World of Winter in Downtown Grand Rapids: Free and Frozen Family Fun
If you’re looking for free family fun in February, the World of Winter Festival in Grand Rapids has many options for you. A collection of art installations and special events has transformed downtown into a winter wonderland and provided a safe way to experience outdoor fun while maintaining social distance and observing all other covid-19 safety protocols. One of the highlights of the festival is the art installation HYBYCOZO’s at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, which features six different geometric shapes near the Grand River that are lit up each evening. We recently had a chance to check out downtown after a snowstorm dumped a foot of fresh powder, which made all of the art installations even more stunning. Here’s a look at what you’ll want to check out at the World of Winter:
Impulse on Monroe (555 Monroe Ave. NW) – Impulse is “an interactive art installation that consists of 15 seesaws that light up and create sound when put into motion by people.” We found this parking lot full of families having a blast on the seesaws as they lit up. This parking lot previously hosted PRISMATICA in 2020.
The Singing Tree (Canal Park) – “The Singing Tree is a lighting experience that transforms traditional displays into interactive experiences. Interact in real-time by singing, clapping, or yelling to create an unforgettable and magical experience.” We were the only ones at this exhibit when we visited, and we had a hard time making enough noise for the tree to light up. This would definitely be a great spot to visit with a larger group or at a busier time.
Hybycozo’s at Ah-Nab-Awen Park – This is the crown jewel of the World of Winter Festival, and if you only have time to visit one installation we say make sure it’s this one. It is “a series of large-scale installations and artworks that investigate geometric exploration and patterns through light, shadow, and perception.” Each night these six shapes are lit up in a constantly changing array of colors. The location at Ah-Nab-Awen Park between the Grand River and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is the perfect spot for this exhibit!
Rosa Parks Circle Ice Skating Rink – This favorite downtown winter activity is still going on, but with a few changes due to the coronavirus. All skate times must be reserved ahead of time as the number of skaters is capped to help maintain social distance. The entire park looks beautiful with fresh snowfall as the blue and white lights on its trees add to the winter wonderland landscape.
Many downtown streets also have festive winter lights that help add to the “winter wonderland” feel. We also made a stop to check out a winter look at the LOVE sculpture (169 Monroe Ave. NW).
We did not get a chance yet to visit the Seasonal Wonders Projection Show (Feb. 20 – March 14, Sat and Sun) or the Winter Tumbleweeds at the Blue Bridge. Find out more about these installations at https://worldofwintergr.com/art-installations.