The several inches of snow dumped on us this week has downsides, for sure - BUT there's also a silver lining: fun outdoor activities at Grand Rapids parks!

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The Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation department is gearing up for winter activities this weekend, including free sled rentals at two City parks with sledding hills, as well as groomed trails for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fat tire biking at Indian Trails Golf Course.

According to the City of GR, sled rentals and winter clothing rentals will be available beginning Jan. 8 at the following parks every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., weather permitting:

The sled rental program is provided through Grand Rapids' Thrive Outside initiative, which aims to create equitable, meaningful outdoor experiences for young people and families in Grand Rapids.

Additional "pop-up sledding events" at other hills at Grand Rapids parks will be held as weather allows. They will be announced on the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Facebook and Instagram pages.

If you've got your own sled, the City of Grand Rapids also recommends hills at the following parks:

    • Highland Park (700 College Ave NE)
    • Mary Waters Park (1042 Lafayette Ave NE)
    • Richmond Park (1101 Richmond St NW)

The Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department is also offering winter activities at Indian Trails Golf Course. The trail system, which is located at 2776 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for fat tire biking, and cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

The clubhouse is open and staffed for snowshoe rentals and concession sales 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 4 pm. Sundays.

A day pass for the 3.7 mile trail system is $3 and a season pass is $15 and can be purchased online here.

While snowshoes are available to rent when the clubhouse is open (and are included with admission), visitors do have to bring their own fat tire bikes and cross-country skis.

If you're looking for ice skating options in GR, while Rosa Parks Circle is closed for the foreseeable future, you can ice skate for free at Van Andel Arena.

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