Adventureland Des Moines, IA - 6/3/01

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Tuesday, June 5, 2001 10:12 PM
I was in Des Moines this weekend on business, so I decided to hit up their small park, Adventureland.

I wasn't too impressed by the park. Sure, it's nice and clean, well maintained, fairly priced, etc...but when it comes to thrill rides, don't expect much more then your average carnival.

They have 4 coasters, but only one is any good - The Outlaw, a 67' tall, 48 mph CCI woodie built in 1993 (CCI's second ever coaster from what I understand !). Although small, this was a pleasure to ride. It's a twister...all it's drops are banked. The PTC trains have a single lapbar and seatbelt, so you can still get some decent airtime. It's obviously not the best woodie I've ridden, but it shines compared to the other coasters at this park. Best of all - no brakes on the entire ride !!! It's short, but sweet. :)

Their other woodie is called the Tornado. I thought it had potential, but it pretty much sucked. A simple out and back, with a pretty unsteep first hill and, if I'm not mistaken, they BRAKED you as you went down it !!! Horrible ! :( To add injury to insult, I did get some airtime later in the ride, but I kept coming down on the seat divider ! Not fun. Get rid of the seat dividers and the brake and it could be pretty good.

The Dragon is their steel looper. Also, short (really short !), it features 2 loops and 2 helixes. Again, the first drop was not steep at all. The ride was somewhat rough, although I suspect that is due to the apparent lack of maintenance on the trains, as you could plainly see that the wheels were highly worn. The Helixes were nice...at least it ended on a somewhat good note.

Their 4th coaster is a dark ride called The Underground. Everyone I talked to in Des Moines said it sucks. The line was longer than any other coaster there, and was mostly little kids. Based on the above information, I skipped this one.

They have a S&S Space Shot. Not sure on the height, but it looked like about 150'. It was a single tower model. While not as thrilling to me as an Intamin Giant Drop, it is still a good addition to the park. Other than the Outlaw, it was the only ride there worth riding more then once.

The only other 2 rides worth mentioning are the Mixer, and the Inverter. They are both carnival style rides which turn you upside down. They have potential, but are still pretty boring in my opinion. The problem - they aren't fast enough. What fun is being upside down if you are going slow ? I can do that by hanging by my knees on a jungle gym.

The lines were pretty short, even though the parking lot was almost full. That is one good thing I can say about the place. Overall if you are looking for thrill rides, this park is almost worthless. The Outlaw is a great ride, but is it worth the $24 admission alone ? The Space Shot is fun, but there are better launched/freefall rides out there (as this is a smaller one).

If you are looking for a family park - someplace to take the kids - then it is ok. But don't expect your kids to become coaster fanatics from riding the coasters there - if the Tornado and Dragon were the only coasters I'd ever ridden, I don't think I'd like coasters ! Stick with The Outlaw...the kids will probably be less afraid of it anyhow, since it's smaller, and at least they'll be treated to a quality ride.

You'd be much better off making the drive from Des Moines to Worlds of Fun or Valley Fair if you are looking for -good- thrill rides (and you'd still be better off going to SFStL or SFGAm in that case).

Oh yeah...one more thing...it -really- pssd me off that they didn't have any vegetarian friendly food other than french fries and funnel cakes. Not even plain cheese pizza !!! The prices were fair, especially for a theme park, but the selection was the worst I've seen anywhere. I understand that this is central Iowa, so I'm not expecting falafel & hummus or Gardenburgers (although it's funny, 'cause those all have soybeans in them, one of Iowa's main crops) - however there are plenty of non-meat items that fit into the Iowa/farm atmosphere...potatoes, corn, biscuts, etc...whatever. Anything but hotdogs, fried chicken & burgers. Even their "mexican" options all had meat. I couldn't even find any pasta ! :(

If they improved their food and added at least one more GOOD coaster (a bigger CCI or even the smallest B&M) it would do wonders for this park. I might even consider visiting it again.

Maybe my expectations were too high - I suppose I believed that any coaster is better than no coasters...but believe it or not, I probably would have enjoyed myself more if all they had was The Outlaw.

*** This post was edited by Joe Carroll on 6/6/2001. ***
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