This is sweet – did anyone take advantage of this last year? The free museum day pass is back, and the date is September 26. There are participating museums all over the country, but for those of us in West Michigan the two biggies are the Air Zoo and the Kalamzoo Nature Center. I vote for KNC because the Air Zoo has been free all summer and is until August 30. Click here for the website, and follow the instructions from there – you do have to print a pass to get in. Have fun!
We’ve kind of been around the block with memberships. We did the Children’s Museum one year, the Zoo one year, and now are up for renewal on our most recent membership, Meijer Gardens. We have gotten so much use out of it, I don’t even have to think twice about renewing. It’s a big place with many different events all throughout the year, so it’s worth it for us to have a family membership.
Last fall, the kids and I did a Kids Tram tour and absolutely loved it – you can read about that adventure here. During one of our Tuesday Night concerts at the Gardens, we noticed that there was a Kids Tram running this summer too, so we went back yesterday to check it out. There were three tram tours running that day, so I felt confident we would be able to take a ride. When I went to get tickets, I was really disappointed to find out that all of the Kids Tram tours had been booked for the day. A combination of a not easily deterred mom and very cooperative Gardens employees allowed us to squish onto one of the trams with the group that had booked them for the day; and in a front row seat at that.
We had a blast. During the tour they played “I Spy”, and the kids had to find sculptures the tour guide described – they loved it. There is a backpack on each seat, and she tells the kids what to take out of the bags, and when. There were several stops during the 45 minute-ish tour, so the kids didn’t get too wiggly. At the end, the tram drove to the amphitheater and the kids got to get up on stage and do a ‘performance’ for the grown ups of the sculptures. We talked about sculptures ALL DAY so I know that the learning really sunk in.
Meijer Gardens is world class, and I take that for granted sometimes because it’s so close. I love having a membership there and not getting bored with it. I have searched high and low for some coupon, discount, or special on membership but haven’t found one. There are two ways to visit the Gardens for free though. First, if you hold a Grand Rapids Public Library (isn’t it remarkable that I find a way to work the library into every single post I write?) card you can ‘check out’ a pass for Meijer Gardens. Get the deets on that here. Or, GRKids is having a contest right now to win a pass for 4 to Meijer Gardens during Colorfall so go enter that here.
For more Things I Love Thursday, have a visit with The Diaper Diaries.
It’s not too often that I can participate in Hobby Hump Day as the part of my brain that does crafts shriveled up and died immediately after I received my Brownie Craft Badge. As usual, this post is something of a stretch, but since there isn’t actually a Hobby Hump Day carnival today I don’t feel too bad.
There are some opportunities for kids to be involved with art coming up this fall. I’m excited because it involves some of my favorite things: the Grand Rapids Public Library, Spectrum Health, and the Red Cross. The first event comes from the Maranda website. If you live around town you probably already know that the new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital opening in 2011. If you are planning on attending Celebration on the Grand on September 12 (and you totally should), check out the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital booth located in Ah-Nab-Awen-Park between 11am and 3 pm. Kids will have the chance to paint an 8×8 wooden tile that will be used to make up a large piece of art in the new hospital. Plus, there will be free t-shirts for the first 1,000 kids to participate.
The second one gives your kids a chance to be a part of the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids 2010 calendar. The theme is “helping hands”. The top nine submissions will be displayed at the Main branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library. Check out this link for specific rules and deadlines.
Go forth and be crafty!
It’s true. I’ve been really lucky in the past couple of months. My smallest prize was a rather strange children’s book about the environment, and my biggest was a $500 mountain bike. The book was from some blog, and the bike was from a local bike association. In between, I’ve won gift certificates to a few restaurants, a Target gift card, and a month of classes at Gymco. Being the generous person that I am, I will share my ‘sources’.
- First, the blog contests are from Prizey. I just check it out once in a while and enter if a contest looks interesting to me. You could spend all day there – but don’t.
- I also won a restaurant gift certificate from Revue, which is a great resource for GR ‘haps not geared toward the younger members of our fair city.
- And although it’s been a while since I’ve checked the contests there, I have previously won a few goodies from GR Now.
- Most recently I have won from Moms Like Me, which is a local forum but they also have sites in other cities my friends up and move to such as Dallas and St. Louis – but sadly, nothing for my friend in Quincy.
- I signed up for Swagbucks and promptly forgot about it. Something triggered my memory and I went back to check it out – and so far have won 49 Swagbucks which is about enough for a small gift card. It’s just a search engine, and you use it instead of Google or whatever. Easy to win but hard to remember.
- I would not recommend this route to winning, although it is my biggest prize. As you know, my husband is very involved in biking. We have 9 bikes in our garage. Five are his. Some guys golf; my guy bikes. I signed him up and paid for a membership in a local biking organization (again with my extreme generosity), and was entered into a contest to win guess what – a bike. I WON! Therefore, the bike is mine and not his. Would anyone like to buy a bike?
- In addition to feeling nice and involved, my attendance in the Great Start Parent Coalition has netted me not only free dinner and babysitting while I am at the meeting, they have on-time drawings most months. I won a Target gift card! Next month is an orientation meeting and is a perfect time to jump in. The meeting will be September 20 from 6:00 – 8:30. I am trying to bring the most new members. If you are from Kent County (anywhere in the county – not just Grand Rapids) and are interested in advocating for young children, I’d love for you to attend. You’ll hear more about this as the time comes closer.
I have an addition to the “Grand Rapids Roundup” post I did last week. Pooh’s Cornerwas one of the summer reading clubs we signed up for and had a mediocre participation level in. The program culminates this Saturday August 22 at 10:30AM with a “Super Saturday Storytime” event. This is a souped up Story Time and some of the other stores in Breton Village are getting involved with things like face painting and popcorn. Pooh’s Corner will have drawings for prizes and t-shirts, and you can turn in your final reading list if you have them.
To participate, please bring a donation for Kids Food Basket. They need 100% juice boxes the most, but can also make great use of plastic spoons, pudding cups, fruit cups, single serving size raisin boxes, self-lock sandwich bags, self-lock snack size baggies, cracker packs, and jars of peanut butter.