Tag Archives: family fun

Michigan’s Adventure, Muskegon, MI

Photo by Jeremy Thompson

The white-cap rushed in my direction. Just before it reached me I jumped and bobbed atop the wave as it swept past, then floated back down til I felt the ground beneath my feet and prepared for the next one. Another afternoon at a Lake Michigan beach? No, I was in the wave pool at Michigan’s Adventure.

Owned by Cedar Fair, proprietor of such well known amusement parks as Cedar Point and Great America, Michgan’s Adventure bills itself as two parks for the price of one. There’s the water park, Wildwater Adventure, and the amusement park with its exciting roller coasters, ferris wheel and spinning rides.

We started out our day in the water park. We had our choice of over a dozen body slides and inner tube slides, including my favorite, the Funnel of Fear. The kids spent some time in the splash pad area, Beach Party, with water guns, waterfalls, bridges and slides. The majority of our time, however, was spent floating in the lazy river or splashing about in one of the three wave pools of varying strength, which we all loved.

An extra $60 (as of summer 2012) bought us a private cabana: a tent with four shaded lounge chairs and a table with four chairs. You can have up to six people per cabana, so that works out to $10 a person. Seating at the waterpark is limited, and seating under one of the few umbrellas more limited still. My husband prefers to spend most of his time reading while the kids and I enjoy the waterpark, and the last time we went he scored one of the coveted shady spots beneath an umbrella, and soon found himself hemmed in on all sides by strangers. Loud, obnoxious strangers. The cabana was the perfect spot for him to relax and for the kids and I to rest in between slides and dips in the pools. We decided to go to Michigan’s Adventure on a whim, and called that morning to reserve a cabana. We were able to get the last one, but I advise calling in advance to be safe.

We left the waterpark for the amusement park, but waited to change out of our swimsuits until after we’d gone on a few of the wetter rides, like Grand Rapids and Adventure Falls. Adventure Falls ends with a white wall of water coming towards you, a splash so big that it not only soaks the people in the boat, but those standing on the bridge above as well.

Michigan’s Adventure has introduced new “Fast Lane” passes. For an extra fee, you’ll be able to use the special Fast Lane entrance to the ride, which leads right up to the boarding area. The pass is good for 14 of the amusement park rides, and includes several premium rides like Shivering Timbers and Thunderhawk, as well as less thrilling – but still fun – rides like Tilt-a-Whirl and bumper cars. My family took advantage of the Fast Lane passes and were pleasantly surprised to find that lines were almost non-existent in the Fast Lane – while regular riders waited an hour in the beating sun, we’d encounter maybe one other group ahead of us. Also, Fast Lane riders were allowed first pick of seats on some rides, so we could get those front row spots that the kids love. The ride operators seemed exceptionally courteous as well, which is always nice. These advantages came at a price though. The cost of the passes varies depending on the day and size of the group. For example, our party of four on a Saturday paid $40 each, on top of the cost of admission, but a couple would pay $50 per person. On Wednesday it would have been less, but then, the lines tend to be shorter on weekdays.

Michigan’s Adventure
4750 Whitehall Rd
Muskegon, MI, 49445
(231) 766-3377
www.miadventure.com

Lost City Laser Tag, Holland, MI


Take a break from the beach and head over to Lost City for a few games of laser tag.

Your group will be led into a prep group where you’ll be outfitted with a vest, headset and laser gun. A Lost City employee will review the rules and you’ll split into two teams, red and green. The play arena is dark, with low neon lighting and fast music. It’s split into two areas, one for each team, with plenty of places for players to hide while they shoot lasers at members of the opposing team. The headset alerts you when you’ve been hit, and after three hits you must recharge your gun at a charging station. At the end of the game you’re given a printout of your stats.

Lost City recommends groups of at least five people for laser tag, but I’ve seen them add smaller groups to a larger group that’s playing.

In addition to laser tag, Lost City offers an arcade where players earn tickets they can redeem for prizes, indoor glow-in-the-dark mini golf, miniature bowling and a snack bar.

Lost City is easy to get to, located off US 31 by the Star Theater cinema in the Holland Town Center Outlet Mall.

The Lost City Laser Tag
12330 James St.
Holland, MI 49424
616.396.6746
www.the-lostcity.com

Holland Aquatic Center, Holland, MI


When the weather outside is gloomy and gray, head to the Holland Aquatic Center for fun in the water.

Here you’ll find a variety  of swim facilities for all ages and skill levels. The little ones can romp around in the shallow Splash Zone, while bigger kids can head down the Yellow Streak Slide, climb the Saturn or test themselves on the Aqua Challenge obstacle course.  More serious swimmers can lane swim.

Please check the Holland Aquatic Center’s schedule for pool open hours. Daily admission for non-residents is $5.50 per person.

Holland Aquatic Center
550 Maple Avenue
Holland, MI 49423
616.393.7595
www.hollandaquaticcenter.org

Smaller Grand Haven Area Lake Michigan Beaches

While the Grand Haven State Park beach is by far the biggest and busiest beach in the Grand Haven area, there are other options. These beaches tend to be quieter than the State Park and are popular with families and seniors.

City Beach – This beach is adjacent to the Grand Haven State Park Beach. In fact, they look like one big beach. The parking lot is free, but fills up quickly so get there early in the day. Many find that the walkway down to the beach makes for a more pleasant experience slogging through hot, shifting sand. City beach has bathroom facilities, and the snack bar and pavilion at Grand Haven State Park is just a short walk away.

South Harbor Drive
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Kirk Park – Located south of Grand Haven along Lakeshore Drive, Kirk Park offers a beautiful beach, picnic shelters, grills, bathroom facilities and vending machines. Take a short walk along a wooded path and emerge at the top of a sand dune with the shining Lake Michigan waters stretching out before you. There is a parking charge.

9771 Lakeshore Avenue North
West Olive, MI 49460
http://www.miottawa.org/ParksVI/Parks/kirk.htm

North Beach – This Grand Haven area beach is found north of the US 31 drawbridge in Ferrysburg. It offers picnic tables and grills, vending machines, playground and bathroom facilities. There is a parking charge.

Directions: Located on Lake Michigan in the City of Ferrysburg approximately 2 miles north of the Grand Haven pier. From US 31, take the Ferrysburg exit and go west on 3rd Street to North Shore Drive. Turn west on North Shore Drive and travel about 2 miles to the park entrance.
http://www.miottawa.org/ParksVI/Parks/northbeach.htm

Rosy Mound Beach – Guests arrive at this Grand Haven beach after half an hour of hiking through woods, up and down dunes and staircases. It’s a pretty beach, but not a good choice if you’re lugging a packed cooler, two beach chairs, a few sand pails and floaties. There is a parking charge.

13925 Lakeshore Drive
Grand Haven, Michigan 49417
http://www.miottawa.org/ParksVI/Parks/rosymound.htm

Buchanan Beach – Townie beach. Tiny, no facilities, parking is along the side of the road, but hey, it’s free. This is a good option when the other beaches are full.

Directions: Take US 31 south of Grand Haven to Buchanan St. Head west on Buchanan St. until it dead ends at the beach.

Spring Lake Public Beach – This beach is not on Lake Michigan, but rather Spring Lake. Read more about it here.

Sand Sculpture Contest, Grand Haven, MI

Photo by Victoria Pickering

For more than 30 years Grand Haven’s visitors and residents have shown off their artistic skills at the beach during the Sand Sculpture Contest.

Participants can work alone or in teams of up to 15 people, depending on the category. They can pre-register by picking up a form at the Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce, requesting a form through email, or they can register at the event. Categories include family, crew, children and castle.

Registration begins at 9:00 AM. Artists have the two hour block between 10:00 and 12:00 to create their sand masterpieces, using no artificial supports. Entries are then judged on difficulty, theme and originality.  Non-participants can vote for their favorite sculpture for the people’s choice award.

The contest takes place at the city beach, NOT the adjacent state park beach.

The 2016 Sand Sculpture Contest takes place on Saturday, August 13.

Grand Haven Sand Sculpture Contest

Crazy Bounce, Holland, Michigan

Even if it’s a gray, rainy day on the lakeshore, there are plenty of ways to keep the little ones occupied. One favorite destination for my elementary school-aged children is Crazy Bounce, in Holland.

Crazy Bounce is filled with giant inflatables – the type usually found at school carnivals. There are inflatable obstacle courses, ball pits, bounce houses and several huge slides in fun shapes like tigers or ships. You can pay for one or two hours of play. Socks are required for everyone walking in the play area, but can be purchased at the front desk if you forget to bring them.

Parents can choose to play with their kids – at a discount – or just watch. I played when the kids were younger because they needed help maneuvering through the obstacle courses, but these days I sit on a bench against the wall and enjoy a good read, bobbing my head to the Kids Bop versions of recent tunes piped in overhead.

Crazy Bounce has party rooms, candy & drinks for purchase and a few arcade games. Those visiting Holland in the chilly months may find that Crazy Bounce is a great way to help cooped-up kids burn off some energy.

Contact Info:
Crazy Bounce
12255 Felch St
Holland, MI 49424
Phone: 616-399-8150
Toll Free: 877-399-8150

http://www.crazy-bounce.com/

Craig’s Cruisers – Holland, Muskegon and Silver Lake

Located in Holland, Muskegon and Silver Lake, Craig’s Cruisers has fun outdoor activities for a sunny afternoon of your Lake Michigan beach vacation, and plenty of video games indoors for a rainy day.

Visitors challenge one another on the 18-hole mini-golf course, where they play through mock caves, streams and waterfalls, depending on the location.

If you’ve got a need for speed, head over to the go-carts. Climb in and race around the curvy track, trying to stay ahead of the pack. Kids over 4 feet tall can ride by themselves, and kids under 4 feet tall but at least 3 years old can ride with an adult. Floor it if you dare!

Don a life preserver and climb into the circular bumper boats, always a favorite. You’ll operate the motor and steer the boat through the small pond with your hands. Thanks to a rubber ring around the outside, when you bump into another boat you’ll bounce right off.

The batting cages in Muskegon and Holland offer a choice of baseball and softball machines, and speeds from slow pitch up to 60 mph. Craig’s Cruisers has bats and helmets for players to use, or they can bring their own.

Inside there’s an arcade with games for all ages, like skeeball, video games and whack-a-mole, and players win tickets that they can trade in for various prizes. Hungry visitors can grab a slice of pizza and a pop at the snack bar.

Contact Info:
Holland
651 Chicago Dr.
Holland, MI 49423
Phone: 616-392-7300

Muskegon
1551 Pontaluna Road
Spring Lake, MI 49456
Phone: 231-798-4936

Silver Lake
8343 W. Hazel Road
Silver Lake, MI 49436
Phone: 231-873-2511

Website: http://craigscruisers.com/contact.asp