Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Midway

2016 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Review

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The Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival opened on Wednesday, June 22 and continues through Sunday, June 26 at Pioneer High School. The Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival includes rides, games, food, and other activities. Check out our thoughts and tips for visiting the carnival.

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Midway

Have you been to the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival this year? Add your thoughts to the comments below or social media.

2016 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Walkthrough

Before the carnival started, the number one question that I was receiving from readers was what the rides would be like. Last year was the first year with Skerbeck Entertainment providing the rides and there were noticeably fewer rides than previous years particularly in the middle range between kiddie rides and thrill rides. This year there were more rides both in the thrill rides and the middle range of rides. My daughter has outgrown the kiddie rides (both in height and interest), so we didn’t explore those rides too much. There were about 6 kiddie rides.

While at the Carnival I did a Walkthrough Video on Facebook Live


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2016 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 4p and stayed until 5:30p. We would have stayed longer, but my daughter had a softball game and did not want carnival food for dinner- yes she can be a food snob at times.

Even though we were staying for a short time I purchased her a ride wristband. The wristband was $22 and valid all day. Ride tickets were available at 4/$5 or 50/$50. As a thrill ride enthusiast, the wristband was definitely the right choice. In less than 90 minutes, the rides she rode totaled over 50 tickets. 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 or maybe 5 cars for the Ferris wheel.

One of the things that I like about the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is that we’re sure to run into people we know. Yesterday was unusual since we only ran into one family that we knew. But 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 her. The centerpiece of the carnival this year is Super Nova 360, and yes, it does rotate 360 degrees.

My daughter rode it as soon as we arrived. Then we ran into a friend and she rode it again with her friend who barely squeaked by the 55″ minimum height requirement.

Other major thrill rides include the Zipper (I think my daughter and her friend rode it 3 times, twice in a row at one point), Twin Flip, and Alpine Bobs. Both Zipper and Twin Flip turn riders upside down. I have been to many carnivals over the years and was definitely surprised to see 3 rides that turn you upside down.

Intermediate Rides

Last year, the feedback that I heard from other parents was that the intermediate rides were lacking. For kids (and adults) who don’t like thrills, but are too big for the kiddie rides there were limited option.

This year, the intermediate rides include: Spider, Cliff Hanger, Tilt-a-whirl, Swinger, and Scooter Bumper Cars. After riding the thrill rides, my daughter and her friend declared Spider a nice, calm, relaxing ride. I had a laugh since at their age, a ride like Spider was my ride limit. 

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 Ladybugs
  • Motorcycle Jump
  • Space Chase
  • Teacups
  • Kiddie Coaster

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Merry Go Round

Other Activities

I have to admit that once I buy a ride wristband, we focus on the rides and don’t pay for extra experiences like games, the rock wall, or moon bounce. The rock wall probably would have been the activity that my daughter could have talked me into paying for, but it didn’t make sense with such a limited time.

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 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 fully explore the menus. Some signs I saw on the trucks were 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.


2016 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Schedule

The schedule for the 2016 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is below:

No Events

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 Sunscreen – the Pioneer Parking Lot is very sunny, if you’re attending during daylight wear sunscreen
  • Bring Water – We had water in the car for softball and I left my daughter with her friend’s mom to run out and grab our bottle.
  • Bring Cash – They only accepted cash for the wristband (and I presume the food). An ATM is available, but I’m sure the fees are high.
  • 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. In past year’s we’ve made a ticket booth run when my daughter needed someone to ride with her.

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