Altoona Stories and Tips

Adventureland Amusement Park

The Outlaw Photo, Des Moines, Iowa

With the nearest Great America Amusement Park some 200 miles away down in the Kansas City area, Des Moines’ Adventureland fits the bill for the under 14 crowd! I say the under 14 crowd because the rides at Adventureland are tame in comparison to the twisting, turning, and inverted roller coasters that have become a mainstay at most of the Six Flags venues. Six Flags Great Adventure near the Wisconsin-Illinois border, as an example, has 11 high speed coasters that satiate even the most veteran thrill seekers. Of course, the admission prices reflect the vast array of rides at $39.99! Here at Adventureland, there are two coasters... the Outlaw and the Tornado.

While Adventureland advertises "over 100 rides, shows and attractions" that is a bit of an exaggeration if you consider that some of the "attractions" are the carnival type activities that cost extra money to throw balls or rings in hopes of winning a stuffed animal or some other prize. As you walk through the park, a family can easily take in all of the age-appropriate rides in approximately a six hour visit.

With a nine-year old staying with us for several weeks, we were not at a loss for things to do with him. Unfortunately, we waited until late in his visit to go to Adventureland, which left us with little options when the dog days of summer arrived in early August. Thankfully, there are two water rides that will serve the purpose of an immediate cool-down, even if they do require a 45 minute wait on line for the two minute ride. By far, Logan’s favorite was the Sawmill Splash which is the popular tube like raft ride that takes riders up a tall climb to be dropped through the splash zone leaving all boat occupants drenched to the skin. Not an unwelcome "surprise" when it is 95 degrees outside!!!

During our visit, Logan wanted to do several of the rides twice including the Dodge ‘em Cars and River Rapids Log Ride (shorter line than the Sawmill Splash). Admittedly, the heat took its toll on us, making the five hour visit plenty of time to enjoy the park and feel like we’ve taken in as much as we wanted to get our money’s worth.

There are also a lot of rides that cater to younger guests, under the age of eight including "kiddie" bumper cars. Slow, low altitude rides tame enough for even first time riders include Balloon Race, Red Baron Airplanes and Lady Bugs.

If food and beverages are high on your list of "must haves" you will not be disappointed in the assortment of dining opportunities in the park. We stopped by the "Soda n Sounds" for burgers and light entertainment. Don’t expect Disney quality here in America’s Heartland . . . but it wasn’t terrible. If you want something other than burgers and fries, there are also fried chicken, hot dogs, pizza, and deli type sandwiches at other dining locations. While in Iowa, you must of course have an ear of fresh roasted corn on the cob. And if you have a sweet tooth, it would not be an amusement park without cotton candy, dippin dots, funnel cake, and ice cream cones. There is not a shortage of places to eat . . . I promise! Prices are not as high as you may expect, especially if you’ve been to Disney or Universal Studios recently.

Adjacent to the amusement park is a hotel and campground facility making a vacation trip to Adventureland convenient and affordable. More information can be found on the Adventureland Amusement Park website.

Adventureland Amusement Park
Altoona, Iowa (approximately 5 miles east of Des Moines on I80)
(800) 532-1286

Ticket prices: $29 for everyone ages 10-64
$25 for those under 10 and over 64

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