Tuesday, 28 July 2020 15:35

BOTW 2020: Attractions Winners

Written by  Josh Veal
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THIS YEAR, WE DECIDED TO INTRODUCE ENTIRELY NEW CATEGORIES FOR THE PLACES THAT DESERVE RECOGNITION BUT DON’T FIT INTO THE USUAL AREAS OF “DINING” OR “DRINKING.”

Attractions are — quite simply — a place you go to do fun stuff. Craig’s Cruisers? That’s an attraction. Escape rooms? Those are attractions.

We wanted to honor these places both old and new, as there’s far more to do in West Michigan than simply grab a beer or go shopping.

You’ll notice Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is leading the pack, which comes as no surprise. It’s a nature trail, an indoor rainforest, a museum of plants, an art gallery, an outdoor sculpture park, and a music venue — all in one. There’s even an area just for the kids to play! It’s the best of all worlds.

John Ball Zoo is up there too, for obvious reasons, as well as Grand Rapids Public Museum. These are places where we can see unique, exciting things that aren’t available anywhere else.

As for new attractions, the Fowling Warehouse won out for being fun and one-of-a-kind. Who would’ve thought throwing footballs at bowling pins would warrant its own warehouse? Well, it helps that craft beer is in the mix. 

On the flipside, you have Wood Splitters Axe Throwing, which doesn’t pair as well with beer. Axe throwing is the hottest trend right now, which goes to show one of humans’ favorite activities is throwing things — or maybe it’s that the “Thunk!” of the blade sinking into wood is so cathartic.

The third new attraction is the Grand Rapids Grand Prix, which takes go-karts to new speeds — up to 35 miles per hour, to be exact. If you want to really feel like a pro driver, this is the place to go.

All in all, these categories were highly popular with the voters. And while there have been some adjustments made due to COVID-19, these attractions are clearly here to stay.


BEST KIDS ATTRACTIONS
John Ball Zoo
1300 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (2nd)
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (3rd)

BEST NEW ATTRACTION 
Fowling Warehouse
6797 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids

Wood Splitters Axe Throwing (2nd)
Grand Rapids Grand Prix (3rd) 

FRIENDS & FAMILY ATTRACTION
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

John Ball Zoo (2nd)
Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park (3rd)

LEGACY ATTRACTIONS
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

John Ball Zoo (2nd)
Grand Rapids Public Museum (3rd)

MUSEUMS
Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Art Museum (2nd)
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (3rd)


STAFF PICK

by Josh Veal

FRIENDS & FAMILY ATTRACTION
Locked 460
2035 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids

After quarantining for months, it may seem strange to leave my house just to be locked up in a different room, but my house doesn’t have tons of fun puzzles and mysteries to solve! Locked 460 is the best escape room I’ve done yet, with puzzles finding that perfect balance of challenging but not obtuse. Plus, your staff “helper” is watching over a camera and communicating via TV screen, which means they’re not breathing on you the whole time. It’s not just a 60-minute experience — the puzzles stick in my brain for days, and the memories last forever.

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