Saturday, September 01, 2012

My Summer Vacation: Michigan's Adventure

Michigan's Adventure is billed as "Michigan's Largest Amusement Park and Water Park". I remember seeing this park several years ago but assumed that it would be a while before our girls were big enough to really enjoy it. Before we went on our trip this year, I randomly began chatting about this particular landmark with friends who had been there and they assured me that even Eloise was big enough to do pretty much everything there. It sounded like a fun idea, who doesn't like amusement and water parks?, so Matt, the girls and I headed up there on a Monday morning.

Can't go anywhere with out stopping at Starbucks on the way. 
Michigan's Adventure is divided quite neatly in to two separate, but joined, parks. One side an amusement park with rides ranging from a little kiddie dumbo ride up to massive roller coasters, the other side was the water park, with water slides and other play features. It is a HUGE park and we were there for about six hours and didn't come anywhere near getting to do everything we wanted to do.

View of the park from the parking lot.
We started Eloise off on the tiny kids rides, like Dumbo, since the lines were short (or non-existent) and, you know, to warm her up for some adventure. Next Matt took the girls on the ferris wheel. I hate ferris wheels (I make exceptions for The Seattle Great Wheel) so I skipped that. I committed a park no-no by saving places for all of us in line at the Mad Mouse roller coaster while they were on the ferris wheel. Oops. We rode Mad Mouse together and I was about 95% certain we were going to fall of the track and smash to the ground in a million pieces. Thankfully we didn't. To me that is the scariest part of the rides-- feeling like they are actually going to malfunction and send you careening to your death.

The mother of the toddler in this picture asked Eloise if she (the toddler) could ride with her,
since she was too little to ride alone. Eloise kindly agreed. 
Managing the controls of this airplane just fine, thank you very much. 

Smiling girls on the ferris wheel.

After Mad Mouse we headed for some smaller rides. The swings was a big hit for the girls and I, though Matt chose to keep his feet on the ground and play photographer. Next the girls and I hit up the fair-style rides like the Tilt-o-Whirl and the Scrambler.


It was around this time that Eloise decided that she really wanted to ride Shivering Timbers. Let me set the scene for you: Shivering Timbers is a category 5 coaster, meaning it's an "aggressive thrill". It boasts a mile of track, reaches speeds of 65 mph and heights of 125 feet. I have no idea why I had a momentary lapse of reason and agreed to take Eloise on the ride. I think half of me believed she would get up there and change her mind. Well, she didn't. But you probably already guessed that.

Taken from the Michigan's Adventure website. You can see here how we almost died 
I should point out here that when I looked up at Shivering Timbers, all I could see from my vantage point was the first tall climb. I thought to myself "Pshhhh. If I make it over that climb, I will be fine. Easy peasy!"

As Eloise and I settled in to our cart, I let her know she could still change her mind. Nope, she was ready to go. The bars were locked down on us and we were off. As the cart slowly ascended the (what I now know was only the first) climb, it occured to me that Eloise was on her own here. I was already terrified and if she screamed, cried, puked, anything, I was helpless to assist her. Our cart breached the summit and then we careened down the other side. I was able to steal one glance at Eloise whose face displayed a mixture of terror and excitement that I had never before seen. Our cart began climbing again. The thoughts racing through my mind were something like "what?! NO! No more!" But alas, I was strapped in and along for the ride. Several more climbs and descents, each mercifully smaller than the last. A few sharp turns rattled the brains inside my head and then a few last small-ish bumps were thrown in for good measure. As our cart pulled in to park I finally got to really look at Eloise and ask what she thought. A gigantic smile spread across her face: "that was awesome!". The teenage couple behind us laughed and admitted they were wondering how she would do on the ride. I admitted the same thing.

After Shivering Timbers it was time for Eloise to win a stuffed animal-- Iris had won one while waiting for us to finish our ride.

The best thing about this game is that one player is guaranteed to win each round,
so if only your family members are playing, then your kids win a stuffed animal no matter what. 
After winning the stuffed animal we headed out to the parking lot for a picnic lunch. Weren't we smart to plan to do the roller coasters before lunch? Once our tummies were full it was time to hit the water park. Water slides first, then the giant wave pool. I hated that stupid wave pool. It was actually a death pit that my children insisted on heading directly to the center of. Once we had enough of that, Matt and I yanked them out of the death pit and it was time for a leisurely float down the lazy river.  We then decided to head up as a family to do some more water slides. One of my favorite parts of the water park was a huge climbing structure for the kids that had water shooting out of every part of it. Matt and I just got to sit and relax and watch the girls play for a bit.

Once we left the water park it was back to the amusement park for two more rides. Sadly, the log ride broke down after we had been in line for a while, but we did get to ride Mad Mouse one more time. Ending the day the same we began it.

I have to say, I can't wait to go back again! 

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