Main Street America 1800 Acre Park in Michigan

Can you say OZ or even PAPA's PARK?
Jeff's avatar
Mackinac is a destination full of hotels on an island. It's not the middle of nowhere. If they're passing through, they're passing by to go to Mackinac!

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I don't know what will happen with this plan, but some of you citizens of other states seem to be shutting this idea down without knowing much about Michigan. The area that this park is considering is actually a pretty popular tourist destination in its own right. There are two terrific lakes located near there (Higgins and Houghton) and the area is located pretty much dead center in the state. Flint, Lansing, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Mackinaw City / Island, Traver City, etc... are all located within two hours of this proposed location. Also, I don't know about the other parks that were referred to above, but I had experience with Auto World having grown up near Flint.

The problem with that park is that it had nice theming but very little to do. What there was to do didn't have any repeatability. Therefore, guests came once or twice and didn't return. This park might have potential if there are numerous fun things to do and it is expanded as time goes on (expansion is another thing that Auto World lacked).

I live about 80 miles from this location and I think that some of you are being a little rough on the investors that are thinking about this. After all, people didn't think that Disney was a genius when he started building Disneyland and that obviously worked out quite well.

I think the problem is that new parks being built from scratch is such a rarity nowadays, not to mention it is Michigan.
crazy horse's avatar
I still don't get the whole"it's being built in Michigan" argument. What's the differance if it is being built in Michigan or Indiana?

And yes, Makinaw IS in the middle of nowhere. It would take an entire day of driving from ohio,indiana,illinois, and penn just to get there. I live in lower michigan, and it would take me most of the day just to get there. In order to get to makinaw island, you will have to drive right by the proposed park.

If ohio can support 3 major parks, and several small ones.....why can't Michigan support 2?

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

As a michigan resident and frequent visitor to the area in question, i am not to sure about this. For one, some people seem to talk Mackinac up a lot and i dont understand. Its an island in the middle of the northern portion of lake huron (which doesnt ever seem to warm up) with no motorized vehicles and no A/C..... Maybe it is just me but i dont get it, boring.

Location: Crawford county, Grayling, come on there isnt much there. A half hour north in Gaylord you at least have other things to do and a few places to stay. An hour south in West Branch would seem to offer more than Grayling, and at least is closer to Detroit, Saginaw, Flint, and Port Huron. Not saying these places can sustain any sizeable park but its better than the alternative populations. Besdies, what kind of numbers do you need to sustain a 160 million dollar park? I dont think they are looking for a couple million in attendance every year.

However, as a big fan of snow and ice I do like the idea of a year round park with winter events. Only problem with that is my yearly trips to the northern lower pennisula during the winter months have gotten shorter and shorter every year. Weather it be Al Gore and his global warming, El Nino, or just plan crappy winters, Northern Michigan isnt exactly had great snowfall numbers. Lakes struggling to freeze over and god awful snowmobile trails, winter events may be hard to come by. Heck, even the bigger ski resorts struggled to be open three months last winter and thats with a full compliment of snow machines.

I don't think you can use the arguement that it is on the way to Mackinac Island. Sure, that may get the park a few guests, but Mackinac draws just over 2 million people a year. The park wants to do just under 2 million. I would probably say atleast 25% of people who visit Mackinac Island would probably have no interest in an amusement park anyways. Frankenmuth isn't really in the middle of nowhere - it is between two decent size cities (Flint and Saginaw) and is just about an hour drive from the suburbs of Detroit.

On a different note, if the park could be an amusement park/ski resort then it could have some sucess. There are countless large (and very nice!) ski resorts in Northern Michigan - several are even adding indoor waterparks. I think the key would be finding a way make money year around as an amusement park would have a pretty limited season (but throw in a ski resort and that is a different story). Heck, the one ski resort I sometimes visit usually operates until late March!

There is a small waterpark in Mackinac City (it is only a few years old). It would be intresting to see the numbers on that place.

Haz-Matt, Mackinac is something that grows on you. When I was young I thought it was cool for a few hours then found it very boring. Now I can't get enough of the place. It is so damn relaxing. *** Edited 5/31/2007 10:02:14 AM UTC by Andrew*** *** Edited 5/31/2007 10:04:15 AM UTC by Andrew***


The lack of motorized vehicles is the appeal! Although I could do without the snobbery around the Hotel.
I think that the park would do quite well. I live in the flint area myself and the traffic on i-75 on the weekends is just like leaving cedar point on the 4th of july almost every weekend, north and south bound. Grayling is a small town with not a whole lot going on for itself but this would really help the local economy a huge amount. If even just for the building phase. The biggest kicker will be the ability to get a decent crew in the park to maintain the place. Good help is hard to find in a minimum wage worker now.

