Happy Anniversary, 2020 edition.

Updates:

  • 05-25-2020: Addition of the anniversary of the Main Street fire. 🙁

Happy 45th anniversary, Adventureland! Here is this year’s update to a list I originally did in 2017 and 2018… (Seems like I missed 2019.)

Using my Adventureland Timeline, I decided to compile a list of notable anniversaries happening in the park this year.

As always, information here may be inaccurate. Any corrections or additions would be appreciated.

5th Anniversary (opened in 2015)

10th Anniversary (opened in 2010)

  • Adventure Bay
  • Chuck Wagon Soda
  • Anniversary of the fire that destroyed have of Main Street (hat tip to Elizabeth Dunn Huether for mentioning this). The rebuilt Main Street re-opened for the 2011 season.

15th Anniversary (opened in 2005)

  • None known.

20th Anniversary (opened in 2000)

25th Anniversary (opened in 1995)

  • None known.

30th Anniversary (opened in 1990)

35th Anniversary (opened in 1985)

40th Anniversary (opened in 1980)

  • Kiddie Kars (Hampton Cars) – moved from Riverview Park.

45th Anniversary (opened in 1975)

  • Adventureland official grand opening – May 31, 1975!
  • Sky Ride

Dragon and Splash Over going away. Dragon Slayer coming.

The big for 2020 was when Adventureland post this on May 17, 2020 to their Facebook page:

Mary 17, 2020 Facebook teaser.

The image of a knight slaying a dragon immediately started speculation that something would be happening to the double-loop Dragon coaster.

Two days later, on May 19, the park posted an animated GIF that has the same image rotating in to view with the text “The Dragon Slayer” above it:

May 19, 2020 Facebook post.

Facebook group member Alec Rushford posted that SkyHigh Coasters LLC had reshared the teaser on their Facebook page, with Tag Gable following up with a post saying that they were the ones that did the build job on last year’s Phoenix roller coaster.

Also on May 19, local TV station KCCI posted an article that included drone footage of the Dragon being dismantled at the park:

https://www.kcci.com/article/adventureland-posts-another-clue-about-possible-future-ride/32600337#

On May 21, Joe Paul, a member of our Adventureland Iowa Fans (Unofficial) Facebook group posted a screen shot they took from the Facebook page of SkyHigh Coasters LLC showing the Splash Over being dismantled as well.

May 21, 2020 Facebook screen shot.

That post was quickly removed from the page, but said a zoomed photo taken off property confirms this was actually happening.

As of this posting, it looks like the park will have two rides less for the 2020 season, with something new to replace the Dragon next year. Nothing has been announced about a replacement for the Splash Over (though some have speculated maybe it is just being disassembled to be refurbished and will return).

More tidbits when we have them…

Adventureland review from 1998.

I used to write articles for a technology and amusement publication based in California. I just ran across this one that I submitted in 1998. I do not recall if it was published (I’ll have to find my print copies and see), but I thought it would be fun to share now that my publishing agreement is long expired.

This was before they had a website! Wild.


FAMILY OWNED FUN

While corporate America continues to turn more and more things into mass produced, pre-packaged commodities, independent theme parks still draw an audience.  Just outside of Des Moines, Iowa in Altoona sits Adventureland Park, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and still owned by the man who started it all back in 1973.  This park sports three roller costers, including The Outlaw, ranked as a Top-40 woodie.  Each year the park tries to add something new, such as high-tech carnival rides or, for the past two years, the rather nice travelling Royal Hanneford Circus.

You won’t find any multi-million dollar attractions here, but the prices are great (only $2 to park, and less than $20 to enter) and even the choice of food is unique.  How many theme parks have a sit down cafeteria with fried chicken, salads, burgers and Jell-O(tm)?  The theming is loosly an old West setting with a Main Streat (including train station) tribute to Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdoms.  The employees are overall quite young but do a decent job at keeping things going.  You won’t escape reality here, but you can spend an affordable day on rides and watching shows.  For a special treat, find the rather mature lady who is the queen of guessing ages and weight and try to stump her.  A fantastic assortment of merchandise is available with virtually every ride in the park on some sort of shirt, hat, or beach towl.  There is even a nearby Adventureland Inn and Campground for those wanting to take advantage of the reduced 2-day passport.

Adventureland has no official web site and, although the domain name is registered and being held, no plans are known to add one any time soon.  A few unofficial fan sites can be found on the net giving other insight on this park.

1998 Operating Season:

Mostly weekends in May and September, with full time operation in June, July, and August.  Open daily at 10 a.m.

1998 Prices:

Parking:  $3 / General Admission: $19.50 / Children 4-9: $18.00 / Children Under 3: Free / Seniors: $15.50

Park Information:  (800) 532-1286 or (515) 266-2126/2121. 

Adventureland shares construction photo of new Phoenix coaster

UPDATES:

  • 2019-04-12: Added WeAreIowa.com news store.

Over on the official Adventureland Facebook page, they shared a construction photo of the new Phoenix roller coaster:

The news was also covered by the local ABC TV Channel 5 website:

https://www.weareiowa.com/news/local-news/construction-underway-on-new-adventureland-coaster/1917705585?fbclid=IwAR1kaSS2P4V4MALPp_J2hdMGG-0suW5fN9PfB7p6wV7HJnr348N67Lbt6O8

This might explain why there was a sharp spike in activity to this blog yesterday. The top search results that people are looking for when they end up here are “maps” and “season pass” information. Frankly, I’m surprised they can even find this site buried in all the hundreds of travel sites that have Adventureland entries.

