- March 27, 2017
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There’s nothing quite like spring in West Michigan. When the snow starts to melt and the flowers start to bloom, there’s nothing better than welcoming the new season on the west side of the state. For most of us spring means warmer weather and sunny days; for others it means more opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with family at some of Michigan’s best locations. Most of these locations involve being outdoors, being active and enjoying a beautiful scenery, while others involve learning and exploring new places. There’s something for everyone to love in West Michigan, especially during the spring. Need to incorporate a little more fresh air into your life, but not sure how to do it? Here’s a list of some of my favorite places to go in the spring.
John Ball Zoo
I’ve always been fascinated in animals, so of course the little zoo conveniently located down the road is one of my favorite places to go when the weather starts to warm up. I’ve been to almost every zoo in Michigan and John Ball Zoo is by far one of my favorites. The zoo is a very comfortable size, meaning that it’s not very large, so you can see everything in about an hour and a half or so, depending how long you take to look at each animal. The zoo is home to more than 1,100 animals from five different continents. The tiger enclosure is my favorite exhibit, one because they are my favorite animal, and two because it’s the largest and they always seem to be the most active animal when I’m there. There are things to do for the kids while you’re there as well, including a zip line course, petting zoo, behind the scene tours of the animals and more! Part of what makes this zoo so great is the involvement it has in conservation with the species of Michigan to the species of countries miles away. If you’re looking to get outside and spend some time with the family while getting educated on some of the earth’s most beautiful creatures, then the John Ball Zoo is the place for you.
Grand Haven State Park
Whether you’re a beach person or not, Grand Haven State Park is one of the most enjoyable places to go once the sun has come back from hibernation. The 48 acre park is home to beautiful sandy beaches on the shore of Lake Michigan, as well as a pier and lighthouse with a boardwalk that you can use to walk from the beach to the town of Grand Haven. There are campsites, picnic areas, and a playground, so even when the kids are bored of relaxing on the beach they have something to do. Grand Haven doesn’t specifically allow dogs on their beaches, but there is a beach down a ways from it that does, so bring your furry friend along to get some exercise and some much needed fresh air. One of my favorite things about the beach is seeing the sunset at the end of the day as it falls behind the bright red lighthouse. On a clear day, it’s one of the most beautiful sights. The town of Grand Haven is within walking distance of the park, so if you’re looking for a snack, lunch/dinner, or a sweet treat, it’s not very far to get something. Before you get to the town of Grand Haven you pass a few small vendors that sell various items, including corn dogs. If you want a quick snack at a cheap cost, stop at Pronto Pups. On a beautiful day, the small shack vendor sells its delicious corn dogs to hundreds of people. Trust me, it’s worth the wait in line. If you’re looking to relax on the beach and enjoy beautiful Lake Michigan or take a stroll through a friendly, small town, Grand Haven State Park sounds like the perfect location for you.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Looking to do something a little more educational, but still involves partly being outdoors? If so, then the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is the perfect spot for you. One of the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences, the Meijer Gardens is located just outside of Grand Rapids and includes Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory, five indoor theme gardens, outdoors gardens, and more. The Meijer Gardens is a great place to relax and observe some art, as well as beautiful plant life. What’s interesting about the Meijer Gardens is that they are always changing, since most of their exhibits are outdoors, their plant-life changes with the seasons. One of my favorite art pieces that I advise everyone to see when they are taking a walk through the sculpture park is The American Horse. The sculpture is 24 feet high and definitely a sight to see and stand up next to when at the park. To see the gardens you have the opportunity of going on a tour, or seeing it on your own; they also offer interactive exhibits and events throughout the year, so you have the opportunity to learn about something new that you may be interested in. In the summer the Meijer Gardens host the annual Fifth Third Bank Summer Concert Series where international and national musicians of all genres come to perform for guests of the gardens. People get to enjoy live entertainment while being surrounded by spectacular views of gardens and sculptures. The Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is the perfect place to find peace and enjoy the beauty of art and the natural world.
There are many places and attractions to see and enjoy once the weather starts to warm up in West Michigan. These are only some of the great things that the west side of the state has to offer!