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Photo Trip Report: GCI Wooden's Iowan Adventure

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This past Sunday, we made the 4 hour trek down to the middle of Iowa to get to Adventureland! It’s no question that the main draw of the park is the newly installed Monster, a crazy infinity coaster mixed with Euro-fighter, but the park was so much more than that. They ran all of their flats for good, long cycles, the paths were shaded (HUGE plus, as it was pushing 90 degrees the day we went), and the staff was some of the best I’ve seen, but more on that later.


I will start this immediately with this disclaimer: I didn’t plan to write this trip report, so there aren’t many pictures in this. So, all I’ve got for you is a wall of text and a few of Monster pictures.


Well, after our long journey from Minnesota, we arrive at the park just a few minutes after opening and headed straight to Monster. As soon as we entered the gates, we momentarily found ourselves at Disneyland. After that, passed under the train tracks, and I quickly decided that the park was one of the prettiest I’ve seen as soon as we got to Main Street. The street is lined with beautiful shops (All reasonable priced, I saw some shirts for $6), and an arcade that I only went in because they put a Huss Breakdance inside (Awesome ride). After going through Main Street, we were greeted with plenty of shade along the pathways, and then we saw glimpses of that bright green track.



See, Disneyland ;)


When we arrived at Monster, we must’ve just beat the crowds, because when we came back, the queue was completely full. Probably waited about 20 minutes, not too bad. The station looks really nice from the outside, and the inside has a bunch of ceiling fans to keep it cool, it’s the little things that make these parks great. We boarded, pulled down are lap bars, and then pulled forward towards this massive tower. The lift engaged, and the we began by going straight up. It was then that I noticed the the backs are indeed angled backwards a little bit, because it felt like I was about to slip out the back thanks to the lap bars. The beyond vertical drop came next, making for a great start to a fantastic ride. Then the ride just continued to get weirder. I have no idea what that first element is, but it worked! I was thrown all over the place in that element thanks to the plethora of forces exerted onto me. This would be a trend for the rest of the ride. The train then headed towards what looked like a hill from the ride, and then quickly inverted into a dive loop. After the dive loop, we went through a loop, but a loop unlike the others, this one is slightly elongated so that you’re upside down for a really long time, and you actually get some weightlessness at the top. The train rushes into an overbanked curve and an airtime hill, the two most normal thing about this ride, and into what looked to be an immelman, but felt unlike any other immelman I’ve been on (Remember what I was saying about being thrown around?). It then went into a bit of track, that was banked to the point where it could be called an inversion. The train goes through this so slowly that it provides some nice hangtime. Into a corkscrew and a little airtime pop into the brakes. Adventureland has a hit on their hands with this ride. Not my favorite coaster, but it definitely had me thinking “What just happened” once it pulled into the brakes. I don’t rank my coasters, but it’s definitely up there!


After that, we decided to ride Storm Chaser. I’m a sucker for Windseekers, so I loved this thing. This is also where I noticed the awesome staff at this park, and that the park will actually have somewhat of a personality. All the employees at the park seemed to be enjoying their job, and it was nice to hear a calm voice saying “Alright, you can go ahead and take your seats now" instead of the typical "Oncoming riders, please step quickly but carefully into the train remembering to place any loose articles in the bins located across the station. We are not responsible for items lost or damaged on the ride and you accept full responsibility for items left in the bins. etc.". We noticed this both entering the ride, and when we were coming down the tower and when we about 15 feet above the ground they were telling us that we could unbuckle our seatbelts, so they could let us up immediately when we were on the ground. I was just thinking, this would never happen at a chain park. Why can’t more parks operate like this park does? About the ride, as I said, I love Windseekers, so this was naturally a hit with me. I prefered Cedar Point’s because the view of the lake and beach was beautful, but this was still a lot of fun. The smaller model really made the ride seem a lot faster, so that was interesting.


At this point, I felt that we needed to ride something weird and different, and what ride fits that description better than Underground? I purposely went into this park not knowing much about it, but I did learn that Underground was an “Interesting” ride, but didn’t quite know what to expect. They definitely win mystery points, with the queue actually being pretty awesome. All of the outdoor sections were shaded, the station (And actually the entire ride) was air conditioned, and the station was never over-crowded (In fact, they let in just enough people to fill one train at a time). I also think that there’s something up with that animatronic in the station, the mechanics of it’s mouth was so loud that you couldn’t hear the words he was saying, but that wasn’t a big deal. I’m not going to say much about the ride, because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but it was one of the most hilarious rides I’ve been on. I couldn’t follow the storyline on my first ride, but the second time sorta pieced it together, sorta… I really like that this ride exists, though. I love quirky attractions.



One of the quirkiest attractions I've been on.


Once we got off Underground, we headed over to the Skyride because Skyrides are amazing. This one is especially interesting because it goes directly through a couple of Monster’s inversions (I wonder how much trouble this caused Gerstlauer in the design and construction process). This one kept stopping in the middle of the ride for whatever reason, but that just meant more time on the Skyride.


My friend noticed that the park had a Top Spin by the name of Splash Over. I sat that one out because I think they look really uncomfortable, and I just don’t really see the appeal. But my friend seemed to really enjoy it.



Sorry Huss, just not for me.


Next up was Der Finger, the park’s paratrooper. It ran a good, long cycle, and it was made a little more interesting with incredibly competitive rock paper scissors battles. I really like Paratroopers, so I was happy to see one of them here.


We then headed over to the food court, passing by a closed Inverter. Decided to get the pulled pork which was surprisingly good for “park food”. I also noticed an amazing knock off Subway, the famed “Sub Land”.


Once we finished eating we crossed the lake, passing by the hundreds of fish fighting for food (Seriously, there are hundreds of fish that want you to feed them, and they’ll fight each other for the food). Once we were across, we decided to go for Dragon, a ride that I had personally been dreading because of all the reviews of it being one of the worst rides ever, but really it wasn’t that bad. It was weird that the roughest part of the ride was the pre-lift section (How does that even happen?), but the loops weren’t bad and were actually pretty forceful, and the figure 8 wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. I don’t see why this ride is almost unanimously hated when it really isn’t much worse than any Arrow. This ride also gave us a taste of “small park quirkiness” with the interesting “Mirror maze” exit.



Seriously, sometimes the fish were completely out of the water because they were climbing on top of each other. It's pretty ridiculous.


Next up was the frisbee, and I think I prefer the Giant frisbees, but this was still a lot of fun. There was some pretty strong forces, mixed in with some pops of airtime. I also noticed that the ride has a few thematic elements to make it fit into the western theme of the park. It’s a really good flat ride for a park of this size.



Despite the size, all Frisbees are really fun!


Now, apparently this park has a circus, so we popped in to take a peek, and saw a person climb into a small fish tank and a few people who were way too comfortable on a tightrope. It was an interesting experience, as I had never been inside the big top, and I actually enjoyed it! The people on the tightrope were fascinating and incredibly impressive.


After going to see the circus, we had coasters to ride! Took a ride on Outlaw, and it was an “alright” ride in the back, but it was a lot better in the front! Thanks to the buzz bars, I was able to come quite a ways out of my seat on some of the stronger moments of airtime. Not rough, either, just a really fun ride. One of the tamer CCI coasters I’ve experienced, though.



This is the only picture I got of Outlaw. I don't think I could've gotten farther away from the ride for that picture, sorry about that!


We then headed back towards the front of the park, and grabbed a ride on Lighthouse. This thing looks like it would be really amazing, with the arms that rise and fall pretty fast, but it just didn’t live up to it’s impressive appearance. It was spinning so fast that I didn’t really notice that the cars were changing elevation, and I had expected to get some air when it changed elevation, but it really just doesn’t seem to add to the ride experience, at all.


I really like S&S Doubleshot towers, so we made sure to ride this. It rides just like the others, has one really good moment of airtime at the top of the tower. Not much else to add here. Then we decided to try out the parks bumper cars, which I’m not gonna lie, were some of the worst bumper cars I’ve been on. It was weird that a park that runs their flats so well had such a tame set of bumper cars.



This is one of the taller single S&S towers, right? I really like these things,


After some bumper cars, we headed to Tornado, the last coaster we haven’t ridden yet, and it was a great classic coaster! It was pretty smooth for a nearly 40 year old wooden coaster. There really isn’t much else to say about it, just a really fun, classic wooden coaster.


I know that I rode G-Force, the Huss Breakdance inside the arcade building on Main Street, but I honestly can’t remember when. That ride had some fairly intense spinning, and is now one of my favorite spinning flat rides. Why aren’t these things more common? They’re tons of fun.


We spent the rest of the evening grabbing re-rides. I’m now going to drop a whole bunch of pictures of Monster, so enjoy! Thanks for reading!



Vertical lifts are a little more scary when you only have a lap bar!


The trains are really open, and you get thrown around quite a bit over every elements. Makes it feel a little more "Out of control" when there's nothing to lean against when the laterals push you to the side of the train.


The first drop is WAY beyond vertical! Very good way to kick off a ride!


This first inversion was really fun! Coming over the top, and then quickly twisting into an inversion.


After the dive loop, you get thrown into a vertical loop featuring 0-G's. It felt like you spent a long time up-side down, but it was never uncomfortable. It felt like perfect weightlessness.


This is such a photogenic coaster, I love it.


These people all just experienced a very, very weird overbank/inversion (It's banked far enough where some people may consider it an inversion).


I have no idea how they thought of this element. It's so wrong that it's amazing.


The two newest rides at Adventureland.


Thanks for the fantastic day, Adventureland!

Edited by GCI Wooden
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Thanks for the great trip report! I had the opportunity to visit this park about 12 years ago and had a great time. I was enchanted by the quaintness of the park and friendliness of the staff. Can't wait to get back!

Thanks for reading!


The atmosphere of the park is quite "quaint", and a nice change after visiting all corporate parks this year.

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Nice Trip report! Just a quick question, on average how many trains does monster run?

It was running 2 the entire time we were there, but I'm pretty sure that they have a third.


It was also pretty empty the day we were there. We walked on to most rides, except for Monster and Underground (For some reason).


Great report, I wish I could get out to the US some time and do smaller parks like this one.






and sorry to be a nitpicking a$$hat but the topspin isn't a HUSS it's a Moser

Thanks! Small parks are awesome, and if you're on a trip they really help breaking up drive times between the huge parks.


I also didn't know that Moser made Top Spins. Thanks for pointing that out.

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