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Parks come alive in spring

Friends of GR Parks share their favorite parks to experience spring this year.
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Trillium at Aman Park

Trillium at Aman Park /Plants Amaze Me Blog

Pickleball courts at Belknap Park

Pickleball courts at Belknap Park /Grand Rapids Pickleball

Canal Park

Canal Park /Brandon Bartoszak

The thump of a basketball dribble, the laughter of a toddler swinging for the first time and the holler of a kid recognizing a friend across the playing field for the first time after a long winter – these are the sounds of spring in the park. With patches of snow still on the ground, parks become some of the first places people go to see green grass, to witness budding trees and to feel the warmth of spring in Grand Rapids. 

Here are some of our favorite places to enjoy Grand Rapids’ parks coming alive this year.

Canal Park: This park along the eastern shore of the river has one of our favorite playgrounds in the City. It’s a parent favorite because of the unitary, rubber surface that is a welcome alternative to the muddy playgrounds one typically encounters this time of year. The park is great for viewing the river all year round, but especially during high water levels in the spring. 

Belknap and Lookout Parks: Just to the east of Canal Street is Belknap and Lookout Parks where you can try your hand at Pickleball and Bike Polo or trek up the "Project X" to catch stunning views of the Grand River valley. Spring is an ideal time to visit Lookout Park when the weather is more forgiving and the trees are still bare so they don’t block the panoramic views of downtown.

Fish Ladder Park: The Fish Ladder was constructed in 1974 with the installation of Joseph Kinnebrew’s “Grand River Sculpture”, and designed with fish viewing in mind. Large steelhead can be seen working their way up the Fish Ladder pools in the spring. Other species such as carp might be viewed here any time of year.

Oakdale Gardens Park: Check out one of the newest park spaces connected to River City Scholars in the Oakdale Neighborhood. The community constructed a wonderful community garden where kids and adults care for veggies.

Aman Park: Aman Park is a City of Grand Rapids park, even though it is well outside of the city’s borders. It’s a great park to visit all year round with great hiking trails that bring visitors along the banks of Sand Creek. But spring is one of the best seasons to visit Aman because of the wildflowers. There are fields of trilliums and bluebells that usually start to appear mid-April.

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