Say you’re from Iowa without saying you’re from Iowa. One word: Adventureland. Since opening in 1974, the Hawkeye State’s largest amusement park has been a thrilling tradition for generations of families in the area with its 100+ rides, shows, and attractions.  

In its nearly 50 years, Adventureland Iowa’s offerings have grown to include a waterpark, an on-site resort hotel, a full-service campground, and much more. Read on to discover why Adventureland continues to be a premier destination for Midwestern family fun.

Fun for the Whole Family  

Looking for a place to bring the entire family? Look no further. From school kids to seniors, Adventureland offers entertainment for all ages, so everyone will have a blast.  

Younger guests will love the kid-friendly rides and live entertainment, such as singers, dancers, and circus performers. Thrill seekers will especially enjoy the park’s exhilarating newer rides, and theme park purists will appreciate classic offerings like its arcade and Giant Sky Wheel, one of the largest “open-gondola Ferris wheels” ever built.  

Want a more leisurely pace? Meander along Adventureland’s Disney-style Main Street and take in its shops. Find fab souvenirs at its toy and gift stores and sweet treats galore at its new candy shop, The Sweet Boutique.  

And because no one has time to get hangry, there are food options for everyone from foodies to finicky eaters. Fuel your fun with traditional fare like funnel cakes and staples like burgers and fries, as well as tacos and Asian cuisine.  

Best of all: The 175-room Adventureland Inn is on-site, so you can make a night or a weekend of it. Plus, the Inn offers amenities like indoor swimming pools, hot tubs, a swim-up bar, and a restaurant. Kids will love beating the heat at its Adventure Bay, which features 10+ attractions plus Iowa’s largest wave pool. 

If you’re more outdoorsy, check out the neighboring Adventureland Campground. This full-service campground with complete facilities includes electric hookups and modern showers and restrooms, so you’ll literally be a happy camper. 

Draken FallsFlying Viking

Adventureland Rides, Attractions, and Tickets  

With a mix of vintage-style rides like its oldest and most classic wooden roller coaster, the Tornado, and the rare indoor wooden coaster, the Underground, to its newer rides like the 4D Free Spin Dragonslayer and Draken Falls (the country’s second super flume ride), Adventureland’s offerings strike a balance between timeless and on-trend.  

Music lovers won’t want to miss Adventureland’s Summer Concert Series. Featuring national and local acts, the concerts take place every Friday and Saturday throughout June.  

Adventureland is open to guests from May through October. Whether you want to visit for one day, stay on-site for a weekend, or visit throughout the season, you can find ticket info on the park's website.  

No matter when you visit, you can skip the line with Adventureland’s new Speedy Pass. Including seven of its most popular rides, it’s conveniently available via smartphone. 

Know Before You Go 

Before you embark on your adventure to Adventureland in Des Moines, there are a few key tips and tricks to keep in mind for a seamless and enjoyable experience. First and foremost, check the weather forecast and dress accordingly, as the park offers a mix of water rides and thrilling attractions. Comfortable shoes are a must, as you'll likely be doing a fair amount of walking. 

To make the most of your day, consider arriving early to beat the crowds and take advantage of shorter lines for popular rides. Planning your itinerary in advance can help you prioritize must-see attractions and shows. Don't forget to download the Adventureland app for real-time updates on ride wait times and show schedules. 

Pack essentials such as sunscreen, hats, and reusable water bottles to stay hydrated throughout the day. While there are dining options within the park, bringing snacks can help keep energy levels up between meals. 

If you're traveling with family, take advantage of the height measurement stations near ride entrances to ensure everyone can enjoy age-appropriate attractions. Lastly, be sure to capture the memories by bringing a camera or smartphone for photos, and consider renting a locker for valuables. 

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