Family #Travel Review – Adventureland Park, Des Moines Iowa – #desmoines


One of the cool parts of being a parent is being able to share and recreate some of the favorite memories you have from childhood with your own family. Iowa natives our whole lives, my husband and I grew up regularly going to Adventureland theme park just outside of Des Moines, Iowa.

According to their website, Adventureland was first opened in August 1974, and there was no charge that summer to browse the shops on Main Street. The Palace Theater Show, “A Salute to Iowa Music,” could be seen for just $1.00.Guests were able to take a short walk from Main Street across a bridge, for admission, to the amusement park. A kiddy helicopter ride, carousel, “Jaunty Jeeps,” “Silly Silo,” “River Rapids,” and “Bavarian Scrambler” were among the first rides, and a trolley also took visitors on a short tour around the park. Adventureland’s first full season of operation began in 1975. The “Skyride” from the World’s Fair in Spokane, Washington, “Lady Luck,” and “Tilt o Whirl.” were added to the ride roster. The “Flitzer,” a small mountain-scene roller coaster was also built, and the stage at “Soda and Sounds” emerged with its first show.In 1977 construction began on Adventureland’s wooden thriller that opened on July 4, 1978. The Tornado was soon listed among the top ten wooden roller coasters in the world, and additional rides and attractions have been added regularly throughout the years.


In addition to rides, Adventureland is beautifully landscaped, and each season flowers, trees, and shrubs are added to enhance the landscape. Now over 100 varieties can be found in more than 10,000 individual plants throughout the park and new in 2010 Adventureland completed it’s new waterpark Adventure Bay.  It includes 20 waterslides, Iowa’s longest Lazy River, rental cabanas, a swimming pool with a swim up bar, kids splash pad, food and retail stands, an sand beach sun deck and more.


Our family loves Adventureland and we recently headed there for my birthday to celebrate and have some family fun. The weather was great, and since it’s still early in the season, the lines were short. It was great to have minimal crowds and the kids had a blast being able to ride many of the rides several times in a row without getting off. Traffic does usually pick up once school is out and the water park is open when the crowds get bigger and the wait times longer.


The water park is the new big attraction at Adventureland, but due to the popularity we haven’t been able to check it out yet. It’s not open yet for the year and the few times we’ve been to the park (when it’s been open)it the past it had met it’s capacity and we weren’t able to go in. Hopefully some of the new improvements they’re making for 2012 will help it accommodate more fans so we can enjoy it later this summer.


Adventureland is located off exit 142A of I-80, along U.S. Highway 65, near Altoona, just East of Des Moines. For more information on the park visit


How to Save While You’re There:

  • If you’re going multiple days, it might be to your benefit to buy a multi-day pass at the gate, or consider a season pass. We are season pass holders and it quickly pays for itself  if you’re going more than 2 or 3 times, especially since it includes parking.
  • Look for discounts coupons on season passes at Hy-Vee and Casey stores. Many banks and other organizations often also offer discounted tickets during the summer.
  • Watch Adventureland’s Facebook page, they’ve been running some great coupons
  • Children under 4 are free.
  • If you’re an Icee fan, buy a refillable mug for $6 and get refills for $3 all summer long

Disclosure: Admission for this park was paid at our own expenses, and no compensation was received. All opinions expressed are our own, although we did use coupons and get a really good deal!


  1. This looks like so much fun. I have a relative in Des Moines, Iowa and this would be a great place to go when we visit. Thanks for posting!

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