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Photo TR: Adventureland


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Adventureland is a park that doesn't get talked about enough in enthusiast circles. I never really gave it much thought since it is over 8 hours away from me in the middle of Iowa, but after the addition of Monster I decided to make plans to check it out. This park blew me away. I thought it was just going to be a generic amusement park with a few coasters, but it turned out to be a really enjoyable experience from start to finish. This park seems like it is the Knoebel's of the Midwest. (I'll be able to make a more definite comparison next month when I finally make it to Knoebel's)

 

Adventureland has a really under-rated lineup of flat rides and coasters, a surprisingly nice set of bars, and really interesting operations. What seems to make all the difference with the operations is that unlike the big corporate parks, nearly all of Adventureland is run by older adults. I'm sure a lot of them have been there a long time too, and they all have a certain air of knowing exactly what they are doing and how to keep things running smoothly with a fun but no BS attitude. What is really strange though is the attitude towards loose articles. Most parks are going to higher and higher extremes to keep loose articles off rides, but not Adventureland. This is perhaps the last park in the country that will not just let you, but in some cases tell you to take a backpack or purse with you on a roller coaster. They do have personal item bins in most places, but oddly not in The Outlaw or Underground stations, so they tell you to just hold on to your stuff real tight. This combined with the lack of station gates in a couple of the coaster stations really takes you back to simpler times.

 

I also have to say how much I appreciate their fair food prices and reasonable quality. The bratwursts were pretty good, cookies and milk were brilliant, and several other food choices looked good at normal prices. You can even get ice cream treats for like $2! Big difference compared to WOF the day before where I felt repeatedly ripped off by things like a $6 ice cream cone that was literally 2 bites of ice cream. Only thing I have to complain about food-wise was the well overdone hamburger I got later on, but I'm sure it was on the warming rack for too long. I recommend staying with the bratwursts at the Oktoberfest restaurant/bar. The tap line at that place is better than most of the bars around me! apparently they have an awesome distributor that is one of the few licensed to distribute authentic German Oktoberfest beers.

 

The park's town square style entrance plaza is really nice. A lot of places would make it super cheesy and have a lot of false facades, but this one is full of restaurants, shops, a bingo parlor, and even a HUSS Break dance tucked inside an arcade! It's just a super nice setting as you walk into the park and it's the first sign that this park does so many little and big things right.

 

The Underground was the first coaster I rode. I knew very little about it other than the fact that it is an enclosed coaster, but I absolutely loved it. I'm a big fan of kitschy, classic, and oddball rides and this is all three. For the uninitiated, The Underground is a custom wooden roller coaster that is built above ground but entirely enclosed with tunnels and small buildings. There are scenes, animatronics, and even a waterfall that you go past at a decent clip despite the lack of any actual drops. Two chain lifts throughout the course lift the train up enough for it to coast around at a slight incline. Funny story: I was going to ride it again at the end of the day, but as we are waiting at the gates we hear the train rush past on the other side not once, not twice, but three times. We assumed it was either a joke or the operators having fun with that batch of riders, but nope! They were actually stuck on the ride! They made us leave while they figured out how to stop the train! Personally I would have loved to be stuck on that ride for a few ERT trips.

 

Next was the classic Tornado, which I again fell in love with. Classic out and back woodies are my favorite and I will ride the crap out of them no matter the condition. This one is a bit bumpy, but compared to many it is riding pretty well! Even better is the fact that they still use the original squeeze breaks, and the trains have single lap bars! Also of note is the fact that there are no station gates! It's a true old school ride!

 

The Dragon is kind of meh, but it's fun enough. It's basically just two loops and a figure 8, but the first half of the figure 8 is actually pretty forcefull and includes a highbanked low to the ground turn that gives some nice G-forces. Not much to write home about but worth a few rides.

 

The Outlaw was kind of a disappointment. It's small, short, and rough. I love my wooden coasters, but this one is probably at the bottom of the list. I just didn't see the point in it, and it feels like it is the red-headed stepchild of this park. This ride needs a refurb of some nature to bring some value back to it. GCII or even RMC with a light treatment of new track and a slight reprofile would be great.

 

Monster is a fun ride. It has a great length to it compared to other rides of this nature. It feels like going through a dozen loops even though you only go upside down five times. The open restrains and smooth ride make it a lot of fun. Only downside is the low capacity. This was the only ride in the park to have a decent line on this calm hot Saturday when nearly everyone was in the water park. RCDB says they have three cars, they were only running two, and with the speed of their typical operations adding the third car wouldn't make much difference. Not an issue for now really, but I hope they can expand the station somehow in the future so two cars can be loaded at once like Mystery Mine.

