2018 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Review

The Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival opened on Wednesday, June 20 and continues through Sunday, June 24 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.

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.

2018 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 2018 ride mix was relatively similar to the 2017 and 2016 ride mix.

Check out the Facebook Live Walkthrough video that I made at the Carnival:


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Live at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival. Thank you to the Jaycees for sponsoring our visit. Get the details: https://annarborwithkids.com/events/ann-arbor-jaycees-summer-carnival-4/


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Posted by Ann Arbor with Kids on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2018 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Rides

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.

Ride Height Tickets
Jungle Explorer 24″ minimum, 52″ maximum 3
Lil Scrambler 24″ minimum, 52″ maximum 3
Merry Go Round 24″ with adult, 36″ alone 3, 0 for standing adult
Tilt a Whirl 24″ with adult, 46″ alone 4
Motorcycles 36″ minimum, 56″ maximum 3
Space Chase 36″ minimum, 56″ maximum 3
The Spinner 36″ with adult, 42″ alone 3
Wacky Shack 36″ with adult, 44″ alone 4
Big Wheel 36″ with adult, 48″ alone – must be 2 riders 5
Swings 42″ minimum 4
Spider 42″ minimum 4
Alpine Bobs 42″ with adult, 48″ alone 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 6

Here’s the photo of the ride list from the front gate. The information from the table above was gathered at each ride.

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Ride List

Wristband and Ticket Prices

Ride Wristbands are $22 on Wednesday and Thursday. They are $25 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Ride Tickets are 4/$5 or 50/$50. Midway bucks can also be purchased at the gate for use at foods or games.

2018 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Review

My daughter had fun at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Festival. Her only disappointment was that she didn’t meet a friend. The past few years we have run into friends there. Next year, we’ll plan in advance to meet a friend there. 

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.

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.

Thrill Rides

At 12, my daughter is able to ride all of the thrill rides, but none of the kiddie rides. 

The Super Nova 360 returns for a third year, but is in a less prominent location. The previous two years, this was my daughter’s favorite, but this year she only rode it once.  Check out our video of SuperNova 360 at the 2016 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival.

My daughter love the Zipper, but only got to ride it once since she needed a partner. 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.

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. 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. You can catch a glimpse of them in our Carnival Highlights on Instagram.

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Alpine Bobs

Intermediate Rides

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

There is a new fun house this year – the Wacky Shack. My daughter said it was not much different than in the past. However, she thought some parts might be a bit more challenging.

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

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Cliff Hanger

My daughter’s favorite was the Scooter Bumper Cars. She rode it 3 times.

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Scooter Bumper Cars

Kiddie Rides

There were several rides for little kids at the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival. I accidentally left the merry go round out of my video, but it is available. This photo is from last year, since my photo this year did not turn out well.Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Merry Go Round

The Jungle Explorer is a cute little animal train ride.

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Jungle Explorer

This year there is not a kiddie coaster like there was last year.

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 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.

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. My daughter and I decided to have a snack at the carnival. I was advocating for cheese fries, but she wanted something sweet. We considered ice cream, but it was not that hot. We settled on sharing an Elephant Ear with apple topping. 

Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival - Elephant Ears

The elephant ear was good on it’s own. The apple topping was plentiful and thick. We actually found it to be almost too much. Next time I think we would skip the topping. 

2018 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival Schedule

The schedule for the 2018 Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival is below:

Wednesday, June 20 – 4:00pm-11:00pm – Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Thursday, June 21 – 4:00pm-11:00pm – Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Friday, June 22 – 4:00pm-11:00pm – Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Saturday, June 23 – 12:00pm-11:00pm – Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival
Sunday, June 24 – 12:00pm-9:00pm – Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival

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. 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.
  • If you are visiting on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, there is a chance of rain. I suggest bringing an umbrella or ponchos.
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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

Anna Mae

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