Iowa's Adventureland Saturday 7/19

Associated parks:

Monday, July 21, 2003 5:27 PM
Flashback to last Thursday, I’m talking to my friend Melinda and it’s clear that she really needs a weekend away. Being the good friend I am, I suggest a day at an amusement park. ;) Adventureland seems like a good option since it’s one of the last new-to-me parks in the 6 hour drive range from home... So I get on Priceline Thursday night and find a room at the Des Moines Airport Sheraton for $35 (w00t!) and the plan is set. We head out Friday at about 5:30pm and make the looooong drive to Des Moines. Surprisingly, Iowa (at least the stretch from the Quad Cities to Des Moines) is less flat than Illinois. However, there’s still a whole lotta corn goin’ on, and some cows. Anyway...get to the hotel, check in, and then go in search
of a 24 hour restaurant...find a Perkins, have midnight breakfast, return to hotel, sneak into
jacuzzi/pool well after the official closing, enjoy a soak, get to sleep.

Saturday morning, got up and ready to go, found a Hy Vee grocery store and picked up
regular-time breakfast (fresh fruit and krispy kremes) and Adventureland discount coupons ($3 off). Follow messed up mapquest directions and wind up at some community park in downtown Des Moines...they do have a carousel though. Stop and consult map, and then head in the right direction. Arrived at Adventureland about 10:15am, pay $4 to park.

Bought our discounted tickets ($23) and headed enter under a tunnel (reminded me of Lake Compounce) and into an old fashioned town square. There’s a “CARROUSEL” in the center..yes, that’s how it’s spelled. The park is very clean and nicely landscaped. We headed right to the sky ride line (about 20 minutes already) and enjoyed the park’s touring band while we waited. The sky ride is ski-lift style and travels right through the tree tops and gives a great
view of the park. Hopped off on the far end and headed over the bridge to The Dragon and
The Outlaw. The bridge is narrow and gets really crowded with traffic and people stopping to feed the ducks and fish on either side. Went right to The Dragon...waited about 15 minutes, one train operation...headed out of the station and into a couple of little bunny hops, which hurt, a lot. Hooray, pain before the lift hill! Debate least painful head position on the way up the lift and decide to ride leaning slightly forward and looking down...through 2 consecutive vertical
loops with minimal headbanging thanks to defensive riding position, though I did have a
nano-second of “grey out” in the second loop...then into painful helix and figure eight. Exit through a room with about 9 funhouse mirrors...neat!!! The mirrors were so much fun I quickly forgot about the pain in my head and neck...bonus! I can’t stop laughing at my my friend finally drags me out by my nearly 6’ long arm and over to The Outlaw.

Waited about 25 minutes for The Outlaw and ended up with the front seat just by luck!
Adventureland doesn’t allow people to wait for special seats and they have an attendant point
people to open rows. The station and loading process is very neat and it. The
operator doing the announcements is a energetic older man who tells us that Outlaw is a “hands-up” ride and has us put our hands up; then he tells us we won’t dispatch until he hears a cowboy yell. Melinda and I “yeehaw” while the rest of the train “woohoos”...but he sends us out anyway. The ride is quick and twisty and fairly smooth...very little airtime in the front seat...and very short. It was unfortunately my only ride (the line was just too long later in the day) and it was so quick I can’t really recount it...but definitely rerideable.

Headed back over the crowded little bridge to The Tornado, wait about 20 minutes (one train
operation) and get assigned to the front seat again. The line was fairly long but moved
quick...these ride ops (many of whom were retirement aged men) were super efficient in loading and securing the helped a bit that there were only buzzbars (no seatbelts), I’m sure. The ride is absolutely WOW! Nothing fancy, just a traditional out-n-back, but very smooth and very fast with rediculous amounts of air in the front...awesome! And about 5 rides later that day, it secures a spot in my top ten wood.

Had lunch at the Iowa Cafe, fried chicken and sides served cafeteria style...spent about $7 for the meal and drink, and received a lot of food, and it was very tasty! Waited about 40 minutes for “The Underground” after lunch...a cute ride with nice theming, but definitely not thrilling, and only technically a coaster. Still, I’m glad we rode it. Did a couple of flats (long cycles) from their wide selection...then headed back to The Tornado, which had less than 5 minute waits thanks to a second train and major hustle by the crew. Took one ride in the backseat and was completely terrified getting yanked over the first hill...definitely felt like I was about to just tumble over the buzzbar.

It was way HOT in Iowa on Saturday and there were 3 nice water rides, but the lines were all at least an hour long, so Melinda and I decided to take a break and sit for a show (60s musical) then hit Tornado again and head out by 5pm and get an early start on the trip home.