Welcome, new visitors! Be sure to check out my Adventureland Wiki for some neat park history.

Original ride area entrance and Der Flitzer location.

Recently several very old Adventureland post cards popped up on eBay that I had not seen before. One in particular showed “The Moat’ which was the original entrance to the ride area of the park. I knew that the location was the bridge at the end of Main Street, but I’d never seen a picture of what was there. I guess in my mind it was someone just taking tickets or something, but it was actually a ticket building of some sorts:

The Moat (entrance to the ride section of the park). Behind it: Der Flitzer.
Back of post card for “The Moat.”

I believe that is the original bridge that was still in the park in 2017, but was rebuilt between the end-of-season and that year’s Oktoberfest. If you notice, there is fencing along the left of the photo, which would have kept visitors from going past the end of the Main Street buildings.

Also, middle right of the photo are the old one-way exit turnstiles like the park used to have at the entrance. That would have been where ride visitors would have exited back to Main Street.

Behind it appears to be Der Flitzer. That roller coaster (originally called Rallye Racers) sits about where the Splash Over is today. This clears up something I’ve wondered about.

On the Roller Coaster Database entry for Der Flitzer, it says it was replaced by the Giant Sky Wheel.

The roller coaster was located in the “Alpine Village” section of the park and the Giant Skywheel (100′ tall Ferris Wheel) operates in its spot today.

– Roller Coaster Database entry for Der Flitzer

Apparently this is incorrect, since this post card shows it’s location further down, towards The Boulevard. Also, we found a photo of the Sky Ride that had the coater in the background, and the coaster in that picture matched the description of Rallye Racers. My wiki entry notes:

It was located somewhere around where Tea Cups is. This is based from seeing it in an old photo of the Sky Ride that was taken in 1975. It shows a coaster matching this description in the background. (Thanks to Johnathan C. for pointing this out.)

http://adventureland.parkhopping.com/wiki/index.php/Rallye_Racers

If Rallye Racers were there (down from the Tea Cups) and the post card shows Der Flitzer in the same location, then the notes about it being relocated may be incorrect.

Does anyone know if Rallye Racers was just rethemed and renamed in the same location to become Der Flitzer?

Fun stuff. I love these old post cards.

Bernie’s Barnyard rules

From photos posted in the Facebook group (most recently by Dee/Anna), it looks like Bernie’s Barnyard is either open, or will be opening soon. Here’s a look at the rules for the area:

Bernie’s Barnyard Rules

  • Adults must be accompanied by a child 60″ or less in this area
  • Children 12 years of age and younger should never be left unattended by a parent or guardian. Unattended children will be taken to Guest Information.
  • Photography and videography should be limited to your immediate group only. No general photography or videography is allowed in this area without the express consent of Adventureland Resort.
  • Shirt, shorts or pants and proper footware are required in this area at all times.
  • Please observe all posted signs and attendance instructions at all times.

As a parent of young child, I applaud the park’s efforts try to make this a “safe space” for kids. Back in 2011. the park began screening season pass applications through the Iowa sex offender registry.

At some point, I will want to contact the park’s media department and try to get some press photos to use for this new area in my wiki. Until then, parents, be sure to share your thoughts and opinions on the new area with me (and others) in the Facebook group, or drop my a note in e-mail. I’d love to share your reviews.

UPDATE:

Someone much smarter than myself looked at the rules and said “oh, so if you have a tall child that is 12 or younger, neither child or parent can go in.” I took another look, and indeed, that is what it says:

  • Adult must have a child 60″ or less.
  • Children 12 and under cannot be unattended.

If “unattended” means a parent/guardian must be in the area with the child, then, yes, if you had a 12 year old that was over 5′ tall, you couldn’t go in with that child, and the child couldn’t go in with you.

But really, it just means the child must be under 60″ tall and age 12 and under. If you are too old, or too tall, it’s not an area for you 🙂

American Puppet Theater asks for your vote…

The American Puppet Theater has asked for your vote in a poll conducted by Des Moines Parent website. (I have contributed content for them in the past, relating to local Halloween haunted house activities.) They would love it if you’d vote for them in the category of “Best Children’s Theater” or “Best Outdoor Entertainment”:

Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CZ5G955

Some categories you might consider:

18. Favorite Local Place for Children’s Outdoor Entertainment
66. Favorite Local Children’s Theater

American Puppet Theater at Advenutureland would fit in either spot, I think.

I’m sure the Little Adventurers would thank you for the support!

 

Airbrush Worx and The Gift Gallery open

in the last week, two new shops have opened on Main Street. Airbrush Worx replaces the former Airbrush Avenue, and next door, The Gift Gallery replaces Pine Valley Signs. I haven’t been to the park to check them out, and no details have been shared by Adventureland yet, so I don’t have much more to add.

The AdventureWiki has been updated with placeholder pages for these new retail locations:

http://adventureland.parkhopping.com/wiki/index.php/Airbrush_Worx

More to come…