Travelers to Big Rapids, Michigan are in store for an enjoyable time with fantastic things to do for the entire family. Whether it’s discovering the natural beauty, learning about local history, shopping and having dinner with friends, this destination does not disappoint when it comes to activities to add to any itinerary. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
© Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
Located at Ferris State University, the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia has a mission of “Using objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice.” The cultural organization brings harsh truths to light with its thought-provoking exhibitions and objects that depict racist portrayals of African-Americans in American culture. Along with six exhibit areas, the African-American experience is told with different timelines including Africa Before Slavery, Slavery in America, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, and Post Civil Rights. Admission to the museum is free.
1010 Campus Drive, Big Rapids, Michigan, 49307, Phone: 231-591-5873
2.Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park
Spanning 92 miles long, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park is open to visitors from Cadillac to Comstock Park. Part asphalt and part gravel, the linear state park travels through Michigan, was a former rail bed that ceased operations in the mid-eighties. Today, the state park is maintained by volunteers. Along with walking and running the trail, visitors may also bring their snowmobiles during the winter months. No other vehicles are permitted.
White Pine Trail, Big Rapids Michigan, 49307, Phone: 231-775-7911
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3.Kilwins Chocolate, Big Rapids, Michigan
Satisfying the sweet tooth since 1947, Kilwins Chocolate is known for its scrumptious chocolates, ice cream, and confections. Everything is hand-made in their kitchen and only features original recipes and premium ingredients. A visit here is a sensory experience stimulating sight, taste, touch, smell as well as sound. As for the setting, visitors can expect an old-fashioned ice cream parlor feel along with vintage apothecary shelves and old soda fountain, marble counter; MLive named it as the Best Place in Mecosta County for Sweets and Treats. Options include Mackinac Island Fudge, “The Perfect Caramel Apple” and chocolate-covered pretzels, to name a few.
118 N. Michigan Ave., Big Rapids, MI 49307, Phone: 231-796-2502
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4.The Card Wildlife Education Center, Big Rapids, MI
© The Card Wildlife Education Center
Located on the ground floor of the Arts and Sciences Commons at Ferris State University, The Card Wildlife Education Center appeals to animal lovers with 5,000 square feet showcase of nearly 200 wildlife specimens from around the world. The site was originally donated by Roger Card and his late wife Debra and serves as a unique educational experience. Highlights include the Gallery of Animal Displays, Michigan Wetlands Exhibit, African Exhibit, among others.
ASC 011, 820 Campus Drive, Big Rapids, Michigan, 49307, Phone: 231-591-5387
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5.Serendipity, Big Rapids, Michigan
Inspired by the Danish word hygge, which is all about coziness, Serendipity is a clothing, gift and accessory store for women. The shop is stocked with items that females will love from fragrances to fun outfits, thoughtful cards, lovely candles as well as home accents. The inventory is always changing so there is always something new to discover including Made In Michigan products. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 pm and closed on Sunday closed.
102 S. Michigan Ave., Big Rapids, MI 49307, Phone: 231-629-8564
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6.Gypsy Nickel Lounge, Big Rapids, MI
© Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
Travelers searching for a tasty bite in Big Rapids may want to consider the Gypsy Nickel Lounge. Guests will enjoy the welcoming environment, along with 15 craft beers on tap and a creative cocktail menu with 250 choices. As for the food, the menu features traditional staples such as Mac and Cheese, Fish Tacos and more. Along with the specials, the restaurant offers specials and hosts karaoke night every Wednesday.
228 Baldwin Street, Big Rapids, MI 49307, Phone: 231-527-0085
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7.Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery
The Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery is dedicated to the enrichment, education, and engagement of students, staff, and faculty through the arts. It does this by curating seasonal exhibitions that run the duration of the summer and fall semesters. The gallery showcases a wide range of mediums and themes through its exhibitions, and also regularly hosts demonstrations, workshops, lectures, and similar educational programs for the benefit of students and individuals interested in learning. The Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery is open from Monday to Friday (hours may vary) and welcomes visitors to peruse its various collections such as the Canadian Collection, the Curtis Collection, as well as the Appel and Milton Collections.
805 Campus Drive, Big Rapids, MI 49307, Phone: 231-591-2536
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8.Big Rapids Parks
Dedicated to enriching the quality of life of Big Rapids' local community and providing exciting recreational activities for residents and visitors alike is the Big Rapids Parks and Recreation. Big Rapids has over a dozen parks to offer to guests, each of which carries its own charm and unique attractions for the enjoyment of all those who visit. The Brutus Dog Park, for example, is the perfect place for guests traveling with their four-legged companions. Meanwhile, the Clay Cliffs Nature Area is a great spot to enjoy several habitats in Big Rapids with its fantastic trail loops, connections, viewing platforms, and bridges. Big Rapids Parks is also behind the Charles E. Fairman Community Pool and Park, which offers an easy way to cool off during the sunny summer months. Other parks to visit include Mitchel Creek Park, River Street Park, and many more.
226 N. Michigan Avenue, Big Rapids, MI 49307, Phone: 231-592-4038
8 Best Things to Do in Big Rapids, Michigan
- Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, Photo: Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
- Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park, Photo: Ariyaporn/stock.adobe.com
- Kilwins Chocolate, Big Rapids, Michigan, Photo: millefloreimages/stock.adobe.com
- The Card Wildlife Education Center, Big Rapids, MI, Photo: The Card Wildlife Education Center
- Serendipity, Big Rapids, Michigan, Photo: Serendipity
- Gypsy Nickel Lounge, Big Rapids, MI, Photo: Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery, Photo: Pixel-Shot/stock.adobe.com
- Big Rapids Parks, Photo: GCapture/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: thayra83/stock.adobe.com
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