Adventureland Park

Like the Disney and Six Flags resorts, it can take days to fully enjoy the Adventureland Park located in the greater Des Moines metropolitan area in the suburb of Altoona. And, like Disney resorts, this Altoona amusement park is divided into several themed areas. Among these are an area with an Old West flavor, an Iowa farm, and a turn-of-the-century Main Street town. You can eat bratwurst at a German-themed Bavaria, or practice your target shooting at the Country Fair patterned after the midway games of state fairs. Enjoy blues and jazz at River City, inspired by the jazz culture of New Orleans.

This isn't the only Iowa amusement park, but it is the largest at 180 acres, and rivals the complete experience of the best similar theme parks in the country. It's also set on lovely park-like grounds with more than a hundred varieties of trees, shrubs, and flowers. The Altoona amusement park resort complex comes complete with its own resort inn boasting nearly 200 rooms and suites, two tropical courtyards, three large swimming pools, a bar, and family dining restaurant. Adventureland Park also has its own campground with tent camping sites and recreational vehicle hook ups. The campground has a playground, swimming pool, and baby pool.

There is free shuttle service between the park, the campground, and the inn. There are plenty of nearby Altoona hotels, and the Adventureland Amusement Park is within five miles of the capital city's many attractions and Des Moines hotels.

The Adventureland Amusement Park is a family-operated facility that first opened in 1975 with a few rather tame rides plus the famous Skyride from the 1974 Spokane World's Fair in Washington State. More attractions and rides were added every couple years, creating the Iowa amusement park that exists today, with more than 100 rides for small children, true thrill seekers, and everyone in between. There are wooden and steel roller coasters, train rides, old-fashioned carousels, a giant Ferris wheel, high G-force drop rides, among many others. There are even two areas set aside as large water parks.

For entertainment, there are a number of special events, shows, concerts, and music venues. The prestigious Royal Hanneford Circus, the second largest traveling circus in the United States, appears at Adventureland Amusement Park from May to September. This is a Big Top circus with trick horseback riding, wild tigers, tumblers, acrobats, trapeze and high wire acts, elephants, and clowns.

Admission, including season passes, is quite reasonable. There are minimum height requirements for the more daring rides. Strollers, wheelchairs, and personal lockers are available for rent. Among other facilities are a fire station and a first aid center. This Iowa amusement park is a smoke-free facility with a heavy emphasis on family oriented values and wholesome fun. While beer and wine are sold on the premises most days of the year, there are certain days that are alcohol free, in a partnership program with D.A.R.E. You will find that Adventureland Park has many dining venues, restaurants, and other food outlets to satisfy just about any taste. There are burgers, barbecues, and pizzas; sodas, cakes, and pastries; ice cream, cotton candy, and more.

While this Altoona amusement park can occupy you for days at a time, many visitors branch out to nearby attractions, including casinos and racetracks. Also nearby are the museums, science center, art center, and botanic gardens of Des Moines.

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