August 22nd, 2001 - I've decided to give these old pages a new home. The content is old, but perhaps it is still useful.
Adventureland is an independent theme park just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. It is located off the intersection of Hwy-80 and Hwy-65. According to promotional material, it features "over 100 rides, shows and attractions." The operating season is limited to mainly weekends in May and September, and full time operation June through August.
Due to my infatuation with theme parks lately, I've decided to put up this unofficial web page. If you desire accurate information, you should not rely on this page. Instead, contact Adventureland directly at: (800) 532-1286 or (515) 266-2126/2121.
By doing a net search for the park I can find more and more references now than ever. More interesting ones include video game sites tracking the locations of classic arcade games (Adventureland has plenty of these gems!), and gambling sites listing the nearby casino and its surrounding area. Have you done a search lately?
2001 Season Update
2000 Season Update
1999 Season Update
June 99 - The new Space Shot is pretty cool, and darned impressive for a park the size of Adventureland! Read all the tech specs on the official web site.
I was at the park for a few hours on June 13th. There is now a kettle corn stand in Outlaw Gulch, and it seems a few more space ice cream carts were around. The roaming band could also been seen (even near closing) on Main Street playing and singing. I do plan to get back to the park again for a full day to take some pictures and see what else may have changed. If anyone would like to meet up sometime, just let me know.
1998 Season Recap
No new rides this year, which was a suprise due to it being the 20th Anniversary of the park. The Circus returned (though to me not nearly as good as the 97 edition), and it appears the western comedy show formerly held at Outlaw Gulch is gone for good. The space previously used for the performance is now a new shooting gallery between the restrooms and snack bar. It is small but very nice and has a mounted buffalo head above it which looks left and right. I am sad to see this building changed since the fascade was one of the best in the park. I did find the brightly colored airbrushed sign to clash with the western theme. The snack bar next to it which was once a walk-in counter area is now a fuller service food place (you can no longer go inside -- it is a counter you walk up to) with sandwiches. Some signs over the covered picnic tables nearby reflect the new food choices.
The shooting gallery next to Sherif Sam's Saloon is gone and replaced with a remote control car "speedway" which seems very out of place with the western theme of the area. The former "mini arcade" around the corner from the New Orleans themed food court section is now a neat mini donut shop.
1997 Season Recap
In 1997, we saw a circus brought in just outside of Outlaw Gulch (which was quite good), and two new rides, The Mixer (which is sponsored by a bread company) and G-Force. Both of these were basically carnival style rides and nothing spectacular from appearance, but I have since read that these are actually pretty significant items to be added to this park -- see the Mixer & G-Force Info link above) The magician who had his own show in the theater on Main Street had moved back into Sheriff Sam's Saloon with smaller shows, but still very nice.
1996 Season Recap
The 1996 opening of The Underground was less than impressive, offering such a low volume of traffic that lines are far longer than anything else in the park. Even just a few months after the attraction opened, scenes had already started falling apart, and while the original concept was neat, the implementation looked like it ran short on funding -- leaving around wires, cables, and visible smoke generators. Most of these problems still remain. Still, the unique charm Adventureland has I can't ignore. For some reason, it just "feels" neat there, even if it seems some changes in how things are organized and done might make it a dramatically improved experience to visitors.
Please drop me mail if you've been to this park and would like to offer some comments about it. I have many photos to put online and may also do a virtual "tour" of the park if there is interest (like my Disneyland tour).