Michigan’s Adventure is a great amusement park near Muskegon on Michigan’s west coast. With a handful of roller coasters and a water park that’s included with the admission price, it’s a fun way to combine a few thrills with a good family environment. You can hit all of the Michigan’s Adventure rides, spend some time at the water park, and not feel rushed all day. Find out my favorite rides in the theme park, the best water slides, and my tips for visiting.
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Michigan’s Adventure rides
I’m a thrill-seeker, so I’m all about the roller coasters. Michigan’s Adventure’s rides aren’t quite on the scale of a park like Cedar Point, but there are a couple of solid coasters that I quite enjoyed.
Shivering Timbers is the park’s tallest and fastest ride and was by far my favorite. It’s a fun, out-and-back wooden coaster that’s all about the airtime hills. I swear I spent half the ride launching up against my lapbar getting that sweet, sweet airtime. It’s one of the smoother wooden roller coasters I’ve been on, which I absolutely love.
The other top coaster at Michigan’s Adventure is Thunderhawk an inverted steel ride with trains that seat two across. It’s also the park’s newest roller coaster addition (though it was originally constructed at Geauga Lake and moved here when that 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. (You can recognize these by their cute heart-shaped, double inversion look.)
The next largest roller coaster is the Wolverine Wildcat. This was the longest wait we had in the theme park and it definitely wasn’t worth it, especially in light of the fact that I walked right on to the two much-better, previously mentioned roller coasters. The ride 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 sun and we were not at all impressed.
Other notable Michigan’s Adventure rides:
Corkscrew was the park’s first roller coaster and it follows the classic corkscrew layout with a drop followed by a couple of rolling loops. It’s one of the more photogenic variants of this type of coaster that I’ve seen, but if you’ve ridden one of them, you’ve kind of ridden them all.
Zach’s Zoomer is a mid-sized kiddie coaster designed for families. We tried valiantly, but couldn’t quite fit two adults together in one row, so we all had to split up. My 6’4″ boyfriend was less than thrilled by the amount of legroom too. It reminded me of the ride formerly known as the Beastie at Kings Island that I remember riding with my dad as a kid though (which make sense because after the fact, I learned from Wikipedia that it’s the same layout as that coaster, now named Woodstock Express), so it’s a great starter coaster for little ones.
Logger’s Run is a simple log flume ride. You go up the lift hill, float around for a bit with a nice view of the lagoon surrounded by roller coasters, and then go down the big drop. I liked 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. None of us got particularly wet, though on the blazing hot day we visited, we were almost hoping to get drenched. While we were on this ride, my boyfriend informed me that I’m a log flume snob, which I will wear as a badge of honor as a former Splash Mountain Cast Member.
Grand Rapids – we actually groaned at the far too easy name (Grand Rapids is a nearby city) is a white water raft ride where you sit in a circle and float through rapids getting splashed at every turn.
Mad Mouse is a classic crazy mouse-style coaster, so you sit in two-row cars that zip around the curves and go through short drops.
Kiddie Area – There’s a large kiddie area at the entrance to the park, full of those spinning rides where you sit in cars or trucks, and one pretty cool one where you could fly in a flying saucer. The little track where kids can drive mini classic cars is super cute too. There’s also a really little kiddie coaster called the Big Dipper (smaller than Zach’s Zoomer) that we didn’t try.
Check out the list of rides on Michigan’s Adventure’s website for the complete ride list.
Michigan’s Adventure also has a Ripcord attraction, though this one will cost you an additional fee. I didn’t ride theirs, but I’ve done a couple different 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.
I love the fact that the Michigan’s Adventure water park is included with your admission ticket. The day we were there was super hot, so we were eager to change into our swimsuits and get wet. We rented a locker in the water park area so we could store our towels and suits while we were in the theme park, and our dry clothes while we were swimming. There’s a large bathroom with shower stalls and changing areas right at the entrance to the water park. There are lots of lounge chairs around the pools, and people were lining up for a chance to claim a good one before the water park even opened.
The water park has all of your classics – wave pools, a lazy river, and several water slides. I liked the fact that there were multiple wave pools to choose from, as there were some tucked away behind the kiddie area that were less crowded than the incredibly packed main one.
The top attraction at the water park is the Funnel of Fear. This was the first time I’ve gotten to ride one of these and it definitely lived up to the hype. We waited around 45 minutes for it and had no regrets. The drop into the funnel is fun in and of itself and swishing back and forth is great.
My other favorite ride at the Michigan’s Adventure water park was Snake Pit. Each of the three slides here has a different path, and the best one was pretty much a straight shot down and you really hit the landing pool with some speed.
There are two family raft-style slides, with one enclosed in a very dark tube. 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. The enclosed slide, Mine Shaft, uses pinkish or red and yellow tubes, and the other one called Mammoth Falls uses blue and yellow ones.
Michigan’s Adventure might be for you if:
- You’re looking for a great family outing in Michigan.
- You like a more relaxed pace than a bigger theme park like Cedar Point.
- You like moderate thrills as opposed to record breaking coasters.
- You like to take a break to get wet during the day.
Michigan’s Adventure might not be for you if:
- You like deep theming a la Disney in your rides.
- You want to ride super tall, super fast roller coasters.
- You don’t like water parks – you’re paying for the one here whether or not you use it.
Tips for Visiting Michigan’s Adventure:
- Bring lots of sunscreen. A lot 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.
- Get to the water park as soon as it opens if you want to snag a lounge chair, 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. The one we used was medium-sized and cost $15.
- 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.
Don’t forget to bring these items to Michigan’s Adventure:
- Don’t miss out on all the fun at the water park because you forgot your bathing suit. Sure you could buy one at the park’s gift shop, but wouldn’t you rather show up in a cool one like this? Or you could go with a more traditional one like this – bonus points for being able to contain things up top while you’re on water slides.
- Towels aren’t provided, so you’ll also need one of those if you plan on hitting the waterpark. I like bright colors, so it won’t be hard to figure out why I picked this one.
- Who wants to walk into a public bathroom barefoot? Bring some flip flops so you can shower, change, and pee without having to touch that floor with your feet.
- There aren’t a lot of shaded areas at the park, so you’ll want to layer up on your sunscreen. We left a big bottle in our locker and I took a mini one with me in my bag so I could touch up my face and the areas where I’d gotten burnt the day before.
- One of my great frustrations in life is clothing companies’ utter refusal to put functional pockets in women’s clothing on a regular basis. Therefore, in order to keep my phone, keys, and money with me, I need a day bag. I love this lightweight, waterproof one.
Check out these other great things to do in Michigan:
- The Best Beaches in Michigan
- Summer on Mackinac Island
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park
- Nine Reasons to Visit Michigan This Summer
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