Guide to cooling off this summer

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The splash pad at Millennium Park features more than a dozen sprayers for kiddos to play in. Courtesy Kent County Parks and Recreation

The summer heat can feel relentless. So, we’ve compiled a few fun ways to cool off during the steamy summer days.

Millennium Park Beach and splash pad

Minutes from downtown Grand Rapids you can find Millennium Park, at 1415 Maynard Ave. SW. This park boasts a sandy beach for relaxing, a 100-acre lake to swim in, and a large splash pad with more than a dozen sprayers for kiddos to play in. Nearby sits the Van Andel Beach House, which comes equipped with lockers, changing rooms, restrooms and picnic tables on the plaza. There also are hot foods, snacks and frozen treats available for purchase.

Grand Rapids’ museums

Grand Rapids is fortunate to have a handful of museums to enjoy year-round, and this summer, the museums are a great way to cool off and stay out of the sun while having fun indoors. Each museum in the city offers something unique to experience, whether your taste is for the arts, culture, history or you just want to play.

For art lovers, visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum. For history buffs, visit the permanent collection at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. For culture, the Grand Rapids African American Museum takes you on a tour through time with its collection of cultural artifacts. And for play, you have both the Grand Rapids Public Museum and Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, both of which offer interactive exhibits for kids to enjoy while they play and learn.

Grand Rapids public libraries

Beat the heat this summer by visiting the Grand Rapids Public Library downtown or one of the Kent District Library branches and let your mind journey elsewhere without the hassle of leaving home. The library is a free service to the community and provides a wide variety of books to take you on an adventure.

Books can give us inspiration or allow us to reflect and offer a new perspective. Through the pandemic, the library has expanded to make reading more accessible by offering take-home sensory kits for families and provides free bus passes to and from the library.

Grand Rapids Public Library has also set up a Phone-A-Story line each week to listen to new stories read aloud by librarians. You can also use your GRPL library card to get passes to visit area museums, zoos, botanical gardens, performances and sporting events — other great options for getting out of the sun and cooling off.

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