Unplug & Play: Family Fun in West Michigan
Photo: Putters Creek.


Summer is in full swing, the kids are home from school, and there are only so many times they can bike around the neighborhood. 

Luckily, West Michigan is chock full of fun, engaging, interactive, and even educational things to do with every member of the family. From go-karts to mini-golf, laser tag and climbing walls, there are the family fun centers. Then we have zoos and nature centers, perfect for a beautiful day of weather.

Plus, museums with exhibits that will awe the kids and fascinate the parents alike. And, let’s be honest, you don’t have to have kids to enjoy these excellent attractions and experiences!


Craig’s Cruisers

5730 Clyde Park SW, Wyoming  /  craigscruisers.com

West Michigan weather can switch on a dime, even in the summer, but rain or shine, there’s fun to be had at Craig’s Cruisers. Outside, the 130-foot-tall zipline rushes 650 feet across the go-kart track, bumper boats and mini golf course. Inside in the air conditioning, a spinning rollercoaster excites kids of all ages and electric go-karts zip around the track, while the most agile of your group can test their skills on the ninja warrior course.

Putters Creek

40 Whitehall Rd, North Muskegon / putterscreek.com

Mini golf, go karts, gellyball, even paddleboards on the Muskegon River—Putters Creek has it all. This is a unique fun center with a connection to nature, and special Glow Golf nights that make use of glowing accessories and LED light-up balls. Due to high demand, they’ve added even more of these nights for 2024! Plus, try out the gellyball, which is like paintball but without any of the paint, and much lower-impact (it’s more like getting hit by a rubberband). That’s our kind of family therapy.

AJ’s Family Fun Center

4400 Ball Park Dr., Comstock Park  /  ajsfamilyfun.com

The waterfalls of AJ’s beckon cars from the West River offramp, and the fun extends far beyond the bumper boats you can see from the highway. The mini golf course crosses bridges above the water features, and a wild putt just might find its way over to the go-kart fences. Batting cages are available for the sporty, while others can find respite from the hot summer days inside the arcade. 

Airway Fun Center

5626 Portage Rd., Portage  /  airwayfuncenter.com

There’s so much at Airway, you might not be able to fit it all in one visit! The athletically inclined can tackle the climbing walls, ropes course, or even the laser tag and laser maze — while those in the mood for something more relaxed can enjoy VR experiences, the extensive arcade, and mini golf. Safely release some sibling animosity with the balladium experience, where participants shoot foam balls from stationary launchers. Those taller than 54 inches can also ride the first four-person gyroscope in the world, adding some theme-park excitement.

Nelis’ Dutch Village

12350 James St., Holland  /  dutchvillage.com

Have you ever seen a Ferris Wheel combined with a Dutch windmill? That attraction and much more can be found at Nelis’ Dutch Village. Beyond several kid-friendly rides, the whole family can feed the animals in the petting zoo, launch water balloons at a pirate ship (from the perspective of a Dutch trading ship, obviously), slide down a giant wooden shoe, or enjoy a myriad of other themed experiences, food and shopping.

Revel & Roll West

4500 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo  /  revelandrollwest.com

Fans of Avatar will love the multi-level laser tag arena themed after that 2009 blockbuster at Revel & Roll. Kids bowl free as a part of the nationwide Kids Bowl Free program, giving two games per day with parent registration. Beyond bowling, you can enjoy interactive virtual reality games, ping pong and axe throwing.

The Lost City

12330 James St., Holland  /  the-lostcity.com

The Lost City houses one of the best laser tag arenas in West Michigan, designed by the leading laser tag consultant in the country (bet you didn’t know that was a career choice!). On the weekends, three-hour all-you-can-play laser tag events add to the attractions, which include a full arcade and desert-themed mini golf.

Allegan Event

439 River St., Allegan  |  alleganevent.com

For familes that love to climb, slide and play, this indoor adventure created by zipline experts has it all: the Sky Trail indoor ropes course with zip rails, a smaller ropes course called Sky Tykes, 16 colorful clip and climb walls of varying difficulty, not to mention a large arcade, outdoor patio and Allegan Event's newest outdoor attraction: 18 holes of Adventure Mini Golf. Plus, check out the Amaze’n Mazes! “Prove your skills by navigating your way through the many pathways of the maze in order to reach the exit. As you enter the maze, you’ll punch your card to record the time you entered, then avoid wrong turns and dead-ends to locate four hidden checkpoints within the maze before you can race to the finish.”


