The 2019 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival opened on Wednesday, June 19 and continues through Sunday, June 23 at Pioneer High School. The Ann Arbor Jaycees hosted us at the Carnival so we could check it out and report back to you.
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.
Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Warning
The Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival closed early on Friday, June 21 (around 9p). From comments on their Facebook page, it sounds like there were several fights. This was a problem about 10 years ago and they made some changes to help alleviate the issue – created a single entrance, a minimum purchase at night, no re-entry after a certain time. When we were there on Wednesday I did see police monitoring the carnival.
Our recommendation is to attend during daytime hours with younger children. I know as the parent of a young teen, I would not drop my daughter off at the carnival at night based on this history.
2019 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Walkthrough
The Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival includes rides, games, food, and other activities. For the fourth consecutive year, Skerbeck Entertainment provides the rides and games. This year featured a number of returning rides plus a couple of new ones.
Check out the Facebook Live Walkthrough video that I made at the Carnival:
2019 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Rides
New rides for 2019 are Top Gun and Fun Slide. Top Gun is the ultimate thrill ride. It is a large rotating arm with 4 seats on either side that spin. As the arm rotates the seats will also spin so you do go upside down. There were only a few brave takers on Wednesday afternoon including my daughter – her friend skipped the ride. It has been quite a few years since there was a Fun Slide at the carnival. It seemed to be a hit with kids over a wide range of ages. Gone for 2019 are the Alpine Bobs and the Spider.
Are you wondering about what your child will be able to ride? Or, if a ride wristband is a good choice for your family? Check out the list of rides with tickets and height requirements. All rides have a 24″ minimum height.
|Jungle Explorer||24″ minimum, 48″ maximum||3|
|Lil Scrambler||24″ minimum, 48″ maximum||3|
|Merry Go Round||36″ with adult, 36″ alone||3, 0 for standing adult|
|Motorcycles||36″ minimum, 48″ maximum||3|
|Flying Saucer||36″ minimum, 48″ maximum||3|
|The Spinner||36″ with adult, 42″ alone||3|
|Fun Slide||36″ with adult, 42″ alone||3|
|Wacky Shack||36″ with adult, 44″ alone||4|
|Tilt a Whirl||24″ with adult, 46″ alone||4|
|Big Wheel||36″ with adult, 48″ alone – must be 2 riders||5|
|Scooter (aka Bumper Cars)||42″ with adult, 48″ alone||4|
|Cliff Hanger||46″ minimum||4|
|Zipper||48″, must be 2 riders in car and 2 cars minimum||4|
|Twin Flip||52″ minimum||5|
|Super Nova 360||55″ minimum & 14 years old||6|
|Top Gun||55″ minimum & 14 years old||12 or wristband + 4 tickets|
As I was typing the list I was surprised to see the minimum 14 years for Super Nova 360 and Top Gun. I had not noticed the age limit while we were at the carnival. My 13 year old daughter has been on Super Nova in the past and rode Top Gun this year. She has never been asked her age.
Wristband and Ticket Prices
Ride Wristbands are $22 on Wednesday and Thursday. They are $25 on Friday and $27 on Saturday and Sunday. Ride Tickets are 4/$5 or 50/$50 with a minimum purchase of $10/person or $20/family. Midway bucks can also be purchased at the gate for use at foods or games.
They only take cash so be sure to stop at the ATM first. They do have an on-site ATM, but it’s fees will likely be higher than stopping at your own bank.
2019 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Review
My daughter had fun at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Festival. This year we planned ahead and brought a friend so she would have someone to go on the rides with.
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. The longest my daughter or her friend had to wait for any ride was for the previous ride to end.
We arrived at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival shortly after they opened at 4:15p and stayed until 6:15p. With minimal lines, it was the perfect amount of time.
At nearly 5’5″ and 13, my daughter is able to ride all of the thrill rides, but none of the kiddie rides.
Super Nova 360
The Super Nova 360 returns for a fourth year, but it is no longer the biggest thrill ride. Unfortunately it was not running while we were there, but I did see video of it running later in the evening. Check out our video of SuperNova 360 at the 2016 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival.
This year the prize for the biggest thrill ride goes to Top Gun. I couldn’t get it all in the frame of a picture or video. If you are taking tickets, it requires 12 tickets. Even with a wristband it still requires 4 tickets.
My daughter loves the Zipper, but only got to ride it once since she needed a partner and her friend was not up for it. It also requires a minimum of two occupied cars, so even a partner was not enough. As they were loading other cars, we found another kid looking for a partner and they were able to ride together.
The other thrill rides is Twin Flip. In the past my daughter has not been a fan, but she wanted to ride today.
There are a few ride options for kids (and adults) who don’t like the super thrill rides.
The Wacky Shack which made its debut in 2018 is back.
This year, the intermediate rides include: Cliff Hanger, Tilt-a-whirl, Swinger, Spinner and Scooter Bumper Cars.
The Bumper Cars were a hit with both my daughter and her friend.
There were several rides for little kids at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival. First is the Merry Go Round. Parents do not need tickets to stand with their child.
The Jungle Explorer is a cute little animal train ride.
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, face painting, or bungee bounce.
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.
Food at Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival
The food available at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is standard carnival food. For “entrees” there is hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken tenders, Italian Sausage. There are also sweet treats like Elephant Ears, and ice cream. I think I saw fried Oreos on a menu. We did not stop for food this year.
2019 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Schedule
The schedule for the 2019 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is below:
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 earlier in the week – $22/Wednesday/Thursday vs $25/Friday and $27/Saturday/Sunday)
- Bring Cash – They only accepted cash for the wristband or tickets. 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.
- Be sure to check the forecast for rain. Some rides will not operate in rain or wind.