Stars of the Pharaohs
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 North Rose St., Kalamazoo
Jan. 4 - March 21
Mon-Thu & Sat, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri, 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
kalamazoomuseum.org, (269) 373-7990
Travel back to ancient Egypt at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and learn how they used science and stars to tell time, note the passing of seasons and align enormous structures. This planetarium show is a little under a half hour, is geared toward 5th grade and up and is a "blend of history and astronomy," according to Eric Schreur, planetarium coordinator. Kids interested in mummies and ancient Egypt will be fascinated as they travel through monumental temples and tombs that have been digitally recreated in their original splendor. There are even actual photographic shots of temples as they appear today, which then cross fade to what those temples looked like as they were fairly new in Egypt. Schreur especially loves King Tut's tomb and thinks youngsters will have great insight into the thoughts of the ancient Egyptians and their connection to the stars.
2213 Wealthy St. suite 110, Grand Rapids
Saturdays, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.
$30 for kids 12 and under (includes all materials and instructions)
brushgr.com, (616) 805-5099
Here's the beauty in the Brush Studio Family Day: you can stay and paint with your child (insert foggy Hallmark moment) or you can grab a glass of wine and watch (and relax, darn it!). This painting session doesn't take as long and isn't as detailed, which is perfect for little children with even littler attention spans. "It's more family friendly," said Heather Callahan, Brush owner. "We take breaks and play appropriate music." Geared toward ages 8 and up, this hour/hour-and-a-half is a nice dose of instant gratification for kids as they get to bring home a 16 x 28 actual canvas painting (not the usual crafts you toss in a week) that looks professional and can hang in their bedroom. When you combine kids and painting you get "an experience that's uniquely theirs." Families can paint, laugh and enjoy a creative experience together that celebrates accomplishments in kids. "This is a very non-threatening environment. There's no right or wrong. It's a confidence boost. Kids are impressed with themselves when they leave."
Tiny Tots: Folk Tales
31 W. 10th St., Holland
Jan. 20, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
$1.50 per child, free admission for members
hollandmuseum.org, (616) 392-9084
Maximize the use of your child's senses with a trip to the Holland Museum, where they have the chance to visit and look at objects in the gallery, listen to a story and get their hands working on a craft. Recommended for ages 2 to 5 years, the theme of the event is Folk Tales and it draws connections to the museum's exhibit Dutch Folklore: The Linocuts of Cornelia Van Geuns. "I'm a parent with small kids and sometimes museum spaces can be a little intimidating," said Wendy Van Woerkom, education coordinator. The event shares with children a number of linoleum block prints featuring Dutch folktales along with the possibility of making wooden shoe boats or working with a craft that scares anything bad away for the New Year. Expect a couple of stories, a visit to the gallery and a talk about basic gallery manners. "They get to come in before the museum is open, and it's a treat for them to have the place to themselves and visit one or two items." Hey, whenever you can work in some manners, it's a good thing.
Van Andel Arena
130 W Fulton, Grand Rapids
Jan. 26, 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $16
vanandelarena.com, (616) 742-6600
When sports and laughter combine you get "magic," according to T-Time Brawner of the Harlem Globetrotters. The guard is ready to shoot some hoops at Van Andel Arena along with a rotating roster of stars such as Special K Daley, Flight Time Lang and Dizzy Grant – plus female stars TNT Maddox and Sweet J Ekworomadu. "I get to play the game that I love and inspire young girls and women around the world," Brawner said. The basketball game is a high-energy entertainment event filled with laughter, music and mesmerizing ball handling, an assortment of trick shots, high-flying dunks and precise timing—all with an array of comedy guaranteed to amuse. Brawner compares a game to "an amusement park with lots of thrills" and will unveil a new dance this year: the Trotter Bounce.