John Ball Zoo
1300 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids  /  jbzoo.org

One of Grand Rapids’ largest and oldest attractions is also a great opportunity to learn. The John Ball Zoo is up-close and personal, which is ideal for actually seeing animals. Throughout the park, you may even find some animals outside of their cages with the zookeepers, giving you an opportunity to be closer while learning a thing or two. If you haven’t been to the zoo in a while, they’ve been going through big renovations and expansions over the years and bringing in new animals like a red panda, meerkats, toucans, armadillos and more. Plus, did you know there are special experiences to join in on all season long? Check out the Twilight Tours, which let you see the zoo in a new light and occur most Fridays and Saturdays, right before sunset. Or sign up for one of the Behind the Scenes tours that lets kids see special spots close up, such as the Under the Sea tour, which gives you the chance to touch a sea star and urchin while learning about how the aquarium is kept clean and running.

Blandford Nature Center
1715 Hillburn Ave. NW, Grand Rapids  /  blandfordnaturecenter.org

Inspired by true nature—getting dirty and learning hands-on—the Blandford Nature Center is passionate about what they do. With a passion for building community, Blandford focuses on rescuing animals while letting them live in a truly natural setting. It may not have all the animals big zoos have, but it does have lovely “wildlife ambassadors” like owls, vultures, snakes and turtles, all of whom couldn’t survive completely on their own.

Binder Park Zoo
7400 Division Dr., Battle Creek  /  binderparkzoo.org

As one of the most interactive animal experiences around, Binder Park Zoo packs it all in. Located in Battle Creek, this zoo has plenty of activities for people of any age to get involved in. To start, you can head to the Twiga Giraffe Experience, feeding the giraffes a snack and snapping a photo — you might even get a long-necked kiss! Or, head to the Wild Africa walking path for an enriching trip through history and zoology. Binder Park has all kinds of animals you might see on a safari, like lions, gazelles, painted dogs, zebras, kangaroos and so many more.

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park
8313 Pratt Lake Ave. SE, Alto  /  boulderridgewap.com

Round up family and friends and head to this private animal park for a truly unique experience. Despite having hundreds of species, Boulder Ridge is known for having exhibits you can get closer to, including flamingos, monkeys, lemurs, kangaroos and more. If you’re looking to be a bit more adventurous, hop on a safari ride for the wildebeests, water buffalos, ostriches and other favorites you might remember from the Lion King. If you’re seeking an even more personal experience with animals, you can feed some, like the dromedary camel or giraffe, or stop by the petting zoo inside to see baby goats and others. 


Grand Rapids Public Museum

272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids  /  grpm.org

Unmissable with its iconic carousel along the west bank of the Grand River, the Public Museum achieves the “something for everyone” ideal of any museum. In its more than 160 years as part of Grand Rapids’ cultural landscape, the museum has claimed various homes, but since 1994 has occupied its current spacious abode, loaded with exhibits exploring history, science and regional culture. Don’t forget that the museum has not just exhibits to explore, but a renovated carousel and a slate of fascinating planetarium shows that range from educational to mindbending. 

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

11 Sheldon Ave. NE  /  grcm.org

It’s hard to imagine an institution with a more agreeable mission statement than the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, which is that play is healthy, play is transformative, play is a right and play benefits families and people of all ages. It’s emphatically pro-play, something we can all get behind. GRCM offers a dizzying variety of ways to scratch that itch and there’s no better place in West Michigan to spend a rainy afternoon with your kids.

Frederik Meijer Gardens  & Sculpture Park

1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids  /  meijergardens.org

Meijer Gardens is a perennial draw, and not just for its open air summer concert series. This is known as one of the best sculpture gardens in the country thanks to the beautiful art and architecture interwoven with nature. From the huge, beautiful marble faces adorning the walls of one room to the understated beauty of its Japanese garden, it dazzles. Kids can burn through their energy in the children’s garden before standing in awe beneath Leonardo Da Vinci’s Horse.

Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum

6151 Portage Road, Portage  /  airzoo.org

If it’s man-made and it flies, you’ll learn about it at the Air Zoo, which displays rides, simulators and more than 50 historic aircraft, honoring the history of aviation. This world-class, Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace and science museum is a wonder to behold and a blast to explore, with more than 100 air and space artifacts, full-motion flight simulators, indoor amusement park rides, interactive exhibits, and hands-on classes. It’s a true gem of edutainment, perfect for people of any age who love space, flight, machinery and rides.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

230 N. Rose St., Kalamazoo  /  kalamazoomuseum.org

This hands-on, kids-of-all-ages museum focuses heavily on science, history and technology and offers a variety of classes and workshops, a planetarium and a theater for films and live music. Visit now for special exhibits like the nature and biology focused Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity.