Theme parks can be awesome! And…they can be overwhelming. After two decades of Florida life, some time working as a cast member, and many years of Annual Passes to Disney World, my family couldn’t wait to try the mitten’s local fun park, Michigan’s Adventure.
My husband calls me his DPS (Disney Positioning System) since I can find my way through every back alley in the land of the Mouse. I know all the best food and can hit 7 Disney rides in 2 hours.
My kids were part of a Disney homeschool community. We did Epcot scavenger hunts. They munched on edamame and tried on kimonos while learning about Japan and visited the beluga whale when studying oceanography.
I was wondering how Michigan’s Adventure would measure up. We purchased season passes to try it for ourselves.
Some of the perks I found at Michigan’s Adventure compared to other theme parks were:
• It is affordable • Food and necessities can be easily retrieved from the parking area • The weather is more agreeable for summer days outside • You spend much less time waiting in line • You can revisit your faves without fear of missing out • Water park admission is included
With some simple planning, it’s easy to have a blast at Michigan’s Adventure.
Important Message: Local businesses are working hard to implement procedures based on the new safety guidelines. For each of the attractions and events we mention, we include a link to the business website. Please use this link to confirm the details, hours of operation and any requirements guests must follow before visiting. Thank You!
Michigan’s Adventure Tips
Here are five tips to help you have the best day at Michigan’s Adventure, just 48 miles from Grand Rapids, in Muskegon.
1) Get a Deal on Tickets
Get the most bank for your buck by buying season passes or using special bundle pricing.
Michigan’s Adventure makes thrill-seekers happy with their 60+ rides and seven roller coasters.
But did you know that you can ride a mile-long roller coaster that is over 125 feet tall and travels up to 65 miles per hour at the amusement park? And that you can splash away the day at Wildwater Adventure water park and then find fun for the whole family in the new 2020 Peanuts®-themed area, Camp Snoopy?
You can do it ALL while staying on track with your budget too.
Michigan’s Adventure offers many ways to save on tickets.
Annually, Michigan’s Adventure offers season passes – some with food discounts – and free parking. We usually upgrade my pass to Platinum to include the free parking and save on the rest of the family’s passes by purchasing regular-season passes for everyone else.
Currently, for 2020, they are offering a Funday Bundle for $49.99, which includes a daytime admission, parking, and a single meal deal. Every Memorial Day weekend, military members are given free admission and discounts.
Specials can also be found in the free coupon book, Great Deals, that you likely receive in your mailbox.
Additionally, many Meijer stores sell reduced admission tickets at their customer service counters.
For 2020, Michigan’s Adventure has many park updates posted here, including details about an exciting special offer: All Michigan’s Adventure 2020 season pass holders will receive an extension on their memberships for the 2021 season as well.
When you buy a ticket to Michigan’s Adventure, admission is good for both the theme park and water park. Plan to get there early to ride all of the more popular rides before the wait times increase. You’ll also find closer parking if you arrive early in the day. Do bring money for parking, and even a bit extra if you’d like to upgrade to preferred parking spaces.
You may also want extra money to purchase these add-ons:
• Lockers at the front gate or in Wildwater Adventure (cash or credit, no debit) • Dining and snacks • Fast Lane wristband to skip the lines for rides • Stroller rentals • Photo Pass, frees your hands from carrying a camera or phone • Cabana rental at the water park
2) Planning Makes a Big Difference
If you have time on your side, spend a but of it planning. You’ll reap the rewards. These are some of the plan-ahead things you can do to make your day trip to Michigan’s Adventure even better:
Check the weather. Michigan’s Adventure offers no rainchecks. We know how unpredictable Michigan Mother Nature can be.
Check ride heights – and the height of your riders. The Michigan’s Adventure website makes it easy to see how tall a rider needs to be. Ride height cut-offs happen at 36″, 42″, 46″, 48″, and 52″. There are a considerable number of kiddie rides that are available to all heights.
Can we plan our route to minimize toddler tantrums? (don’t repeatedly pass the toddler by the train if that’s an issue.)
For rides with a longer wait, locate the closest bathrooms.
Check height requirements to curb day-of disappointment.
Get a Parent Swap Pass at the Group Sales office to avoid waiting in line twice if you have littles that cannot go on bigger rides.
Pack the necessities. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must. I always bring a water bottle that can be refilled at fountains throughout the park. There is not a lot of shade or grassy areas at Michigan’s Adventure – plan accordingly.
Bonus: If you would like to make your Michigan’s Adventure trip educational you can do these physics activities with older kids before you go.
3) Special Considerations & Safety
If one of your family members has mobility challenges or requires special accommodations, review this page.
Michigan’s Adventure has worked through many scenarios. They have systems in place for everything from Boarding Passes for those with autism or mobility challenges (to help minimize wait times), to a Kid Track system to keep families together.
I always dress my vivacious son in a bright-colored or unique shirt. That way, he is easy to spot quickly in a crowd.
Take a photo of each child as you enter the park. This provides a quick reference if you should get separated in the park.
I also tuck a card with my name and phone number inside a snack-size zipper bag and place it inside each child’s sock or pocket. They’ve never needed to use it, but I feel better knowing I can be reached if they wander off.
As you enter the park, find a tall landmark that can be seen from all locations. Establish it as a meeting place if you have independent teens or if anyone becomes separated from the group.
4) Dress for Both Parks with One Outfit
A little extra planning before leaving home can mean a lot less to carry – and much more comfort.
Shirts, shoes, and shorts or pants are required on all theme park rides. However, things like zippers, denim, and rivets are forbidden on water slides. Without packing a suitcase, how do you prepare for both parks?
We wear rash guards and swim shorts and explore the theme park first. After a day in the sun, it feels so good to hit the water attractions, and then we don’t have to walk around soggy.
We’ll wrap up in towels for the ride home or keep a change of clothes in the car. Sometimes we wear swimsuits under our clothes to make changing even quicker without having to run back-and-forth to the car.
For babies and toddlers, plan on water shoes and extra swim diapers at Whitewater Adventure, as they are required. Life jackets are available to use at no charge for kiddos under 48 inches.
Don’t forget the towels. (See below for a detailed packing list.)
It’s inevitable that someone will get hungry during your visit to Michigan’s Adventure. Although outside food is not permitted inside the park, special allowances are made for dietary restrictions.
There are many options available inside the parks, including vegetarian and gluten-free choices too. Whether you crave a cold smoothie or bratwurst from a buffet, the dining locations at Michigan’s Adventure have you covered.
Some families opt to buy a refillable cup to use and share (bring separate straws for different family members).
Other families like to pack a lunch and “tailgate” in the parking lot. They’ll do the regular park first thing, then go to the parking lot for lunch. After that, they’ll go to the water park. With this strategy, they buy drinks and snacks in the park throughout the day but prefer to save a little money by taking their own lunches.
Since coolers are not allowed, but re-entry is, we personally keep a lunch-filled cooler in the car. This way we can enjoy a healthy, inexpensive meal from home, tailgate style.
I like to use water bottles, filled ¾ way and frozen, as ice packs. After lunch, we take them into the park for cold drinks all afternoon. You may even find some of these camping hacks helpful for meal ideas or food storage.
Usually, the kids don’t want to stop playing to eat a large meal. Burgers and fries plus roller coasters can equal trouble. Those are great opportunities to visit local Muskegon restaurants and remember everyone’s favorite activity of the day, before the drive back.
What’s your favorite thing about Michigan’s Adventure?
Packing List for Michigan’s Adventure
If you’re going for the full 2-parks-in-1 experience, this packing list will help you prep for you day at Michigan’s Adventure.
Sunglasses or hats
change of clothes
bathing suit // swim diapers
plastic bags to hold wet swimwear
waterproof pouch for money or cellphone
Tennis shoes for walking around the park
Flip flops for the water park bathroom & changing areas (footwear is not allowed on WildWater Adventure attractions. )
Nice to Have
Guests are permitted to bring their own life jacket; however it must be Coast Guard certified. The park provides life jackets.
A wagon when the kids are a little bigger (instead of a stroller) to cart around all the things especially for the water park portion.
Jen is a homeschooling hockey mom of one daughter and two sons. Open for new adventures, she is a former Montessorian turned fitness instructor who loves making tasty treats for her family and friends. Jen returned to West Michigan after 20 years in Florida, where she and her husband enjoy exploring Grand Rapids.