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.


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.