 

The impressive flat ride lineup includes a shot tower, top spin style ride, mondial windseeker, a falling star, a frisbee style ride, a huss breakdance, and such classics as a paratrooper, tiltawhirl, and pirate ship. Perhaps the non coaster ride I enjoyed the most though was the classic sky ride that goes right through the Monster. There is definitely a lack of water rides now with both the river rapids and log rides gone, but they do have a great water park that they have just built in.

 

So all-in-all, I'm a fan! I'd love to make it back here again as soon as possible, I just need them to build a train from Tulsa to Des Moines or something...

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Cute train station as you enter the park.

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Not a filter, my camera just bugs out from time to time like this. This place feels like an old post card though.

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I kind of loved this old animatronic in the station of Underground. It was creepy because the voice is gone, but she still looks around and moves her mouth with a bizarrely loud chattering sound.

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Corn and coasters!

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No need to yell at kids for messing with the gates here.

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Look at these decent prices.

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I love the wooded park setting on this side of the park.

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That's the Oktoberfest restaurant/bar! Worth stopping for!

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I didn't ride this because there are no loose article bins and I'm sure it rips stuff out of pockets - but it looked awesome!

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I was looking for an ice cream stand, but cookies and milk is even better! This place literally serves cookies and milk! They make cookies by the hundreds and sell them by either the cup or bucket full!

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This looks like it was taken in the 80's, but my phone camera just sucks.

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This frisbee ride was actually one of the better variants.

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Beautiful end to a beautiful day

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How many parks have a bingo parlor still? I forgot about this until I was leaving, but I should have played. This is straight out of 1940!

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I'm so excited to see what the future holds for this place. It won't take much to bring me back, no matter the distance!

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Great report! I've always heard good things about Adventureland but it's a bit out of the way for me.

 

I didn't realize the Sky Ride went right through the Monster. That must give some really interesting viewing angles.

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Great report! I loved Adventureland when we visited last year. There's so much there that most parks don't offer, and I'm glad you pointed out all the little things that set it apart. It is rather isolated, but anyone who's anywhere in the area should make a point to visit. It really is that good.

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Adventureland is one of the friendliest parks I've ever visited--right down to the "little old lady" ride op who called everyone "honey" or "dearie." It is a "hidden gem."

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This park was a lot of fun. Super friendly and a place where you can have a leisurely day. Even being stuck on the inverter that overshot the platform for 15 minutes with legs crushing under the restraint was ok while talking to the nice older gentleman running the ride lol. Love the classic ride collection the park has.

 

Nice pics and review.

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It's always great to read positive comments about my little home park.

 

The Monster's capacity should be pretty high. It is able to dispatch 8 riders every 58 seconds, though that may be slower this season. They had to slow down the lift hill a bit last year, and I am not sure what that did to the capacity. (The park called it 500 per hour in opening articles.)

 

I spent a ton of time watching that ride last year (recording different angels for a multi-cam YouTube video I posted), and capacity was the same with two or three cars -- the only slowdown is when folks can't load/unload as fast.

 

Did you get to see the light show at night? The Monster has an epic light show. It, Space Shot, Storm Chaser and the Giant Sky Wheel all have fancy RGB LED lights on them.

 

Monster infopage: http://adventureland.parkhopping.com/wiki/index.php/Monster

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I love Adventureland! And my Papa really likes it, too. We went back in 2015 and it is still his favorite amusement park! He said it had classic charm that reminded him of when he took my mom and uncle John to amusement parks when they were small. Adventureland is definitely one of the most beautiful parks in the country!

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There is definitely a lack of water rides now with both the river rapids and log rides gone, but they do have a great water park that they have just built in.

 

The park still has both the rapids ride and another raft slide listed on the website. Has that just not been updated yet? But great photos, and your report makes me all the more interested in visiting this park.

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I visited that park during a theme park tour back in 2009 and found that park to be enjoyable. I was surprised by the fact that many of the ride operators were older than I was when all the other parks would have ride operators still in high school and college. That mean green machine wasn't there, but the old log flume was and I'm thinking that former log flume site is where the Monster now lurks. If you are able to travel out to Iowa, then this park is a must-visit.

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