August 2017 update

As expected, things got very busy at the park in July, with full parking lots and healthy lines inside. Once school started back up, the park returned to weekends-only operations, but the crowds will still be heavy for a bit longer.

On August 26, they were parking people along the roadways, with the parking lots nearly full before noon.

Busy parking lot on 8/26/2017.

The park was still open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but the water park side was running reduced hours from noon to 5 p.m. Many of their lifeguards and workers return to school so the have to scale back operations a bit.

Only three rides were down for maintenance.

Entrance sign on 8/26/2017.

The Inverter ran for a few weeks early this season, then has been down ever since.

The Inverter is still down, as of 8/26/2017.

Lady Luck has been disassembled since last Tuesday. If you’ve ever wondered how it worked, now you can see.

Lady Luck: Some (re)assembly required.

Storm Chaser was being worked on, and it seems a safety system kicked in and halted the ride with people on it earlier in the day. Proving that it must have been a slow news day, WHO-TVreported on it … at least on their website:

Adventureland Ride Gets Stuck With People On Board

…as did Channel 5:

“The fire department was not called out. A maintenance worker climbed to the top to fix it. The ride was stuck for about 25 minutes. Everyone got off safely.”

Never a dull moment for the full time maintenance staff that keeps these things running day in, and day out for our entertainment!

Over at Iowa Cafe, new digital menu signs have been installed:

New digital menu signs at Iowa Cafe.

With more menu space, they now list the formerly “secret” 1 piece meal for $5.75. Since Iowa Cafe honors the season pass discount, this low cost meal is a great way to get a real good bite to eat for less than some fast food burgers!

The park was also busy with various corporate outing groups occupying the Palace Theatre and picnic areas. Since the Theatre was being used, it’s restrooms were unavailable to the public.

I wonder if the restrooms inside are open?

These large groups help explain the large crowds. Earlier and later in the season, you can go to the park and have almost no wait at most of the rides, but if you prefer waiting in lines, peak season is for you!

There was a healthy line for the A-Train (practically down the steps) and also for the Sky Ride.

Sky Ride line on 8/26/2017.

And, there was also a line at the Iowa Beer and Wine Shop.

Iowa beer is worth the wait.

Pro-tip: If you are just wanting a canned domestic drink, and there is a long line, you can get those at many other places (including food locations like the Chicken Shack).

Meanwhile, over at the Bier Garten, there was no line at all 🙂 The new Iowa Beer and Wine location seems to be doing really well with the new tent and live entertainment this year. There has been live entertainment later in the day at the Bier Garten as well, so perhaps the lines shift over there later in the day.

As others reported earlier in the Facebook group, the Fried Fish game has moved from Dragon Island to near the Tornado entrance. It is in the spot where the Octopus game with the mermaid used to be.

Fried Frogs in its new location in County Fair.

They had to remove the “handles” from the “frying” pan to make it fit in the location, but it seems most folks didn’t even realize it was supposed to be a giant pan anyway.

In the location where Fried Fish used to be is now a brand new game: Lucky Puck. This pachinko-style game is so large you have to climb stairs to play it!

Lucky Puck on Dragon Island. A big game with big prizes!

It costs $5 to play, and you get two pucks to drop down the pins, hoping they land in SmallMedium or Large Prize spots. Every game is a winner, and the prizes here are possibly the best in the park. A small win gets you a bottle of water ($2.50 in the park), so even if both your pucks go in to small, you get two bottles of water for $5 (the same as if you bought them).

Pro-tip: If you ever want two bottles of water, play this game. You will at least get that, and possibly more!

Speaking of more, the Medium Prize was either a free tube rental at Adventure Bay water park, or an Arcade Card. I did not ask how much credit the card would have loaded on it, but I am guessing it’s probably around $5 (I think that’s the cost of a tube rental).

The Large Prize was the real winner: an Adventureland ticket!

It’s quite random, and there is only one large slot, but it can be done. During the ten or so minutes I was there watching people play the game, someone won!

What a Lucky Puck! They just won an Adventureland ticket!

There has also been some great new T-shirts added to the Clothing Shop on Main Street this year! It seems the park has settled on a new park skyline design to update from the original one that has been used since The Tornado opened in the late 1970s. I really, really like this one:

A great new skyline logo.

Even though I’ve been visiting the park since 1995, I had never bought a T-shirt until last year for The Monster opening. This year, I’ve added several more to my collection.

Pro-tip: Be sure to check the Clearance Store on the corner of Main Street near the Giant Sky Wheel. You can find older Adventureland shirts there for as little as $4!

That’s all I have for this update… Did I miss anything? Be sure to let me know in the comments.

New restrictions at Adventureland

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:

Prosthetic limb restriction.

Is this happening at other parks?

More newness for 2017

Updated 5/28/2017.

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.

Chicken Shack’s new railings, 2017.

Petunia Pig received a new lane sign noting it’s new bacon popcorn and 1/4 pound bacon on a stick.

Petunia Pig, with it’s new menu sign and new menu in 2017.

The following weekend, a second tall sign for the bacon on a stick appeared.

Petunia Pig’s Bacon-on-a-Stick is a quarter point of bacon, and almost as large as this sign.

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.

Gulch Foods has a new sign, and thus, an official name.

Flowers have appeared around the small pond in Iowa Farm near Petunia Pig, with more added the next weekend.

Fresh landscaping in Iowa Farm.

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.

New flower bed and flag poles across from the Giant Sky Wheel.

More more to come… Check back for updates and photos.

To see more “new for 2017” photos, check here:

New for 2017

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.

Professor Bellows’ new (or just cleaned up) sign for 2017.

Saw Mill Splash has a freshly painted sign, and SideWinder‘s “you must be this tall” sign is new as well.

Saw Mill Splash’s new sign for 2017.

The walkway sign promoting the Ben Ulin Magic Show is different from last year (and quite colorful).

Sign for Ben Ulin’s 2017 magic show.

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

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.

Palace Theater digital signs, 2017.
New monitors outside of the picnic areas.

The Bier Garten gained two new LCD screens inside, too, with one showing the menu and the other playing sports video.

New monitors in the Bier Garten.

Adult Beverages

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.

New tent (with elevated stage and new sound system inside) at Iowa Beer & Wine.

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.

Corona Cantina replaces Anita Bar for 2017.

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.

ICEE Mix It Up now offers spiked drinks.


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.

New “Dr Pepper BBQ Beans” at Iowa Cafe.

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.

Gyro’s new menu, featuring baklava, Greek salads and falafel.

Around the corner, new signage at Subland is in use, with numbered sandwich choices rather than the “fill out what you want” sheets.

Subland’s new menu.

Taco Villa has a new burrito bowl, and I am told the tacos are also fancier.

Taco Villa’s new burrito bowl combo, which comes with a churro and drink.

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 ?)”.

Spectators Sports Bar and Grill sets up shop inside the park.

Dippin’ Dots now has “sundaes.”

Dot Sundaes at a few of the Dippin’ Dot stands.

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:

2017 season approaches!

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.

Stay tuned…

Space Shot and Monster lights updated

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.

More to come…