Adventureland (Iowa)

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Adventureland
AdventurelandLogo.png
Adventureland Park logo.
Slogan Iowa's Largest and Most Complete Family Resort Complex
Location Adventureland Resort, Altoona, Iowa, United States
Coordinates 41°39′16″N 93°30′00″W / 41.654447°N 93.499886°W / 41.654447; -93.499886Coordinates: 41°39′16″N 93°30′00″W / 41.654447°N 93.499886°W / 41.654447; -93.499886
Theme Iowa past
Owner Krantz family
Operated by John Krantz
General Manager Michael Krantz
Opened July 28, 1974 (1974-07-28)
Operating season Daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, weekends late April, May, and September
Area 180 acres (0.73 km2)
Rides
Total 47 (including water park rides)
Roller coasters 5
Water rides 2
Website www.adventurelandpark.com
Status Operating

Adventureland is a family-owned amusement park in Altoona, Iowa (just northeast of Des Moines). It is marketed as featuring over 100 rides, shows and attractions.

History[edit]

Construction of Adventureland Park began in the spring of 1973.[1] According to park operators, the Disney company assisted with some early park planning. Years later, Adventureland gave advice to the operator of the Wild West World Park in Wichita, Kansas, and allowed them to use photos taken at Adventureland in early promotional materials while that park was under construction. These photos could still be seen on the park fliers and website just before opening.

Damage from the tail end of a tornado delayed the opening until July 28, 1974, with the first rides opening on August 16. The first full season for Adventureland began in 1975. The official grand opening was on May 31. Congressman Neal Smith, Altoona Mayor Lloyd Sievers and Adventureland president Jack Krantz spoke at the opening ceremony. The Skyride from the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington was added that year.

In 1978 construction began on Adventureland's largest wooden roller coaster, the Tornado, which opened on July 4, 1978. The Tornado was soon listed among the top ten wooden roller coasters in the world.[1]

The following year, the County Fair area with its games of skill was added. Also in 1979, Adventureland purchased the aging Riverview Amusement Park in Des Moines and moved some of the attractions to their own themed area just south of the park in 1980. Some of these attractions included the infamous weight guessing booth, Hi-striker game (now in storage at Adventureland), Haunted House ride (now the station for the Dragon roller coaster), Mirror/Funny Maze (found upon exiting the Dragon roller coaster ride at Adventureland), Skee-Ball games, the classic Riverview carousel (now in storage at Adventureland), as well as other well-known and loved attractions. In 1990, the Riverview theme area was transformed into the Dragon Island, home of Adventureland's double-looping upside-down steel roller coaster, which opened on May 12, 1990.

1993 brought the largest park expansion since Adventureland was built. Outlaw Gulch, a western themed area, was built on 12 acres (49,000 m2) at a cost of approximately $5 million. Outlaw Gulch consisted of three rides: Wrangler (a Scrambler), Chuck Wagon, and The Outlaw roller coaster.

In 1999 Adventureland announced the addition of the Space Shot. The Space Shot is a 235-foot (72 m) structure that towers over Adventureland launching riders up at 4.5 G's and ending with a free fall of negative 1 G.

In 2002, Adventureland undertook an 8 million dollar project that nearly doubled the size of the hotel, adding a second courtyard, new pools with interactive water features and new poolside rooms and suites. It also added a new water ride in the park, a spinning white water adventure, called Saw Mill Splash. The ride is themed around an old saw mill, and fits into the western motif of Adventureland's Outlaw Gulch area.

In 2006, Adventureland added two more rides. The Splash Over and Frog Hopper. Frog Hopper can be seen as a kiddie version of the Space Shot, as it quickly hops young riders up 20 feet (6.1 m) in the air, then bounces them gently back down.

