Because too many fireworks is not a thing (unless it's your neighbors shooting them off in the middle of the night and threatening to wake up the kids), I took advantage of our family membership to Grand Rapids Public Museum and snapped up four discounted early bird tickets to the Front Row at the Fireworks event the moment they went on sale. It sells out, so you have to act fast or live to regret it.
The day of the fireworks, we made our way up to Grand Rapids in the late afternoon
and parked in the garage across the street. It was about an hour before the event began, which was just absent-minded planning on my part, but there was already a long line forming. I'm not usually a patient line waiter, and neither are the kids, but we decided to put down our folding chairs and make the most of it. I realized while waiting that instant gratification and impatience are so commonplace now that it's almost refreshing to go back to the way things used to be. And so we waited.
Someone came around about 10 minutes before the museum opened at 6 to check us in and pass out some info and American flags. When the doors opened, people scattered to stake out their spots for the fireworks. We wandered a teeny bit and then found a nice, if small, spot outside in front of the carousel, then went in for dinner.
The food lines were loooooooong, both downstairs and up. If we do it again next year, I'll be sure to have a late lunch and then wander through the most popular exhibits while everyone else is eating, then grab some food after the lines die down (about 45-60 minutes later). The kids had hot dogs, chips, a cookie and water for $6. It did the job.
You'll also want to grab tickets to the planetarium show early on, because those were selling out fast. We got some of the last tickets to a very late show, and it was super fun. We also checked out some of the temporary exhibits and our old favorites, rode the carousel and grabbed an adult beverage before dusk arrived and we headed outside. A couple of sweet kids were handing out glow bracelets and that was a big hit, since it's hard to keep the littles entertained while they wait for darkness.
The fireworks began close to 11 pm and it was an AWESOME show. At least three times we thought the grand finale had arrived, but the pyrotechnics kept on coming. When the finale did at last arrive, it was a bit anticlimactic, but no one seemed to mind.
It was easy to maneuver out of the building afterward, but traffic was a bear. A small price to pay for the a night of unforgettable fun. Why are museums always better after dark?
So would we do it again? Yes, most definitely!