by Renee Franklin
This winter has been a doozy, but the end is nigh! With better weather teasing on the horizon, West Michiganders are feeling what can only be felt after a winter of record snow days: cabin fever. Yes, we are all schooled in how to make the best of a snow day (or several), but there is no denying that itch to get out as soon as the calendar starts to turn toward spring. We have compiled a list of local ways to relieve your cabin fever and, for the love of God, get out of the house and start living.
Hit the Zoo
What better way to shake off the winter doldrums than kicking it with the animals at John Ball Zoo? The zoo re-opens to visitors for the spring season on March 9, seven days a week from 10am-4 pm. Bundle up and stroll through the 140-acre grounds and enjoy observing nearly 2,000 animals ranging from everyone’s favorite red panda, Wyatt, to the mischievous monkeys to the transfixing tigers in the Tigers of the Realm exhibit. Now, visitors can amp their experience by ziplining over the petting zoo coral and testing their agility on the Sky Trail Ropes Course.
You know you want to! Grand Rapids offers plenty of ways to show yourself a little extra love after being shut indoors all winter long. Prepare for spring with an afternoon of pampering (think facial, massage, lash extensions, etc. ) at Lex Facial Bar, Design 1 or The Spa at the JW Marriott. Top off the day with a high-end cocktail experience at New Hotel Mertens, a wine and cheese spread from Apertivo or tapas at San Chez.
Take a Hike
Lace up your hiking boots and let the great outdoors sooth your winter blues as you embark on any one of the abundant trailheads in the Grand Rapids area. Kent County Parks and Trails encompasses more than 80 miles of paved and unpaved trails throughout the region. If there is still a bit of the white stuff around, strap on your cross country skis and hit one of the county’s cross country trails, such as Provin trails, Seidman Park or Millennium Park.
Dancing is an excellent means of releasing endorphins and boosting your mood. You can always hit up one of the city’s many dance nights, but what about taking a class? Hone your skills and learn how to really cut a rug at a specialty dance class available in Grand Rapids. Whatever you like to shake it to, there is something for everyone: the Grand Rapids Ballet offers adult ballet classes from beginner to intermediate; 61Syx Teknique Street Dance Academy teaches a range of hip hop classes; and the Social Dance Studio offers group and individual classes in everything from classic ballroom to salsa to swing.
Enjoy the Show
Put down the remote and walk away slowly. Curling up with Netflix for months on end sounds great (doesn’t it?), but its time to add a pulse to your entertainment by enjoying a live performance in Grand Rapids’ thriving arts and culture scene. Studies have demonstrated time and time again that going to a live performance, whether it is music, theatre or anything in between reduces stress and increases positivity. If you fancy a touch of drama, take in a show at any one of the city’s outstanding community theatres, such as the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Dog Story Theatre or Actors Theatre; for a lively jolt to the system, stop in to The Comedy Project any night of the week to witness improv and sketch comedy at its finest; for an intimate live music experience, head to One Trick Pony, Founders Brewing or Billy’s Lounge, to name a few, and keep your eyes peeled for big headliners at Van Andel Arena or 20 Monroe Live.