In 2008 Adventureland embarked on its most extensive addition yet – a new water area named Adventure Bay. The first water attraction in this area is Kokomo Kove.[1]

On February 20, 2010 (about 4:00 p.m.), a fire broke out in the toy store of main street after its roof collapsed due to the weight of ice and snow.[2] The collapse caused an electrical fire. The fire went out of control and engulfed the corner portion of Main Street and destroyed the section that encompassed the bingo parlor, restaurant, toy store and arcade. The fire was brought under control about an hour later and was completely extinguished an hour thereafter. None of the adjacent structures or rides were harmed and no one was injured. The buildings were destroyed so quickly because, due to their age, sprinklers were not required to be installed. The park opened as planned on April 24, 2010, with the east side of Main Street completely cleared to dirt surrounded by a chain link fence. Banners on the fence stated that "Plans are well underway to build Main Street back better than ever."

All of Main Street was rebuilt when the park opened in April 2011 and featured an even larger arcade with an indoor ride. The park's Scrambler ride, previously known as the Wrangler, was brought out of storage and moved to the G-Force's location after the G-Force was moved into the Main Street arcade. On December 15, 2011 (about 3:45 a.m.), another fire broke out, this time destroying the Rally Round corn dog stand. Crews said the fire had engulfed the structure when they arrived but they were able to put it out quickly. According to fire officials, an electrical transformer behind the corn dog stand was the cause.[3] A larger food location would be built in its place.

On September 6, 2013, Adventureland posted on their official Facebook page that a new attraction called Storm Chaser would be added. A 3D rendering of the ride was posted on the page, as well as an interview with park officials, showed that the new ride is a Mondial WindSeeker model. Park officials also stated that it would be replacing the aging Silly Silo due to that ride's frequent down time, and the company no longer making parts to fix it.[4]

On July 8, 2015, Adventureland announced that they were adding a new roller coaster called The Monster, a Gerstlauer Infinity coaster and the first of its kind in the United States. It opened to the public on June 4, 2016 after park employee previews a few days earlier. It replaced the River Rapids log ride, which ran since the park first opened.[5] The Monster features a unique nighttime LED light display made up of 137 track mounted fixtures that synchronize to the ride vehicles, and 46 ground lights.[6]

Location[edit]

Adventureland is located off exit 142A of I-80, along U.S. Highway 65, near Altoona, just east of Des Moines, Iowa.[1]

Themed areas and attractions[edit]

South side view of the A-Train station
The top of the Space Shot
Giant Sky Wheel

The park contains many design nods inspired by Disneyland: The entrance has a train station with two tunnels (on the left- and right-hand side) leading in to the Main Street area, just like at Disneyland or Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (and also similar to many other parks built since Disneyland opened in 1955); over in Outlaw Gulch, there are several tombstones that have virtually the same wording as tombstones outside of Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion attraction; the rocking pirate ship (Galleon) has played a soundtrack that included splashing water and an excerpt from the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, "Yo Ho". Adventureland is a theme area of its own at Disneyland. The different themed areas in Adventureland are:

