Michigan's Adventure Trip Report - 4th of July, 2017

I took my family to Michigan’s Adventure on the 4 of July and returned with great enthusiasm for this beautiful, photogenic, and often overlooked and underappreciated Cedar Fair park. From its beautiful surroundings to entertaining rides, this park seems to be a real asset in Cedar Fair’s lineup of amusement parks. Yes, Shivering Timbers is great and yes Thunderhawk is perhaps the best Vekoma SLC, but more impressive than these big-tickets items is the park’s majestic setting in the middle of Western Michigan’s forests. Surrounded by lush pine trees, indigenous wildflowers, lakes, ponds, and azure blue skies, Michigan’s Adventure is a real getaway. Consider me a Michigan’s Adventure “fanman!” With that, the following represents some of my takeaways from the dry side of the park:

Shivering Timbers: As stated numerous times on this forum, this giant wooden roller coaster is worth a side trip to the lakes and forests of western Michigan. A relentlessly beautiful structure, Shivering Timbers confirms that a coaster’s polling place and ranking simply does not relate to the enjoyment it produces.

Wolverine Wildcat - emphasis on "wild." With a little tender loving care, this classic styled wooden roller coaster would be exceptional. Great classic layout with plenty of memorable moments.

Mad Mouse: A relatively rare Arrow Dynamic’s Mad Mouse surprised me and quickly became my favorite second-generation wild mouse ride. Its comfortable cars, smooth tracking, and non-stop lateral turns left my 6 year-old-daughter and me anxious for “another go.”

Thunderhawk: The park's Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster re-purposed from now-defunct Geauga Lake was a delight to ride. But for having to get back to my wife and kids, I would have loved to have a few more turns on this high-contrast red and yellow thrill machine.

Apart from these big-ticket items the park’s other attractions pleasantly entertained me with the notable stand outs being:

  • Be-Pop Blvd: a classic family car ride which I believe not only sets the standard for this style of ride, but from which some of the “big players” should take some cues as to how styling and ease-of-use affect ride enjoyment (I’m looking at you Walt Disney World!)
  • Zach’s Zoomer: If I were to make a list of the best kiddie/family coasters in North America, this would be at the top of that list. What a delightful, energetic, and fun coaster! Snappy and fast, this petite wooden roller coaster never lets up. And, with its classic Philadelphia Toboggan Company train complete with a unique color palette, this roller coaster makes for a perfect first roller coasting experience. Bravo Michigan’s Adventure!
  • Lakeside Gliders: Cedar Fair has equipped its parks with the classic Larson International Flying Scooter. But, none of those installments match the interaction between ride, landscaping, and natural surroundings as well as Michigan’s Adventures Lakeside Gliders. With its setting on the lake and ring of ornamental grass swaying in the breeze of the gliders, this ride was pure joy. The company’s other parks would be wise to follow suit and note the wonderful effect created by ringing a flying scooter attraction with ornamental grass.

Takeaway: A family friendly, photogenic, and entertaining park, Michigan's Adventure is Must See Amusement! Cedar Fair has a little gem on its hands in western Michigan. It's unfortunate that the company seems reluctant to develop this park (I’m presuming because it fears that doing so will take business away from its flagship Cedar Point), because Michigan's Adventure is one of the most pleasant and laid-back atmospheres I've encountered in an amusement park. And, with its surrounding forests and prairies, it has great potential for redefining the standard of beauty in a North American amusement park. I look forward to a quick return.

downloaded images from the trip here

(The interface on CoasterBuzz is too confusing for this old man to figure out how to post images directly into this post. Sorry...)

Last edited by urumqi,

tall and fast but not much upside down


Mr. Timber-Rider... paging Mr. Rider...

Bobbie1951's avatar

Nice report! Michigan's Adventure is as much maligned as Dorney. As to the comment about Shivering Timbers being a "relentlessly beautiful structure," that is a fitting description and undoubtedly why I fell in love with it after seeing a photo on the web - that and the number of consecutive drops, which struck me as extraordinary. Although this was years ago I still remember getting out of the rental car, snapping a picture of ST, moving the car up farther in the parking lot to do the same thing and going through this exercise several times in an effort to capture this coaster in all its glory. I also remember - and this is off-topic - calling my dad and saying "You'll never guess where I am. Muskegon, Michigan!" at 10 pm when it was still light outside. This really impressed me b/c there is never any daylight at 10pm in Philly. upsdownsandupsidedown.com


I too was impressed with how Shivering Timbers imposes itself along virtually the entire length of the parking lot. Then, when riding I couldn't believe that "there is another hill!" The train just kept traveling up and down with no apparent end. And, when the train finally reaches the helix, it goes around twice! Great fun. The long days in Michigan are a blessing and a curse. It makes for really pleasant summer evenings, but it's really difficult (I guess impossible) to see the park at night! Thank you for the nice comments.

tall and fast but not much upside down

Bakeman31092's avatar

After years of MI bashing on this forum (from one source), the effusive praise in this TR reads almost like a parody of an over-the-top report attempting to undo the damage from the smear campaign against this poor, unassuming park.

Sounds like our Bobbie should've just parked mid-timbers for the best overall view.
Long walk,.... but great view.

Last edited by RCMAC,

Alas, no parody intended and any praise should be read as being drafted with sincerity and an attempt at proper restraint. Even with this forum's apparent ill-will, all four family members left feeling content and exhausted from the day. Nothing more could have been asked!

Last edited by urumqi,

tall and fast but not much upside down

I liked Michigan's Adventure, but it's been a few years now. It was a long drive from Columbus- I got into town in the evening and spent a full day at the park the following. Then the next day I hit the park in the morning and left to come home much later than I planned. So I guess I thought it was fine, because for some reason I didn't want to leave.
Was it the best park I've been to? No, but it was far from the worst. I'd put it well ahead of places like Darien. I enjoyed the major coasters and the flats. Shivering Timbers is a unique wooden coaster, and by that I mean you don't see many like that built any more. I was drawn to the front for most of my rides, it seemed like the place to be. Wolverine Wildcat (its hard for me to say that word, btw...) was a much better ride than I expected. Maybe not quite up to it, but in the same groove as Phoenix and I rode it many times, too. I seem to remember it having the longest line of the day, probably one train. I always found Geauga's SLC to be the most tolerable, so I was glad to say hello to her again as well. I'm a sucker for turnpike rides and Be-Bop was fun and well done. I think it was the first all-electric tracked ride.
It was easy to see who their visitors are, I'd reckon the greater percentage are people from somewhere else in the area for a lake vacation. Most of them spent the day in the waterpark which was fine with me. Access to the rides on a hot day was easy.
MiA reminded me of a junior Valleyfair- an older park that had taken on CF touches. I like looking at the "bones" and architecture when I'm at a park for the first time, and a lot of the buildings were older and from a time when things weren't very interesting and budgets were low. But it was clean, in good shape, and well kept. People there were nice.

I'd like to go back there someday- maybe I'll wait for that next big attraction. ;) And if I do I'd like to take the second day and explore the eastern shore of Lake Michigan more and see what the fuss is about. It sure gets busy there.

Last edited by RCMAC,

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