Michigan’s Adventure is your best bet for amusement parks in Michigan. Located near Muskegon on Michigan’s west coast, if you’re looking for roller coasters in Michigan, this is the place to be. In addition to the amusement park rides, a visit to the substantial Michigan’s Adventure water park is also included with the admission price. It’s a fun way to combine a few thrills with a refreshing dip in the afternoon. The park is small enough that you can hit most of the Michigan’s Adventure rides and enjoy some waterslides without feeling rushed. Find out my favorite rides in the theme park, the best water slides, and my tips for visiting in this guide.
Michigan’s Adventure rides
Amusement parks are all about the rides, so we’ll kick it off with those. The park has everything from roller coasters to kiddie rides (and a kiddie coaster for good measure), so there are rides for everyone.
The roller coasters
I’m a thrill-seeker, so I’m always there for the roller coasters. If you want world record holders, go to Cedar Point, but there are still a couple really enjoyable coasters here.
The park’s tallest and fastest ride, Shivering Timbers, was by far my favorite. It’s a simple out-and-back wooden coaster that’s all about the airtime hills. It felt like I spent most of the ride launching up against my lapbar getting that sweet, glorious airtime. It’s also one of the smoothest wooden roller coasters I’ve been on, and I love not taking a beating on it.
The top steel roller coaster at Michigan’s Adventure is Thunderhawk, with a inverted track and trains that seat two people across. It’s also the newest roller coaster to arrive at the park. Fun fact: It was originally built for Geauga Lake, and was moved to Michigan’s adventure when the other park closed. I loved the unique sidewinder looping feature, as I’ve seen photos of them before, but hadn’t had a chance to experience one yet. (That’s the cute little heart-shaped inversion.)
The next biggest roller coaster is the Wolverine Wildcat. This was the longest wait we had in the theme park and it was my least favorite of the coasters. The track was short and pretty rough and we just didn’t enjoy it that much. Combined with the unnecessarily long wait (as a former ride op myself, the insanely slow pace at which they were loading and unloading trains was painful to watch) in the blazing hot sun and we were not at all impressed.
Corkscrew was the park’s first roller coaster and it has that classic corkscrew layout with a main drop followed by a couple of rolling loops. I quite liked the color scheme for this version of it, but it’s not particularly unique if you’ve ridden other Corkscrews elsewhere.
Zach’s Zoomer is a kiddie coaster designed for families. We could not fit two adults in the row together so plan to ride solo if you don’t have a kid in tow. My 6’4″ fiance can attest to the fact that it is not made for tall people either. It reminded me a bit of the ride formerly known as the Beastie at Kings Island that I remember riding with my dad as a kid though so it’s a great starter coaster for little ones. While writing this article, I learned that it’s actually the same layout as that coaster, now renamed the Woodstock Express.
Mad Mouse is a classic crazy mouse-style coaster. You sit in two-row cars that zip around the curves and go through short drops and wonder if you’re going to go flying off the track.
Other notable Michigan’s Adventure rides:
Logger’s Run is your standard log flume ride. You sit in a single row in the log, go up the lift hill, float around for a bit with a nice view of the park’s roller coasters, and then go down the big drop. I appreciated the fact that it was short and sweet. I don’t see the need to endlessly float along when you’re all just there for the drop at the end. We did not get particularly wet, though we kind of wished we had with how hot it was the day we visited.
Despite groaning at the easy pickings of calling the ride Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids is a nearby city if you’re not familiar with the are) we actually enjoyed the ride. It’s a white water raft ride where you sit in a circle and float through rapids getting splashed at every turn.
Michigan’s Adventure kiddie area
There’s a large kiddie area near the entrance to the park, full of those classic spinning rides where you sit in cars or trucks. There was also one pretty cool one where you could fly in a flying saucer. Kids will also love the little track where they can drive mini classic cars. There’s also a really small kiddie coaster called the Big Dipper (smaller than Zach’s Zoomer) that we didn’t try.
Michigan’s Adventure also has a Ripcord attraction, though this one is not included with your admission. If you’re not familiar with these, you get harnessed up and strapped to a long cable hanging from an arch. Then you’re towed up and dropped so that you swing in a long arc. I didn’t ride the one here, but I’ve done a couple other ones in the past and they’re about the biggest adrenaline rush you can get without actually skydiving. It’s totally worth the upcharge if you’re looking for a special treat.
Check out the list of rides on Michigan’s Adventure’s website for the complete ride list.
Michigan’s Adventure water park
I love the fact that the Michigan’s Adventure water park – known as WildWater Adventure – is included with your admission ticket. It’s an absolute treat on hot summer days.
We rented a locker in the water park area when we first arrived so we could store our towels and bathing suits while we were out riding coasters, and our dry clothes while we were swimming. Right at the entrance to the water park, there’s a large bathroom with shower stalls and changing areas. There are lots of lounge chairs around the pools, and people were lining up for a chance to claim the best ones before the water park even opened.
You’ll find all of your water park classics here – wave pools, a lazy river, and several water slides. I liked the fact that there is more than one wave pool to choose from, and we enjoyed one tucked away behind the kiddie area. It was much less crowded than the main one.
The best slide at the water park is the Funnel of Fear. This was the first time I’ve gotten to ride a waterslide of this style and it definitely lived up to the hype. We waited around 45 minutes for it – our longest wait of the whole day – and had no regrets. The drop into the funnel is fun in and of itself and I loved swishing back and forth as we made our way down.
My other favorite water slide at the Michigan’s Adventure water park was Snake Pit. It has three slides, each with a different path. The best one was pretty much a straight shot down – you really hit the landing pool with some speed.
There are two family raft-style slides – one open and the other enclosed in a very dark tube so it feels like sliding in pitch blackness. Hauling our giant rafts up the stairs was a bit of a workout, but both slides were fun. Make sure to grab the right color tube at the bottom for the slide you want as each has its own raft.
Michigan’s Adventure might be for you if:
- You’re looking for a fun family outing in western Michigan
- You like a more relaxed pace an shorter lines than a bigger theme park like Cedar Point
- You prefer moderate thrills as opposed to sky high record breaking coasters
- You like to take a break to cool off at the pool during the day
Michigan’s Adventure might not be for you if:
- You like Disney-style deep theming in rides and sections of the park
- You want to ride super tall, super fast roller coasters
- You don’t like water parks – you’re paying for WildWater Adventure whether or not you use it
Tips for Visiting Michigan’s Adventure
- Bring plenty of sunscreen. Many of the waiting areas weren’t shaded, and you’ll need it for the water park.
- You can get free cups of ice water at food stands that have pop fountains. Just ask the cashier.
- If you want to snag a lounge chair, get to the water park as soon as it opens – particularly if you have your heart set on one in the shade.
- Lockers are available for all-day rental at the entrance and at the water park.
- All of the roller coasters we rode had bag storage spots, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your bags with someone who isn’t riding or paying for a locker if you don’t want one.
- Michigan’s Adventure parking can be prepaid online or purchased at the lot when you arrive.
- Look for discounted tickets at Meijer locations throughout the state and check the park website for other deals.
- Michigan’s Adventure typically opens in late May through early September. Check the park calendar when planning your visit as it may not be open daily. The water park opens a bit later in June.
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