Lights and trees for all to see

GRAND RAPIDS — Christmas is soon upon us " ...and all through the house, not a creature is stirring ..." except kids on leave from school with a tremendous amount of nervous energy and nothing to do, (or so they say!)

Still, what's true is parents are often left scrambling for something with which to entertain the youngsters — something out of the house.

Not only that, this is the time of year during which the natural course of events leads folks to drive around the extended neighborhood in order to "see the lights."

A 45-minute drive from Big Rapids can offer hours of fun and entertainment for adults and kids alike.

The folks at Fredrick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids have once again gone all-out to produce a display of Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the expansive holiday program and highlights not only dozens and dozens of festively decorated trees, but also cultural displays from sister cities of Grand Rapids from Ghana, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Poland.

There also is a Nativity scene with a Grand Rapids theme.

A stroll through the entire display includes visits to trees with themes ranging from Korea to Ukraine, from Australia to Sweden. There also is a Hanukkah and Eid ul Fitr display and a special bird tree.

The display is, in a word, breathtaking, and there are special programs accompanying the holiday celebrations. (Check the schedules online at

Also, with the weather still holding as it has, a stroll through the outdoor garden and sculpture area would not be out of line.

Meijer Garden is located at 1000 E Beltline Ave NE in Grand Rapids — just north of I-96. The gardens are generally open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The regular entry fee covers admission to the holiday display. Children 2 and younger are admitted free and the cost is $6 for children age 2 to 13 and $12 for anyone age 14 to 64.

Then ...

A short drive to Fifth Third Park — the home of the Whitecaps — can REALLY get Christmas light display lovers fully pumped with the Spirit of the Season.

The annual Christmas Lite Show is fully glowing and a ton of fun.

For the 19th year running, the HUGE drive-through display is tickling the hearts of adults and kids alike.

The event is located at Fifth Third Ballpark, exit 91, just off US 131.

According to organizers, there are " ...nearly two miles, over a million lights, animated displays, lighted tunnels, and more. On select evenings, you can stop at the Santa house, and give him your wish list!"

This family-oriented event was started by Grand Rapids resident Bill Schrader. With the help of his family, it has grown, year after year, to become a tradition for many.

New for this year are an extended trail, the addition of 10,000 lights, a few new and updated displays, and more.

The light 'safari' runs through Jan. 2 and costs $17 a car — no matter how many people you have jammed in! A portion of the proceeds goes to support the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

There's a lot of holiday fun to take part in just a short ride from home.

Get out and enjoy the views and ... Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas.

Grand Rapids Public Museum offers special pricing

Submitted to the Herald Review

GRAND RAPIDS — Families heading to the Grand Rapids Public Museum over winter break will be able to save some money on admission.

The museum will offer buy one, get one half price entry tickets from today, Saturday, Dec. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 3. Tickets included in the deal are “The Discovery of King Tut” special exhibit tickets and general admission.

“As families begin to plan their holiday break activities, we invite them to take advantage of this special discount on exhibits the museum has to offer,” said Kate Moore, vice president of marketing and public relations for the museum.

Also during the same time frame, the museum will celebrate “Snowflake Break” with additional hands-on activities, all included with admission. Offerings will include a variety of family friendly programs and activities themed around history, science and culture — and the exhibits “The Discovery of King Tut” and “American Spirits.”

Visitors can make their own Egyptian-themed snowflakes and punched tin crafts, play a variety of 1920s era games and dress paper dolls in 1920s fashions straight from the museum collections.

“Snowflake Break” crafts will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is located in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit