You could say that I've grown into a roller coaster aficionado. When I was a wee little one, my mother had to drag me on the coasters at Cedar Point while I was crying hysterically and begging not to go, while my sister, who's three years younger, walked onto The Raptor with zero reservations. Once I entered high school, the peer pressure was too much, and I eventually gave in to Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster, and the rest is history.
So imagine my excitement when I found out C.J. Barrymore's, the best place in Macomb County for an afternoon of fun for the whole family, was opening a roller coaster. It's a place for roller coaster junkies to get their fix in without having to drive two-plus hours to either Cedar Point or Michigan Adventure. It's not as intense of a coaster, but you do get to go upside down!
The coaster has been in the works for a couple years now, says C.J. Barrymore's owner Rick Iceberg. After opening a few weeks ago, the coaster has been in constant operation and people from all over metro Detroit are checking out this slice of coaster heaven.
The coaster was purchased from an amusement park on the Jersey Shore, Iceberg says. The parts were shipped to Clinton Township, the coaster received a new paint job, and the monster was assembled on-site. Clearly a place like Cedar Point is going to give thrill seekers more of a rush, but Iceberg says C.J.'s are not trying to compete with extreme roller coasters. This coaster is much more in the style of the classic boardwalk coaster, with a family fun feel. It's a perfect coaster to test out your willpower with before you hit the big leagues, with G forces and slight blackouts.
The first hill has the classic roller coaster clunk as you creep your way up to the top of the hill. Once you get there, you can see all of Hall Road, plus the entire grounds of C.J. Barrymore's. Go-kart tracks, bumper boats, a climbing wall, and mini golf are just a few of the attractions you can get a glimpse of. Once you plummet down that first hill, the speed really picks up, which was something I was not expecting for such a tiny coaster. There are a few hills that take you up and drop you, making you feel your stomach come up, and then the big loop sends you upside down, and all your roller coaster needs are satisfied.
As for the track itself, it is quite bumpy, but that's to be expected. This ride wasn't designed by state-of-the-art engineers who want the smoothest ride ever. This coaster is a little jerky in the style of boardwalk attractions. However, I did feel incredibly safe while riding. This is not one of the one-trick ponies that travels the country and is set up by deranged Carnies who are more interested on lighting their cigarette than making sure you aren't riding to your death. The structure looks incredibly safe, and Iceberg says they have mechanics who went to school to study coaster engineering and perform regular checks on its condition.
The coaster was insanely expensive to purchase, but the results have brought a bigger crowd to the site, Iceberg says. He plans on adding more attractions like this coaster to their roster in the next few years. C.J. Barrymore's is turning into a one-of-a-kind metro Detroit destination.
Not only does CJ Barrymore’s boast The Loop roller coaster — they have activities for the entire family. There are four different go-kart tracks that people can race on based on how comfortable they are driving said go-kart. If you want to cool down and piss off strangers with squirt guns, you can check out the bumper boats. Need some work on your short game? There is a fun and interactive 18-hole miniature golf course.
For sports fans, there are batting cages to work on our swing, a beautiful indoor and outdoor driving range, and bowling. There is a full arcade, laser tag that will keep you entertained for hours, and a full bar and food for late night cravings.
If you need more thrills after going upside down on the coaster, there is a water wars station where guests can launch water balloons across a field, a 32-foot rock climbing wall, and Euro Bungy — a trampoline of sorts that catapults you into the air so you can do multiple somersaults.
C.J. Barrymore’s, at 21750 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. Call 586-469-2800 or visit cjbarrymores.com for more information, and follow on Twitter @CJBarrymores, on Instagram @cj_barrymores, and like CJ Barrymore’s on Facebook.