costs: $14.50/ages 14-plus, $11/student with ID, $7/ages 5-13, $4/ages 3-4, free/ages 2 and younger

Celebrate our beautiful planet by learning more about the natural world on Earth Day. Kids can gather in the Children’s Garden and take part in a genial worm hunt, eco-friendly crafts, and learn, sing, and dance to earth appreciation songs.

Sensory-Friendly Museum Night at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

April 26, 2017

  • Address: Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-248-5205
  • Time: 5-7:30 p.m.
  • Costs: Free

Grand Rapids Public Museum partners with Hope Network for a free, sensory-friendly evening at the museum. Following the third-annual Bridge Walk for Autism at the Blue Bridge in Downtown Grand Rapids, kids with autism and their parents are invited to swing by, explore the exhibits with adapted sounds and lighting, and partake in low-sensory activates. While entry is free, space is limited to the first 700 who register at Eventbrite.

Downtown GR Bike Party: Downton Abbey Tweed Ride

April 28, 2017

  • Address: Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Costs: Free

Throw on the tweed from the back of your closet and get back to cycling for this Downton Abbey-themed ride. Free and open to all ages and skills, meet in Rosa Parks Circle then leisurely cycle through Downtown Grand Rapids and the city’s west side.


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