Museum boasts new free exhibits for summer fun

A child uses a magnifying glass to inspect a bug at the Fashion + Nature exhibit. Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Have you ever wanted to touch real fossilized bones or experience a snow storm in July? How about taking a ride on a 100-year-old carousel?

The 1928 Spillman Carousel is included with the price of admission– free for kids 17 and under.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is inviting people to “chill out” with two new cold weather themed exhibits- Ice Age: Michigan’s Frozen Secrets and Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact. Kids 17 and under who reside in Kent County receive free general admission every day. All GRPM exhibits, as well as the Spillman Carousel, are included!

Children explore Michigan’s frozen secrets at the “Ice Age” exhibit. Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Ice Age: Michigan’s Frozen Secrets showcases the majestic creatures that roamed North America during the last Ice Age. This exhibit is designed to give visitors tactile experiences with the Ice Age and to reinforce the subject matter taught in the classroom. The exhibit offers a fully immersive, interactive experience where visitors can discover what life was like for humans during this time.

Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact offers museum visitors the opportunity to explore all the ways this fundamental snow impacts our live. Developed and produced by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, museum goers are invited to experience a snowstorm with giant interactive snow crystals, make snowflakes grow from specks to complex six-sided crystals, and listen to oral histories about snow from Iñupiaq elders and culture bearers.

Larger-than-life games are free to play in the museum’s galleria. Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The GRPM offers three floors of core exhibits that explore history, science and culture. Visitors to the museum are invited to play larger-than-life versions of family favorite games such as Operation and Yahtzee and more in the museum galleria and take a ride on the 1928 Spillman Carousel, also free.

The nearly 100-year-old artifact has undergone a five-year renovation requiring the carousel to be dismantled and rebuilt. The iconic carousel reopened in May of 2022.  Housed above the Grand River in the Cook Carousel Pavilion, it’s been ridden by hundreds of thousands of visitors to the museum since its installation in 1994.

Parents must accompany children under 48” tall and will receive a free rider pass to do so. Tickets are issued in time slots, with rides taking place every 20 minutes. Tickets can be reserved in advance online at or at the Carousel during your visit to the GRPM.

Kent County residents receive reduced admission every day. Advance ticket reservation at is recommended.

Please note: Additional tickets are required for shows in the Chaffee Planetarium, which boasts a rotating lineup of shows such as One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, and Star Lore, which takes visitors on a journey through astrological storytelling from cultures around the world.

Grand Rapids Public Museum Information
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl Street, NW. In addition to free admission for children 17 and under, Kent County residents also receive free parking in the Museum’s ramp during their visit.  For additional information including hours of operation,  please visit

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