This is a really impressive park...terrific rides, great value, good food, clean, no
smoking/swearing/groping teenagers in line, and friendly and efficient operations on a very hot, very crowded the same class as Holiday World and Lake Compounce. Definitely worth a trip to is in fact, Iowa’s number one tourist destination! Possibly Iowa’s only tourist destination, besides those bridges in Madison County...make the trip sometime, you’ll be glad you did.

Monday, July 21, 2003 9:28 PM
Nice TR Dawn! I've been really curious about checking out Adventureland. Now I just wish I could find another reason that would make me want to go to Iowa (those bridges just don't cut it!)

- Chris

I put the "D" in DDR.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003 6:12 AM
YAY! I live in Iowa and The Quad-Cities, and think Adventure Land is an awesome park, and agreed with everything you said- The Tornado is awesome, and in my top ten, and Dragon really hurts, bad. Usually later at night, when the crowds go away, a lot (can you tell this is mostly a family park) you can pick any seat- I got 5 rides in a row during the last 10 minutes of the day including the last ride, cause' the op let us stay in. You should have tried the Outlaw in the back row- amazing ejector air on the first drop. Glad you dropped in the a good dose of Iowa hospitality. Nice TR. :)

Questions, Comments, Complaints?

Tuesday, July 22, 2003 8:04 AM
I see comercials for AdventureLand here in Central Illinois all the time...never been shounds like it would be worth the trip though.

The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000.
Track Record: 62 coasters at 17 parks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003 3:01 PM
Mamoosh's avatar Great TR, Dawnster! Tornado does indeed rock and I'm glad you got to experience it.


A random Mooshter's Dawntionary listing: Giraffiti [n.] Vandalism spray painted very, very high.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003 3:17 PM
Great TR, Dawn. Glad you loved the place. My one and only visit (98) was sure great. Man Outlaw would be nice in my back yard!

- "I used to be in the audio/visual club, but I was kicked out because of my views on Vietnam........and I was stealing projectors" - Homer Simpson

Thursday, July 24, 2003 10:03 AM
nasai's avatar Just the fact that there is a good coaster anywhere near Iowa freaks me out. ;) I am sooooooooo jealous.

Nice TR, dawnathadead!
First Spinal Tap, THEN puppet show

Thursday, July 24, 2003 10:40 AM
I'm glad you had such a great time at my homepark. It really is a nice park, especially if you've never been there beofore. It's too bad you had to visit on a Saturday in the summer. Any other day of the week, lines are minimal except for the water rides. Like someone else said, the back seat is not to be missed on the Outlaw--much more exciting than the front. On the Tornado, it's a toss-up for me. The front has some serious air, but so does the back. It's much more difficult to choose your seat on the Tornado though, even when the lines are short. I've wished for years for them to redo the loading/queue procedure, but it's been the same since my first ride almost 20 years ago.
I'm glad you mentioned how the sky ride goes through the trees. To me, that's Adventureland's signature attraction. It's so neat how the trees are trimmed so they actually surround the sky ride's path both above and below the riders. It's very easy to grab some souvenirs with your feet if you know what I mean.
Glad you had a great time and please tell all your friends to make the trip sometime. Adventureland needs the business. Also, for those needing more reason to visit Iowa, don't forget we already have a second park (Arnold's Park) at Lake Okoboji with a pretty good woodie and Wild Escape is coming next summer.
-Matt in Iowa
Thursday, July 24, 2003 10:55 AM
I actually don't mind visiting a park on a Saturday in July. I think it's hard to really get the "vibe" of a park if it's empty on your first visit. Also, it gives you a sense of how well-managed a park.
Friday, July 25, 2003 1:41 PM
You make a good point there. It is good to see how a park operates on a fairly crowded day. For me, it's been a little depressing to see the park so empty the last several years. I hope you can come back soon and enjoy it again on a much less-crowded day and get in some power riding on the Outlaw (don't miss the back seat) and Tornado and check out our decent collection of water rides. That's cool you got to experience 2 train op on the Tornado. I haven't seen them run two trains on that woodie since the `80s. I didn't realize the park ever got crowded enough anymore to merit two train operation, as I haven't been there on a busy day in about 15 years. Also, in case you didn't know, they only have one train for the Dragon and the same for the Outlaw. I bring that up because you mentioned single train operation on the Dragon, but you probably noticed the lack of transfer track on both coasters anyway. :-)
-Matt in Iowa
Friday, July 25, 2003 5:04 PM
Anyone know a website with good pictures from this park?

It IS as bad as you think, and they ARE out to get you.

Sunday, July 27, 2003 1:33 PM
Matt-rest assured that the park was plenty busy last Saturday. And all the rooms at the on site hotel were sold out too! :)

Shy One-here you go:


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