2017 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Review

The Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival opened on Wednesday, June 21 and continues through Sunday, June 25 at Pioneer High School. The Ann Arbor Jaycees provided my daughter with a ride wristband so we could check out the carnival and report back to you.

2017 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival

Check out our thoughts and tips for visiting the carnival. Have you been to the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival this year? Add your thoughts to the comments below or social media.

2017 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Walkthrough

The Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival includes rides, games, food, and other activities. For the third consecutive year, Skerbeck Entertainment provides the rides and games. The 2017 ride mix was relatively similar to the 2016 ride mix. There were some minor changes to the kiddie rides, but the older rides were the same as last year. 

Check out the Facebook Live Walkthrough video that we made at the end of our visit:

2017 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Review

We had a great time at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival and will definitely return again next year.

We arrived at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival shortly after they opened at 4:30p and stayed until 6:15p.

Wristbands are available for $22 ($25 on the weekend). Tickets are available at 4/$5 or 50/$50. The wristband will be worth it especially for older kids. Even for young kids, I would rather spend the money once on the wristband and not be thinking is a particular ride worth the number of tickets requested. With minimal crowds early in the evening, my daughter easily got her money’s worth on the ride wristband. I think SuperNova 360  was a 6 ticket ride and she rode it 3 times. That’s 18 tickets alone. She also rode Zipper 3 times and that was 5 tickets. She’s at 33 tickets with just 2 rides!

I definitely recommend visiting the Carnival earlier in the day since it tends to be less crowded and ride lines are shorter. In past years we have visited on Friday or Saturday night and encountered 20 minute lines for rides. Yesterday, the longest my daughter had to wait for any ride was for the previous ride to end.

One of the things that I like about the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is that we’re sure to run into people we know. It definitely made the visit more fun for my daughter and her friend who was able to join my daughter on the thrill rides while her mom stayed with her sister on the tame rides.

Thrill Rides

As a thrill ride enthusiast, the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival was great for my daughter. The centerpiece of the carnival this year is Super Nova 360, and yes, it does rotate 360 degrees – our video of SuperNova 360 at the 2016 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival.

My daughter rode it twice as soon as we arrived. She rode it at least two more times

My daughter said that the Zipper is her favorite ride at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival. She tried to ride it first, but she needed a partner to ride it with. I am not sure whether it always needs 2 people or if there is a minimum weight. Fortunately, while she was on the SuperNova 360 we found a friend. Her friend also wanted to ride the Zipper and had been turned away for no partner. The two girls made a beeline for the Zipper.

Other thrill rides include Twin Flip and Alpine Bobs. My daughter who loves thrill rides is not a big fan of Twin Flip. She said it was a little rough. 

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Twin Flip

I have classified the Alpine Bobs as a Thrill Ride. At first glance, it looks like a simple bobsled ride. However, the carts are free swinging and it is a bigger thrill than a simple bobsled ride.

Intermediate Rides

There are a few ride options for kids (and adults) who don’t like the super thrill rides.

This year, the intermediate rides include: Spider, Cliff Hanger, Tilt-a-whirl, Swinger, and Scooter Bumper Cars. My daughter rode everything except the Scooter Bumper

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Spider

There is also a Ferris Wheel that is fun for the whole family and Cuckoo Haus, a German themed walk-through Fun House.

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Cuckoo Haus

Kiddie Rides

There were plenty of rides for little kids at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival. Kiddie Rides include:

  • Merry-Go-Round
  • Jungle Explorer
  • Motorcycle Jump
  • Space Chase
  • Teacups
  • Orient Express – Kiddie Coaster

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Merry Go Round

Other Activities

I have to admit that once I buy a ride wristband, we usually focus on the rides and don’t pay for extra experiences like games, the rock wall, or moon bounce.

My daughter did try the rock wall for $5. She found it difficult, but did get a prize for trying (all kids 12 & under do). 

The carnival seemed to have a good mix of traditional carnival games. With short ride lines and a non-crowded carnival, there was hardly anyone playing the games while we were there. The game lines are usually longer in the evenings when the ride lines are longer and older kids are there.

The food available at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is standard carnival food. Since my daughter didn’t want to have dinner at the carnival, I didn’t explore the menus. In the past, typical food has included pizza, Italian Sausage, Bratwurst, Hot Dogs, Chicken Tenders, Elephant Ears, Cotton Candy, Candy Apples, Lemonade, and Ice Cream. I am sure there is more as well.

2017 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Schedule

The schedule for the 2017 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is below:

Wednesday, June 21 – 4:00pm-11:00pm – 66th Annual Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Thursday, June 22 – 4:00pm-11:00pm – 66th Annual Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Friday, June 23 – 4:00pm-11:59pm – 66th Annual Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Saturday, June 24 – 12:00pm-11:59pm – 66th Annual Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Sunday, June 25 – 12:00pm-9:00pm – 66th Annual Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival

Getting to the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival

This year it is a little more difficult to get to the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival with the construction on Stadium Blvd. Stadium is closed east of Main Street (in front of Michigan Stadium). Additionally, Main St is only open Northbound at Stadium Blvd. If you are coming from the north, your best bet is to use seventh street to Pioneer High School and enter Pioneer High School by the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed office. If you are coming from the east, your should use Eisenhower Parkway. This map from the City of Ann Arbor shows suggested detours around the construction zone.

Tips for Visiting the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival

  • Visit early in the week and early in the day for the least crowds.
  • Wristbands cost less on Wednesday/Thursday ($22 vs $25)
  • Bring Cash – They only accepted cash for the wristband (and I presume the food). An ATM is available onsite, but I am sure the fees are high.
  • Wear Sunscreen – the Pioneer Parking Lot is very sunny, if you’re attending during daylight wear sunscreen
  • Bring Water – This year, it was not very hot so we left our water in the car. However, the weather is forecast to be warmer for some of the days. You may want to bring your water in.
  • Adults may need to ride with kids in intermediate height ranges. Consider either a band for an adult or tickets to split rides with the kids. When my daughter was 4, we had to make a ticket booth run while she was in a long line since she needed someone to ride with her.

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