Get ready to be wowed - Grand Rapids never fails to surprise visitors with the huge variety of things to see and do here: World-renowned art, museums and historic sites for cultural vacationers. World-class golf, recreation and beaches for nature lovers. Incredible farm-to-table restaurants for foodies and wholesome "playcation" fun for families.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a place of never-ending inspiration and discovery, with a focus on science, history, and culture, with three floors of hands-on fun and education exhibits for families to explore.
The GRPM, which overlooks the Grand River on Pearl Street, has something for everyone. Eclectic exhibits focus on both the natural history and the human history of this region, with plenty of hands-on and kid-friendly activities as well as more traditional museum displays. One recent exhibit, about space exploration, featured simulated space capsules visitors could climb inside. Another paid tribute to a West Michigan war hero and philanthropist who made his fortune designing the equipment to make Goldfish Crackers.
The permanent attractions here include a planetarium, an exhibit on local ecosystems, and an exhibit on the Ashinibek (also called Anishinaabeg), the indigenous people of this region.
Before Michigan was part of the United States, it was part of the Three Fires Confederacy, an alliance of the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatami tribes that may have been in place as early as 796 AD. This group had good relations with the earliest French and English visitors, trading furs and even intermarrying. According to the most recent census, Native Americans now make up about 2% of GR's population. In 2016, the GRPM hosted an exhibition honoring contemporary Native American culture alongside its classic Ashinibek exhibit.
Cover photo courtesy of GRPM.