Yeah!!! Rollercoasters!!!! (my 2 year old as we see the first sights of the point on the causeway)
Here's the thing: if they can convince a reasonable fraction of the folks going Up North to stay in Grayling for a day on their way up or way home, they've got a chance. If folks just drive by in an hurry to get where they are going, they are doomed.

Be interesting to see what happens. I'm skeptical. When I go up north, I'm going up north, not to see the sights along the way.

Has anyone on here driven up I-75 on any Friday during the year? The traffic can be ridiculous...even at $3 or more per gallon. If they aren't going up to see the sights, what are they going up for?
Have any of you who keep saying "It's in Michigan" ever actually been "Up North"?

The "fudgies" will keep this place packed. Michigan has the tenth highest population in the country, while the economy isn't the greatest there it is far from horrible. Believe it or not the number one industry in Michigan is not automobiles but tourism. Grayling is on the way to everything and not far from any of the huge travel destinations in the upper Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

I used to live four miles from Ohio and twelve from Indiana and every year we would make the trip "Up North" and every other Michigander does the same thing.

I wonder how many people Hartwick Pines State Park brings in annually. It is also in Grayling. I-75 is a 3 hour drive from Detroit to Grayling as well. So is Cedar Point, while Detroit may suck the suburbs are thriving and the Detroit Metro area makes the Cleveland Metro area look small in comparison.

Personally I think this park has an excellent chance to succeed. All the "trolls" will flock.

And I sure hope everyone is able to figure out my Michigan lingo.

-Brent Kneebush

Until you have lived in Michigan don’t judge it.

Timbers crew 08

People talk about the lack of one major metropolitan area near this proposed park. What is important to remember is how many smaller areas are a very reasonable drive from this park. In addition, the weather is not near as bad in this part of the state as everyone seems to think it is. In addition, the weather doen't matter much since this park is being proposed for indoors.

Obviously, if the investors go through with this, they will be taking a big risk (what 160 million dollar investment isn't?) Risk should not be confused with ignorance. I have to assume that any investor has done their homework before pulling this idea out of the blue. I really hope that I'll be able to visit this park some day and I hope that it will be a huge success, but there are way too many factors to call this idea one way or the other.

crazy horse's avatar

Look what they did with only 30 million when they built wild west world.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Have any of you who keep saying "It's in Michigan" ever actually been "Up North"?

Yes. Every year for 20 years running.

The "fudgies" will keep this place packed.

Not if they just drive by on the way to Mackinac, Traverse City, etc. They've got to stop.

There's enough traffic on that highway---but it remains to be seen if enough people are diverted from their destination.

CPLady's avatar
I think it's got as good a chance of surviving as MiA has at increasing its attendance.

Camping and canoing is huge around Grayling. It's halfway between Detroit and Mackinac. And Lansing certainly isn't hicksville.

And as Natas said, you've got the whole Houghton/Higgins Lake area that is jammed each summer with those who flock to their cottages on those two lakes (and in the winter too, for that matter). You've got a lot of tourist draw all within an hour or so around it--Traverse City, Lake Michigan to the west and all the summer homes on Lake Huron to the east...all within an hour or two drive.

No, I can't see them making it as a destination resort...certainly not immediately. But if they do it right...add enough exciting things to do to draw people in, I can see it being successful.

The big question is whether the DNR will be willing to sell the land.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

I used to drive charter/tour buses out of Pittsburgh in the 80s thru early 90s, and that upper part of Michigan is beautiful.

Macinac Island and the trip we used to call "Destination North" which went into Canada as well (Soul Ste Marie or whatever it was called, I forget the proper spelling), also Frankenmuth along the way... that was one of my all time favorite trips, which included an all day train ride into the mountains with picnic lunch at a waterfall, deer visible along the ride, it was just gorgeous... particularly if you did the fall foliage trip. I can see a park surviving quite well along the way those already popular tour destinations

Lets hope! :)

I'm a lifelong Michigan resident, love amusement parks, Michigan could use the jobs such a park would create... but I have to say I'll be stunned if this thing ever gets off the ground.

There hasn't been a major new park built in the US in over 10 years... the Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach is on its way only after a long run of raising cash and planning. I can't see a multi-use park (an amusement park open in the winter? In *Michigan*???) working out anywhere north of... well, Orlando... certainly not, at least at the size they are talking about. Believe me, if CF thought they could get more out of Michigan's Adventure (at least in terms of attendance) they would have a new attraction there every year. They certainly have the room; I think they have a pretty good idea of what that market will yield.

In addition, the operating season -- if it's indeed a park with primarily outdoor attractions -- will be at least two weeks shorter on either end of a place like CP. Tough to build a financial model for that size of park with that kind of revenue potential.

I really do hope I end up eating my words, but I think it's all wishful thinking right now.

crazy horse's avatar
Wild west world, hard rock, soon to be coney island are some new parks to name a few. And I think that there is a new park going in penn as well.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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