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Siouxland Families Explore Adventureland

The Midwest is full of fun places to go for family vacations, and I'm excited to share them with you! Check out my Midwest destinations page for more ideas to plan your next family trip, and read on to hear more about my hosted visit to Adventureland in Altoona, IA: 

If you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should!), you might've seen that my family and I went to Adventureland last year right before they closed for the year, courtesy of Catch Des Moines. Nestled just to the northwest of Des Moines, in Altoona, Iowa, you'll find a wonderland of roller coasters and waterslides, known as Adventureland. Adventureland is Iowa's only theme park and is all about grand adventure, from cowboys to pirates to biplanes. We had a blast, and here's what we learned about visiting Adventureland with kids:

Where is Adventureland?

3200 Adventureland Drive, Altoona, Iowa, just minutes from downtown Des Moines. From Sioux City, it's about a 3 hour drive. There is ample parking at Adventureland, and it is $15 per car and $25 for vehicles that require multiple spaces, so carpool wisely!

When is Adventureland open?

a boy points at a map of Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa
My son was so excited to explore Adventureland!

Adventureland opens for the 2019 season on Saturday, April 27th with limited weekend hours--from 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and from 10am to 5pm on Sundays.
Full summer hours begin in June, and Adventureland is open 7 days a week during summer, from 10am to 8pm Sunday through Thursday, 10am-9pm on Friday, and 10am to 10pm on Saturday.
In late August and early September, Adventureland will switch back over to fall hours, which will be shorter and then weekends only.
Adventure Bay water park usually opens at 10am and then closes 2 hours before the rest of the park. However exact hours for both Adventureland and Adventure Bay can vary, so be sure to check the Adventureland calendar when planning your trip.

How much does it cost to visit Adventureland?

For the 2021 season, the following prices apply:
  • $15 Parking per car
  • Admission free for kids 3 & under
  • $45 for kids 4-9
  • $50 for anyone 10-64
  • $45 for seniors 65+
Season passes to Adventureland are also available and cost $150 per person.

a boy in a yellow shirt and blue baseball cap sits in a white airplane ride at Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa
Riding the Red Baron, his favorite ride, for about the 10th time!

What should you bring to Adventureland when visiting with kids?

red and green ladybug cars ride past giant daisies in the preschool ride at Adventureland Park near Des Moines, Iowa
LadyBug Ride at Adventureland

The ages and needs of your kids will change this list slightly, but this is what I would encourage parents to at least consider bringing to Adventureland for their kids:
  • Sunscreen & hats
  • Sippy cups/bottles/etc
  • Cash for food, and/or a cooler in the car
  • Diapers, wipes, etc for babies and kids who need them.
  • Comfy walking shoes, and/or water shoes if going to Adventure Bay
  • Swimsuits if going to Adventure Bay
  • Swim diapers if going to Adventure Bay
  • Puddle jumpers if going to Adventure Bay (they also have life jackets you can use for free)

What is there to do at Adventureland?

Adventureland has tons of attractions for all ages. My son who had just turned 9 at the time had the most fun of all my kids, but we could've easily filled the day finding activities for any of our kids. His personal favorite was a tie between the Red Baron and the Underground, and my younger kids absolutely loved the carousel. As an adult I tend to not think of the carousel as very exciting, but it was a good reminder to me that kids are looking at things through fresh eyes. It was probably the most fun we had as a family because we did it all together, and the little ones were so happy. I also loved the Outlaw--I'm a sucker for a classic wooden coaster! Besides the ones we saw, there is also a new ride scheduled to open during summer 2019 called the Phoenix. It looks pretty exciting!!

a ferris wheel is visible in the background as a woman with dark brown hair smiles and snuggles a sleeping baby in a carrier next to a blue stroller where a blonde boy is also sleeping
Worn out kids and happy mom after lots of fun at Adventureland!

So based on our visit, here are my top picks for different age groups, although personal preferences and ability will affect which rides your family loves most! 

Adventureland fun for toddlers & preschoolers

  • Bernie's Barnyard
  • Carousel
  • Chuckwagon (with a parent)
  • Heron Harbor Splash Pad
picture of Heron Harbor Splash Pad inside Adventure Bay at Adventureland, near Des Moines, Iowa
Heron Harbor to the left, with Adventure Bay waterslides behind

Adventureland fun for elementary school age kids

  • Red Barons
  • the Underground (only if your child doesn't scare easily)
  • TeaCups
  • Puff Dragons
  • Kokomo Cove
  • Frog Hopper
boy riding the Red Baron airplane ride at Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa
Red Baron

Adventureland fun for tweens, teens, and adults

  • the Monster
  • the Outlaw
  • SpaceShot
  • Reef Racer
the Monster

What is there to do at Adventureland besides go on rides?

Beyond the awesome rides (which are plenty in themselves!), there is tons of other fun to be had at Adventureland including:
  • Magic shows (included with admission)
  • Juggling shows (included with admission)
  • Circus performances (included with admission)
  • Bingo in an air-conditioned bingo hall
  • Carnival games
  • Shopping for souvenirs and more
  • Snacks including ice cream, cookies, chocolates, frozen lemonade, and more
  • Meals like chicken, burgers, and more
a sandwich restaurant with patio tables and umbrellas at Adventureland in Altoona Iowa
One of the cute eateries in Adventureland

Want to find out more about Adventureland?

For more information about Adventureland, check out the Adventureland website or connect with Adventureland on Facebook, or Instagram.

Thanks again to Catch Des Moines for the tickets to Adventureland! We had a great time!


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