With a handy downtown location, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is a must for families with kids age 7 and under. Like a giant playhouse, the pristine museum (clean bathrooms and hand sanitizer throughout the building) invites tots to learn through hours (yes, hours!) of play. Favorite exhibits include the mom and pop store, the giant Lite-Brite and the wonder-filled bubble station, where parents and little ones can climb inside the bubble tower, pull on the ring and watch as a giant bubble surrounds them. The Funstruction tables invite lots of experimental play with magnets, Legos and dominoes. “Open Wide” is a kid-sized dentist office where junior drillers can dress up like dentists and hygienists, attach braces, drill cavities away and examine X-Rays with the help of puppet patients (if only the real dentist’s office were this much fun). Nothing beats the real giant beehive though, where visitors can observe bees entering and leaving the museum through a special plexiglass tube. Managed by Larry Hasselman of Hasselman’s Pure Michigan Honey, “Buzzy Buzzy Bees” is a safe way to watch and learn about how bees make honey and beeswax.
Admission is $8 per person (infants under 1 are free). Thursdays, from 5 to 8 p.m., are Family Nights, with admission at $1.50 per person. The museum is open 9:30 a.m. (except Sundays, when it opens at noon) until 5 p.m. every night except Thursdays, when it closes at 8 p.m.