Review: Michigan’s Adventure: Two Parks for the Price of One!

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My family was hosted at Michigan’s Adventure and provided with vouchers for a meal at the Family Grill. As always, all opinions stated here are either my own or those of my family.

My older kids’ very first roller coaster was Shivering Timbers – Michigan’s longest, fastest coaster that hits speeds of 65 mph and heights of 125 feet. At the time (a couple of years ago) Abbi and Hannah were 11 and 9, and while Hannah got off the ride exclaiming, “That was AWESOME!”, Abbi decided that once was enough. Well, once for Shivering Timbers – but all three girls were more than happy to visit Michigan’s Adventure, our state’s largest amusement and water park again. Thrilled is more like it! 🙂

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For this day trip, since we’d been to Michigan’s Adventure before, we had a much better idea of what to expect – we knew who wanted to go on which rides, and we remembered to bring beach towels this time (on our last trip, we’d forgotten towels, which is why each of the girls has owned a souvenir Michigan’s Adventure beach towel for two years – they love them!). It was easy to plan out our day, and we came prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, bathing suits and towels and comfy walking shoes. The girls carried their own stuff in their swim bags so I just had to carry a small backpack with my own things.

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Our first stop in the park (after a bathroom break) was the Dodgem bumper cars and then one of my family’s favorite – the Bumper Boats. Abbi just wanted to spin in circles while Hannah was definitely bumping every boat in sight, lol. Becca is tall enough for most rides now, but she didn’t quite make it to go on the Bumper Boats alone, so she and Ron squished into one boat together. I played photographer – we meant to go back and go on those again so I could ride, but we ran out of time since we were having so much fun in other parts of the park. This early in the season, the park’s hours were limited (11am to 7pm for the park and noon to 6pm for the water park) but as the summer gets underway they’re open much later. I’d love to see the place all lit up at night, so we’ll definitely have to go back when there are later hours.

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My kids aren’t huge into the thrill rides, but they absolutely love the spinning family-type rides. The only roller coaster we rode on this trip was the Corkscrew since we had a lot to fit in. I expect that as the girls get older (Abbi is 13, Hannah is 11 and Becca is 8 this year) they’ll move more into the bigger thrill rides, but Ron and I were happy with the fact that the rides that the girls all wanted to go on over and over (and over) – the Tilt-A-Whirl, Trabant, Thunderbolt, Scrambler and Flying Trapeze are all located in the same area of the park. This made it very easy for us – Ron relaxed on a bench with all of the bags right outside the exit from the Tilt-A-Whirl and I followed the girls a bit more closely. It was nice to let Becca ride the Tilt-A-Whirl multiple times while Abbi and Hannah rode the Flying Trapeze – I could see both rides perfectly.

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I can’t ride anything that spins anymore (I used to love those rides as a kid too though), but being able to watch my kids have a blast totally made my day perfect. We did do a few rides together as a family – the Giant Gondola Wheel is one of my favorites, although Abbi was a bit freaked out by how high it was. I also took Hannah and Becca to the Whitewater Adventure side of the park for a couple of hours while Abbi and Ron had some fun with miniature golf and the Swan Boats. The three of us loved the large wave pool and the Lazy River, and the girls went on a few water slides too. The Commotion Ocean wave pool, Lagoon area and Snake Pit slide were all closed, which was too bad because on our previous trip that whole area was one of our favorites. But not having those available forced us to do some new things on this trip.

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Trying to keep up with two girls of differing ages (and interests) at the water park was not the easiest thing, so we took turns going on slides or attractions that Hannah liked and then that Becca liked. I appreciated being able to rent a locker to store all of our things in so I could go in the water too – but the lockers were expensive ($13 for a large-sized one). We carried our towels with us and I kept an eye on them as best I could. There are plenty of lifeguards at each attraction and stationed throughout the park so we felt very safe leaving our towels for a few minutes here and there, but I was very glad to have the locker for our valuables. I did have my camera with me throughout – I wrapped it in a towel and watched it closely if I was in the water.

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We had been given vouchers to try out the Family Grill, so we ate there for a late lunch. Hannah desperately wanted to try the pizza at Wagon Wheel Pizza, so we’ll definitely have to plan on that for next time. The Family Grill is nicely centrally located behind the Arcade, between the two parks. It offers a mix of picnic and barbeque types of items like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken bites, baked beans, potato and macaroni salads and vanilla ice cream cups, along with fountain drinks. The hot dogs and macaroni salad weren’t my favorites, but I really liked the chicken bites and hamburgers. And I loved their potato salad. My girls tend to be picky – but Abbi loved the chicken and Becca had a couple of hot dogs. The only issue we had was with Hannah, who does not like any of those foods – but she finally ended up eating a hot dog. And ice cream afterward, of course. 🙂

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Overall we had a really wonderful day – we got there right after they opened, around 11:30am and stayed right up until closing time, as the girls rode their favorite rides until they were shutting everything down for the night. If we’d had a couple more hours, I would have loved to take a ride on Shivering Timbers and the Bumper Boats and the girls had wanted to do the Logger’s Run and other water-ish rides if we had time (we wanted to do them at the end so Ron wouldn’t be in wet clothes all day – he hadn’t brought his bathing suit). We finished the day off with Dippin’ Dots (now a family tradition for Michigan’s Adventure trips).

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I really like going so early in the season, even if the hours are slightly shorter. There were virtually no lines – we walked right onto almost every ride or slide, and the girls could literally run straight from the exit gate right back onto the ride if they wanted (and they did many times). The weather was iffy when we first got there – a bit cool and cloudy but cleared up in the afternoon and turned into a gorgeous day. The cold water in the water park felt wonderful by that time and kept Hannah, Becca and I cooled off for the rest of the day.

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Regular season prices are $29.99 per ticket for a one-day pass or $49.99 for a two-day pass (those prices are good only if you buy online ahead of time). Locals can buy a season pass for as low as $96 per person, but if you at least three times in a summer those would pay for themselves. There are also season passes available that get you into any Cedar Fair parks (those are more expensive), as well as dining deals that you can purchase, and you can buy a Fast Lane wristband that lets you bypass the lines on the rides. We didn’t do any of the sideshow type games or buy any souvenirs on this trip but those are fun options available too.

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There are discount coupons available at various locations locally (and maybe state-wide?). I know I was given a $3 discount coupon at a local retailer recently, so it’s worth keeping an eye out. 🙂

Most photos and videos in this post taken with Panasonic Lumix XS40 camera. #LumixLounge