9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, in western Lower Michigan, was the boyhood home of Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States. Some of the main attractions are the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Musuem, with a model of the President's Oval Office in the White House, and the Meyer May House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
1 Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park offer indoor and outdoor space that can be enjoyed year round. The outdoor gardens showcase flowers and peaceful green spaces through a variety of garden styles. Outdoor sculptures are set in the beautiful natural scenery, backed by trees and waterways, with winding paths. The five story Lena Meijer Conservatory provides a tropical setting with exotic plants from around the world. Indoor sculpture galleries feature bronze sculptures by internationally renowned artists.
2 Meyer May House
The Meyer May House was built in 1908 and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is a modest-size Prairie style that has been restored to its original concept. It was built originally for a wealthy clothier, and over the years the house had been worked on and altered, including an addition. Restoration to return the structure to its original state took two years and involved removing the addition.
3 Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
The permanent exhibits at the Gerald R Ford Museum offer information and insights into the lives of President and Mrs. Ford. Temporary exhibits feature items from the entire Presidential libraries system, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Archives. The museum also hosts various community functions.
4 Grand Rapids Children's Museum
Grand Rapids Children's Museum has colorful play areas with hands-on exhibits geared to children 10 and under. The museum offers an opportunity for physical activity, interaction with other children, learning, and fun through a variety of permanent and temporary theme exhibits.
5 Grand Rapids Public Museum
The museum offers a variety of exhibits related to the people and history of Michigan. Visitors can take a walk down a Grand Rapids street which has been re-constructed with storefronts accurate to the times of the 1890s. A working 1928 Spillman carousel is available for rides, and visitors can walk through recreated sections of a working furniture factory from the early 20th century. Displays and artifacts from the Anishinabek people, the American Indians of West Michigan, are also on display.
6 Grand Rapids Art Museum
Housed a LEED Gold Certified green building in the downtown area, the Grand Rapids Art Museum has collections that include 19th and 20th century prints, paintings, photographs, sculptures and decorative arts. It also features an impressive Modern Art collection. Changing exhibits are held throughout the year.
7 Blandford Nature Center
Blandford Nature Center is a 143 acre area with woods, fields, ponds and streams as well as over 1,000 feet of trails, boardwalks and overlooks available. The nature center focuses on promoting stewardship through education on the environment and natural systems. The center offers all kinds of programs for kids and groups to allow them to interact with nature and wildlife. The Blandford Farm features community gardens and provides a chance for children to learn about farming and sustainable agriculture.
8 John Ball Zoo
John Ball Zoo is an adventure zoo featuring a 300-foot, 4-story Zipline and a 2-story ropes course with seven different climbing elements on each level. The zoo also features a variety of animals from all over the world. Among the many up-close-and-personal animal experiences are a Stingray Lagoon, with touchable rays and sharks, and a walk among the wallabies during the summer months. Some of the main animal attractions are the grizzly bears, lions, chimpanzees, and a Komodo dragon.
9 Fish Ladder Sculpture
This five-step concrete environmental ladder was built by a local artist to assist salmon jumping over a six-foot dam to reach the spawning grounds. It is conveniently situated along a walking area by the river for easy viewing.