13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer

Photo courtesy of TreeRunner Grand Rapids Adventure Park's Facebook page

By Claire Mainprize

June 30, 2023

You’ll find adventures for the whole family at these adrenaline-pumping parks. And yes, there are lazy rivers too.

Summer should have its fair share of sleep-in sessions and lazy days around the home. But at some point, the members of your household will inevitably start itching to pile in the car and head somewhere new and exciting. 

Lucky for you, we have just the place — or better yet, 13 places! From huge amusement parks to local labors of love, this list contains all the adventures you could ask for.

TreeRunner Adventure Park

Photo courtesy TreeRunner Adventure Park Facebook page

Where: West Bloomfield, Grand Rapids, and Rochester

When: Summer hours: Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 9 a.m.-10 p.m. 

Cost: From $44

This aerial park was voted Michigan’s no. 1 zip lining and climbing venue in 2019, and it’s easy to see why. It includes a whopping 250 obstacles, 47 zip lines, and 20 trails. If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry; there are six different levels of ability, so whether you’re a brave, bonafide pro or a tad afraid of heights, they’ve got you covered. 

Once you climb up into the tree canopy, you’ll get a prime view of the beautiful Pebble Creek Watershed, which hosts an array of wildlife and greenery. Fittingly, all three TreeRunner parks belong to a new travel category called eco-friendly tourism and recreation, so you can have fun and feel comfortable knowing you’re not harming the environment in the process.

Michigan’s Adventure & Wildwater Adventure

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Michigan’s Adventure’s Facebook page

Where: Muskegon

When: Park is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; waterpark is open noon-5 p.m.

Cost: Daily tickets from $41.99

As the largest amusement park in the state, Michigan’s Adventure undoubtedly deserves a spot on this list. With more than 60 rides (including seven roller coasters), there’s plenty to keep the adrenaline junkies busy, while Camp Snoopy is perfect for the little ones. 

The adjacent Wildwater Adventure happens to be the state’s largest outdoor water park, so this place really blows all the others out of the water. In addition to 14 other water attractions, Wildwater Adventure has the Funnel of Fear, Michigan’s tallest tornado slide standing 63 feet tall. 

If you want to maximize the fun, consider buying a Fast Lane pass. For $49, you can skip the lines and ride your favorites all day long.

Arzo Sports & Fun Park

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Arzo Amusement Park’s Facebook page

Where: Alpena

When: Sunday to Thursday from noon-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon-9 p.m.

Cost: Most activities are $8

You could easily spend your whole day at Arzo Sports Park and it still would take careful planning to fit it all in. From bungee jumping and bumper cars to a Venetian carousel and Ferris wheel, there are almost too many attractions to name. 

Visitors have called this place a “diamond in the rough,” adding that it’s “more than reasonably priced and therefore more than worth every penny.” Although you can pay based on the activity, the popular Super 5 Package deal gets you five different rides for $30.

Crystal Mountain

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain’s Facebook page

Where: Thompsonville

When: Resort open daily; hours of operation for activities differs

Cost: From $10 per activity

Crystal Mountain is one of those places that has it all. It’s primarily a resort and conference center that offers world-class accommodations, but it comes with tons of perks. In the winter months, you can downhill or cross-country ski on 58 slopes. But with two 18-hole championship golf courses, Michigan’s only alpine slide, mountain biking trails, an outdoor pool/water playground, chairlift rides, an adventure course, archery, outdoor laser tag, and so much more, the place really comes alive in the summer. 

Kids between the ages of 6 and 12 can opt for the “Adventure Afternoon,” a summer-only deal that includes a variety of Crystal Mountain activities, topped off with ice cream. In the meantime, parents can chill in the spa or dine in one of the six restaurants. It’s truly a win-win (plus many more wins).

Gold Rush Indoor Waterpark

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Gold Rush Waterpark’s Facebook page

Where: Rothbury

When: Friday, 4-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cost: $35 

Speaking of extremely entertaining resorts in the Mitten State, Double JJ Resort is another gem. Like Crystal Mountain, it includes an array of indoor and outdoor activities, but our personal favorite is the ranch resort’s 60,000-square-foot indoor water park. Whether you choose to speed down Western Michigan’s tallest indoor waterslide, float along the lazy river, play in the water fort, or relax in the hot tubs, the mining-themed venue provides fun for all ages. 

Make it a day trip and tack on the 15-minute drive to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes or stay for a few days. (Here’s some advice: If you book a room anytime during the week of the Fourth of July, you can get admission to the water park for free!) One more hot tip for the road: To save some time upon arrival, complete a waiver online before you go.

Air Zoo

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Air Zoo’s Facebook page

Where: Portage

When: Open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday noon-5 p.m.

Cost: From $14 (4 and under are free)

We hate to break it to you, but Air Zoo is not, in fact, a floating habitat for animals. But we promise it’s just as fun. Ticketed as an “aerospace and science experience,” this Smithsonian-affiliated museum houses two different centers that are both open more than 360 days a year. 

The range of exhibits includes 100 air and space artifacts, realistic flight simulators, indoor rides, a movie theater, and more. Some of the exhibits featured this summer include “Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight,” “Alien Worlds & Androids,” and “Amelia: Adventurous Aviatrix.” 

Tickets can be purchased online or upon arrival.

Nelis’ Dutch Village

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Nelis’ Dutch Village’s Facebook page

Where: Holland

When: Hours vary, find the full schedule here

Cost: $15-$17

Nelis’ Dutch Village has been described as a “great place for the young and the young at heart,” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s also full of history. After migrating from the Netherlands, the Nelis family settled in Holland, Michigan, where they began their farm. Due to the vibrant tulip fields, the place became a tourist destination. They eventually formed the foundation for an entire Dutch village and imported Dutch treats and souvenirs to sell. 