  • Adventure Bay (opened June 22, 2008) is a location behind Outlaw Gulch that is home to the Kokomo Kove water play area.
  • Alpine Village/Bavaria is a German-themed area. Sky Ride is the major attraction in this area of the park, along with the Rathskeller concession stand and Alpine Arcade. In 2015, the new Bier Garten opened featuring TV sets and German beers. In early years, an accordion player was found in this area of the park to add to the German feel.
  • The Boulevard has several major rides; the biggest is Giant Sky Wheel, the largest open-gondola Ferris wheel built in the United States since G.W. Ferris built his wheel in 1893 for the Chicago Exposition.
  • County Fair is a rural-themed area whose principal attraction is Tornado, a large wooden roller coaster, as well as many fair-themed games of skill.
  • Dragon Island, near the rear of the park, was originally known as Riverview. Constructed in 1979, the area contained a number of attractions from the Riverview Park amusement center that had recently closed in nearby Des Moines. In 1990, the area was renamed Dragon Island when the Dragon roller coaster opened.
  • Iowa Farm follows a similar theme. The big pig in the Iowa Farm section of the park is actually a small concession stand.
  • Last Frontier is a western themed section. This section of the park is home to the Golden Nugget shooting gallery and Sheriff Sam's Saloon (named after former Altoona Mayor and Polk County Sheriff, Sam Wise).
  • Main Street, which resembles a stereotypical turn-of-the-20th-century town square, is the first area that visitors encounter upon entering the park. The principal attractions of this area are the A-Train (a small-scale locomotive which winds around one side of the park) and an antique-style carousel in the middle of the Town Square. Main Street also contains several gift shops, restaurants, an arcade, and service-type establishments such as novelty photography. Also on Main Street, there is the Palace Theater, formerly home to large live shows, but today used for corporate events.
  • Outlaw Gulch, constructed in 1993, has an Old West theme, complete with a "ghost town". The attractions in this part of the park are The Outlaw (a large wooden roller coaster), Chuck Wagon (a small western-themed Ferris wheel), Sidewinder (a swinging pendulum ride whose gondola swings riders over 180 degrees while spinning), and Saw Mill Splash, a water ride. The Royal Hanneford Circus is also presented. During the 1993 season, there was a western-themed band that played a banjo and bottles on the mock stage that still remains behind to the kettle corn stand. Also in the first few years of operation, a cowboy-themed comedy show was held in front of the ghost town facade, but it was later removed and the shooting gallery was installed there. The food location also changed from a walk-in drink and snack bar to a front counter serving hamburgers and other fast food. Other food vendors in the section include a kettle corn stand, old fashioned sodas and Dippin' Dots.
  • River City is built around the Raging River ride and was inspired by Mississippi River towns. There is usually jazz or zydeco music in the background. The founder of Adventureland was a fan of New Orleans-style jazz. River City may have been influenced by the fictional River City in the Meredith Willson musical The Music Man. Several food stands are located in this section of the park as well.
  • Space Shot Midway is built around the Space Shot ride. Another attraction is The Underground, a ride that incorporates elements of both a dark ride and a roller coaster. The Frantic Freeway bumper cars and numerous kids' rides are also nearby.

Rides for younger children[edit]

  • Chuck Wagon, a miniature western-themed Ferris wheel (opened in 1993)[7]
  • Convoy, a semi-truck-themed ride for younger children (opened 1989) originally located in the queue where the Dragon is.
  • Frog Hopper, a mini version of the Space Shot, seats are raised and then bounced up and down (opened April 29, 2006)
  • Infant Ocean, miniature boats spin slowly around a central axis (opened 1974)
  • Kiddie Kars (aka Hampton Cars), various themed cars spin slowly around a central axis (opened 1980) this ride first opened in 1972 at riverview. This ride replaced Adventureland's first carousel which was called the happy horses.
  • Lady Bugs, bug-shaped cars travel on a circular track (opened in 1976)
  • Puff Dragons, dragon-themed cars spin around a central axis (opened in 1991) which was originally located on Dragon Island.
  • Red Baron, small World War I-themed planes spin around a central axis, and riders can control how high off the ground they want to "fly" (opened 1978) which replaced the helicopters.

Roller coasters[edit]

  • Dragon – (opened May 12, 1990) Double-looping steel roller coaster built by Hopkins for $2.1 million. It was built where the Convoy's old location was. In 2005 seat belts were added to lock down the shoulder harnesses. The front part of the train use to have its name labeled on it. there use to be 7 cars connected to the train but now there are only 6 the cars were changed to 6 in 2000 that explains why there's one more waiting line at the very end that's been blocked off.
  • The Monster – (opened June 4, 2016) A Gerstlauer Infinity coaster. It replaced the River Rapids log ride. On July 10 of 2016 on ride pictures was added.
  • The Outlaw – (opened April 24, 1993) A wooden roller coaster by Custom Coasters International (CCI).
  • Tornado – (opened July 4, 1978) A wooden roller coaster designed by William Cobb. Up until 1997 both red and blue trains would run at the same time. In 2010 seatbelts was added. In 2010 on ride pictures was added.
  • The Underground – (opened in 1996) An indoor dark ride using a roller coaster ride system. Ride and cars by CCI. Animated figures by Themed Environments and Effects.

