Most of the time when you think of a public museum, you think of outdated exhibits in a low-funded and dirty space. This was far from the case when we visited The Grand Rapids Public Museum in Michigan. It has three stories of amazing exhibits on history, science, and culture.
As you enter the museum, the first thing you see is a huge skeleton of a whale that you can’t take your eyes off (which I forgot to take a picture of because I was in such awe). Next, you look at the floor as the kids go running to all of the fun games set out to play with. They had bigger than life Legos, chess, and four square just to name a few. Then across from all these amazing games, we found an exhibit on dinosaurs, streets of old Michigan, and a street car. The 1928 Spillman Carousel is also on the first floor, but we did not go see it because it cost an extra $5 to get in the exhibit and $1 ride per person, and we are cheap.
The second floor was my favorite because it had the Dream It, Build It exhibit. They not only had architectural masterpieces recreated with Lego bricks by a Certified Lego Professional Adam Reed Tucker, but they had different displays where kids could build their own creations. They had a train set made entirely out of Legos with working trains and everything.
The second floor also had historical exhibits like the ‘Thank God for Michigan’ exhibit stories civil war with uniforms, weapons, photographs, letters, and more from the museum’s vast collection.
The third floor had a display about the Native Americans of this region of Michigan. It was called ‘Anishinabek – “the people” – in their own voices’. It displayed rare and fascinating objects, photographs, and documents handed down through native families of western Michigan. Also part of this exhibit was ‘West Michigan Habitats and Newcomers: The People of this Place’ where we learned about the personal stories, work, play, families, religion, prejudices, cultural traditions, and more.
Last was the ‘Untold story of Real Pirates’ which again we did not visit (Huggs was very disappointed; she loves pirates) because it was an extra $17 for adults , $16 seniors (62 and older), and $12 children (3-17). We aren’t big on paying extra!
We gave this museum five popcorns out of a possible five because it was just awesome and so interactive and kid-friendly. The parking was free, and because we were part of the Science and Technology Reciprocal Program we got in for free. If you want to travel for Unschooling or other learning I suggest the Boonshaft museum. For 2014 it is only $95 for the year to enter over 300 zoos, aquariums, and science and technology museum for free or half off. If you aren’t members then expect to pay for general admission here at the Grand Rapids Public Museum: adults pay $8, seniors: $7 (62 and older), children/students: $3 (2-17, under 2 free). Parking was free!