Fast-forward to now, and the attraction is run by the fourth generation of Nelises who just celebrated its 100th anniversary! Young visitors can experience the thrill of six different rides, including two foreign fan favorites: Zweefmolen, the Dutch chair swing ride; and Draaimolen, a restored 1924 Herschell-Spillman carousel. There’s also a petting farm, climbing castle, pirate ship, and more.

Craig’s Cruisers

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Craig’s Cruisers’ Facebook page

Where: Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. most days

Cost: 1-hour admission from $14 with package deals available

As we all know, Michigan summers don’t get unbearably hot, but sometimes, the humidity can drive you just as crazy. So for those days when you want to get out of the house but don’t want to deal with the sweat and frizz, an indoor adventure park is the way to go. 

Although Craig’s Cruisers has four outdoor attractions, most of the fun is found indoors. There are indoor go-karts, bumper cars, indoor rides, an arcade, and a sports-filled trampoline park. (You need to purchase special three-dollar socks for that last one!)

There are three locations, all along Michigan’s west shoreline. Regardless of how far you travel to get to one, filling out the waiver ahead of time will save you some time when you arrive.

Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark’s Facebook page

Where: Boyne Falls

When: Open daily from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Cost: Day passes from $32

There’s so much to love about this family-friendly water park. Its ultimate thrill ride, a slide called The Big Couloir, has a crazy steep drop, but the Rip Zone Surf Simulator and Downhill Mat Racer will also get your adrenaline going. There’s also a lazy river, two tubing slides, a challenging water crossing, waterfalls, a kiddy pool, and more. (Also, there’s a pretty hefty group discount, making it the perfect place to host your kid’s birthday party!)

Avalanche Bay is a resort that offers tons of other amenities, not just the water park. So if you’re interested in horseback riding, paddle boarding, or zip lining, you may want to book a whole stay. Come on … you deserve it.

Legoland Discovery Center

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND Discovery Center (Michigan)’s Facebook page

Where: Auburn Hills

When: Open daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Cost: Daily admission from $23.99

When you hear the words “adventure” and “park,” you likely don’t think of Legos, but trust us—the Legoland Discovery Center is packed with exciting attractions. This place is about so much more than just Legos. For example, there’s the King Quest Laser Ride, a fairytale-themed interactive ride that involves a chariot, trolls, skeletons, and—of course—a princess in need of a knight in shining armor. If magic is more up your alley, try Merlin’s Apprentice.

Then there’s MINILAND, a tiny replica of some of Detroit’s most beloved landmarks. It’s so intricate that it took 15 expert builders more than 5,000 hours to build! Lastly, there’s also a cinema with 4D Lego adventures.

C.J. Barrymore’s

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Steve Przybylski’s Facebook page

Where: Clinton Township

When: Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; golf dome and driving range open daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. 

Cost: Most attractions are $8

C.J. Barrymore’s defies categories; think a bowling alley + amusement park + arcade + sports park = tons of fun. Despite all these options, it’s small enough that you can actually fit it all into an afternoon (or a whole day, if you want unlimited rides with an all-day wristband). 

Outside, you’ll find two drop towers, a saddle sling, two roller coasters, batting cages, bumper boats, a bungee ride, three go-kart tracks, a zip line, and a driving range. Once you inevitably work up an appetite, you can indulge in wings and beer at the food truck outside. Head indoors to check out the bumper cars, golf dome, laser tag, XD Dark Ride motion simulator, and more. 

One couple who opted for a day-date here wrote “be prepared to let your inner child out.” Sounds good to us!

Water Warrior Island

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Water Warrior Island Bald Mountain State Recreation’s Facebook page

Where: Lake Orion

When: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Cost: From $15

Kick beach day up a notch at Lake Orion’s no. 1 inflatable water park, Water Warrior Island. From the shore, you can get launched into the lake via the three Warrior Whoa slides. Then, swim over to the main attraction: the inflatable obstacle course. (Feel free to peruse the photo gallery because this is just too cool to describe.) 

And if that somehow isn’t enough, you can also rent kayaks, paddle boards, and … wait for it … floating cabanas. Sign us up! One important note: Water Warrior Island is part of Michigan State Parks, so you’ll need a Recreation Passport to get in. They can be purchased online or at the entrance.

Dinosaur Gardens

13 Adventure Parks in Michigan to Visit This Summer
Photo courtesy of Dinosaur Gardens’ Facebook page

Where: Ossineke

When: Open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. until July 23, then 10 a.m.-4 p.m. until September 4

Cost: From $3

Last, but certainly not least, there’s Ossineke’s Dinosaur Gardens. Here, you can step back into the Jurassic period and walk by gigantic, lifelike creatures. In addition to walking tours (which cost $10 on their own), there’s mini golf, a mining sluice, a fossil dig, and the best summer treat of all: frozen yogurt! To get all of this in addition to some fun dinosaur swag, you’ll want to buy the Dino Pass Plus, which costs $34.99. 

One of the coolest things about Dinosaur Gardens is its history, which dates back to a dino-loving Michigander named Paul Nathan Domke. This place is a labor of love if there ever was one!

READ MORE: 11 Summer Festivals Across the US to Check Out on Your Next Vacation

Author

  • Claire Mainprize

    Claire Mainprize is a writer and editor who covers the intersections of pop culture, lifestyle, and spirituality. Find more of her work at ClaireMainprize.com.

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