Review of Jaycees Carnival

Again this year, we attended the Ann Arbor Jaycees Carnival. We attended on Saturday evening after dinner. We opted to buy our 4.5 year old a wristband for unlimited rides and skip individual tickets. The wristband was $20, single tickets were $1 each or 28 for $20. For a little while, we were not sure if my daughter would ride enough to make the cost of the wristband worth it, but then she got brave wanting to try the big rides.

I like the carnival layout because the games tents were in a single row so that it is easy to keep the kids away from them. The kids rides were in the back row of the carnival. My daughter started with a ride on the Crazy Sub by herself. Last year at 3.5, this was her favorite ride at the carnival. After riding it once with me last year, she rode it herself with our last set of tickets. After the Crazy Sub, she rode the kiddy rides: flying elephants, dizzy dragons, train, boats (without water), and helicopters.

After these, she decided to ride the Tornado. The tornado spins and had 8 arms with 4 hanging seats on each one. The riders in each set have the option to spin their car as it goes around. The ride has a 42″ height requirement and my daughter’s head just grazed the line. She was determined to ride by herself. When she got on, she found a 13 year old riding with her 6 year old brother and joined their car. My husband helped her in and made sure that the was strapped in tight. The poor 13 year old was the only one of the three who could reach the spinner, and she did a great job keeping them spinning. My daughter absolutely loved the ride. When asked today, she said that it was her favorite ride.

After loving the Tornado, she decided that she wanted to go on the Arctic Bobs. The free-swinging bobsleds go around in a circle up and down a hill moving both forwards and backwards. She was determined to go on the ride, in part because it took 4 tickets and she is 4. After watching the ride, we decided that she would be better off riding with an adult so my sister and husband both left to get tickets from different booths while my daughter and I stayed in line and let a few people in front of us to wait for them. She seemed to enjoy the ride while it moved forward and even the initial backwards ride until it started going to fast. She came off the riding saying “That was worser than Star Tours”. (She did not like the Star Tours ride at Disneyland in April).

After the poor experience on the Arctic Bobs, she returned to the Crazy Sub, the carousel, rode the Tilt A Whirl with me, and rode the Busy Bees. I was glad that she was not traumatized by her bad experience on the ride. If she is this brave at 4.5, I see many years of daring rides in our future.


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The fair was open most of the day Saturday. I ran into friends who had been there in the afternoon, bought all day passes, and then returned in the evening for a few more rides. That is a great way to get your value from the all day pass.

We had a great time at the carnival and are looking forward to returning next year.


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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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