Facebook group member Dee/Anna recently noticed that the sign over the entrance has been altered. It now adds fireworks to the list of prohibited items to bring in to the park (along with drones and selfie sticks). This popped up just before July 4th, and with this being the first year that fireworks were legal in Iowa, perhaps they were expecting to have issues with people bringing smoke bombs and bottle rockets in to the park 😉
Today, she posted about a new restriction at the park in regards to the thrill rides: If you have a prosthetic or amputated limb, you may not be able to ride certain rides in the park or water park:
Adventureland continued to work on the park between the first few opening weekends, and before the park went to daily operation starting the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
The Chicken Shack new has new metal rails for folks to go through to pick up food and end up at the register.
Petunia Pig received a new lane sign noting it’s new bacon popcorn and 1/4 pound bacon on a stick.
The following weekend, a second tall sign for the bacon on a stick appeared.
In Outlaw Gulch, the food location that opened last year (moving next door from the old Saloon location) finally has a menu sign in the lane which lists an official name: Gulch Food. Fish sandwiches were added this year, too.
Flowers have appeared around the small pond in Iowa Farm near Petunia Pig, with more added the next weekend.
The area in front of the Giant Sky Wheel that had trees last year (cut down just before Oktoberfest) now has a beautiful flower bed and flag poles. The flags start with the United States of America flag, then various military flags. For Memorial Day Weekend, the park held a group photo of Adventureland employees with current or former military service. The Giant Sky Wheel also displayed a patriotic red, white and blue light pattern.
More more to come… Check back for updates and photos.
Updated 5/28/2017 with more photos (some taken after this article was originally posted, showing things added since then).
Adventureland was scheduled to open the weekend of April 28-29, 2017, but heavy rainfall and cold temperatures caused them to postpone. The park opened to great weather on the weekend of May 5-6.
Here is a quick look at some of the “new for 2017” changes we noticed…
Paint and Signage
The staff has been busy, with many areas of the park showing new paint, new signs, and other general improvements. Even the parking lot has areas of new painted stripes and curbs. Professor Bellows‘ sign looks like it is brand new, but a worker there says it was just cleaned up.
Saw Mill Splash has a freshly painted sign, and SideWinder‘s “you must be this tall” sign is new as well.
The walkway sign promoting the Ben Ulin Magic Show is different from last year (and quite colorful).
Overall, many menu signs have been swapped out to feature new items (and prices) for this year. During 2016, a few items were added to Rally Round, for instance, and those items now have a permanent place on the menu board rather than just a sign in the window.
LCD monitors started appearing last year acting as menu boards at various food locations. The trend continues this season.
Outside monitors have been added to the Main Street Theater and the various picnic areas. They replace all the old paper signs that would be put up when the locations were rented for special events. They look very nice.
The Bier Garten gained two new LCD screens inside, too, with one showing the menu and the other playing sports video.
Over at the Iowa Beer and Wine Shop, the seating area is now under a new barn-shaped permanent tent, similar to the cover at the Bier Garten. A member of our Facebook group considers this to be a nice “spit shelter” since the area sits under the tall Storm Chaser ride.
The River City Abita Bar (added in 2015) is now the Corona Cantina. It offers a much larger selection of drinks, including a larger range of frozen drinks that start out non-alcoholic with shots added. This now allows kids to get the frozen virgin drinks at this location. Pina Colada and a few other flavors are now available that were previously only obtainable down at the Sand Bar in the water park. The Louisiana beers seem to be no more.
Over at ICEE Mix-It-Up, down from Sheriff Sam’s Saloon, they now offer alcohol shots for the ICEE drinks. This was offered during Oktoberfest, and will likely be even more popular during hot summer months at the park.
The park has added at least three new chefs, and it shows. Iowa Cafe continues to serve house made mashed potatoes and great fried chicken, but the baked beans got a total overhaul. Some report having them loaded with bacon, and others say it was more like brisket meat chunks. Perhaps they are still experimenting with the recipes, but all report that the beans are fantastic.
The Gyro shop received a huge update and expansion and now has an order window and a pick up window. New menu items include fancier gyros, baklava (honey pastry – try if you like honey), Greek salads and more.
Around the corner, new signage at Subland is in use, with numbered sandwich choices rather than the “fill out what you want” sheets.
Taco Villa has a new burrito bowl, and I am told the tacos are also fancier.
River City Smoke Shack has now been repainted and is a Spectators Sports Bar and Grill location, matching the logo and name of the restaurant at the Adventureland Inn. The location still serves funnel cakes from the left side, and barbecue from the right side, but the meat is now cooked at the restaurant and brought over. They have added new meats, and the BBQ sauce is the house-made sauce from Spectators – something you won’t find at any other theme park. The funnel cakes also feature a “funnel cake of the week (? month ?)”.
Dippin’ Dots now has “sundaes.”
There are likely many other food changes within the park yet to be discovered and reported, so if you see something new, let us know.
This is just a quick look at some of the changes notice last Sunday, but it is clear that the staff is focusing on improving the park in all areas — not just multi-million dollar roller coasters like the Monster last year.
More to come…
Check out some photos from 2017, incuding photos of many of these new items, here:
Adventureland Park opens this year on April 29, 2017. Members of my Adventureland Iowa Fans (Unofficial) Facebook group have been sharing photos of things being tested at the park lately, such as the Storm Chaser and work being done on the Tornado. If you have anything to share, and you do the whole Facebook thing, please drop by.
After the 2016 season ended, I moved on to other Fall/Winter projects so I have not done (m)any updates to this site. There is often something new posted to the Facebook group, however.
I expect to start sharing new information as I hear it, so subscribe to updates here and check back as opening day approaches.
I have not seen anything details on how well the park did last year with the opening of the new Monster roller coaster, but it is usually a trend that a major addition creates a nice attendance bump over subsequent years as more and more folks hear about it and return to the park to try it out. The Monster opened in June last year, so the “gotta go see it” crowd was moved to the last 2/3rds of the season. This year, the new attraction will be there opening day so it could provide a stronger opening May.
The park continues to impress me with how well it has scaled to handle the crowds during peak events such as The Monster opening, July 4th, and Oktoberfest. (Especially Oktoberfest, when they’d lost many of their seasonal RV campsite workers when the park closes and they moved on to their next stop.)
I don’t have a pass for this year (yet) but I expect to make it out to see what all is new.
Apparently, about a month ago the Space Shot spotlights were reprogrammed. They are now doing a blended color change, where lights on two sides are one c0lor, and on the other two sides a different color. It seems to go through many more colors than it originally did when it was just cycling through primary colors. Around July 4th, it was just doing red, white and blue.
According to a poster in my Facebook group, The Monster debuted a new lighting program recently. I saw it running on Saturday night and it caught my eye because some of the ground lights were flashing. It seems to stop the heartbeat read lights on the tower sooner, and does more things with the ground lights than the original program. I’m not quite sure I like it yet, but I expect it will grow on me as I see it more. That’s certainly a lot more going on. The programmers have certainly been learning more things they can do with the lights since the ride opened on June 4th.