Water rides[edit]

  • Raging River (opened in 1983) – A whitewater river raft ride featuring rapids, waterfalls, and geysers, designed by Intamin.
  • Saw Mill Splash (opened in 2002) – Spins visitors down a hill in a large raft and splashes down at the bottom,

Others[edit]

A-train engine and car
Der Flinger
Tea Cups
Town Square Carrousel
  • A-Train (opened 1985) – Small train that travels around one side of the park, then loops and returns on the same track. Its only stop is the station on Main Street. Replaced the Toonerville Trolleys.
  • Balloon Race (opened 1987) – Zamperla family ride that spins riders in hot air balloon-shaped cars. Replaced the Flying Scooters.
  • Der Flinger (opened 1976) – paratrooper ride.
  • Falling Star (opened 1989) – Chance-Morgan rotating platform ride; replaced The Rainbow.
  • Frantic Freeway (opened August 16, 1974) – Traditional bumper cars ride. In 1991 different designed cars with a lap bar was added to the ride.
  • G-Force (opened 1997) – Huss spinning ride on the order of a Scrambler. Located on the right side of the falling star before the scrambler reopened in its spot in 2011, relocated in the newly built Main Street arcade in 2011.
  • Galleon (opened 1985) – Giant Zamperla swinging ship ride.
  • Giant Sky Wheel (opened in 1991) – Huge Chance-Morgan Ferris wheel. Replaced the Der Flitzer.
  • Himalaya (opened 2000) – Spinning, tilted Himalaya ride. Replaced the riverview carousel.
  • The Inverter (opened 2000) – Chance-Morgan ride takes guests up 50 feet (15 m) in the air and hangs them inverted. Replaced the super screamer.
  • Lady Luck (opened August 16, 1974) – A Chance-Morgan Trabant ride with a roulette wheel theme.
  • The Lighthouse (opened 1974) – Visitors sit in a small gondola which spins around, while being thrust sideways and upwards.
  • Round Up (opened 1974) – Traditional carnival Tilt-A-Whirl ride.
  • Scrambler - (opened 1976) originally located where the Falling Star is, originally known as the Bavarian Scrambler, reopened as the Wrangler in 1993 in Outlaw gultch, reopened in 2011 as the Scrambler in the former location of G-Force. This ride first opened in 1968 at an amusement park called Riverview.
  • Sidewinder (opened 2004) – Spinning pendulum ride that swings riders slightly more than 180 degrees. In 2007 seat belts was added to the ride.
  • Sky Ride (opened 1975) – Traditional chairlift ride originally from the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington. The Clock building that covers the sky ride was added in 1976. This ride was built and first ran in 1974.
  • Space Shot (opened 1999) – Visitors blast off into "space" up a 200-foot (61 m)[8] tower and free fall safely back to the ground. An S & S Power ride.
  • Splash Over (opened 2006) – Thrill ride where riders are propelled and inverted; replaced the Mixer, which opened in 1997.
  • Storm Chaser (opened June 7, 2014) – Swing ride by Mondial, takes passengers up a 260-foot tower and spins them around at 35 mph;[8] replaced the Silly Silo.
  • Tea Cups (opened in 1976) – Traditional spinning tea cup ride.
  • Town Square Carousel (opened in 2000) – Replica of an antique carousel; replaced the old carousel where the Himalaya now stands.

Adventure Bay[edit]

Adventure Bay is the water park section of Adventureland. Except for Kokomo Kove, it was new for 2010. In addition to the water features, it offers changing areas, lockers for rent, lounge chairs, and food service which includes a full-service bar named the Sand Bar.

  • Bermuda Quadrangle is a quartet of tube slides, which can be ridden on single or tandem tubes. Tubes can be picked up and returned at the base of the slide tower, free of charge. There are height minimums of 48 inches (120 cm) for a single rider to 42 inches (110 cm) for a child accompanied by an adult on two of the four slides. There is a weight maximum of 250 lbs for these slides. The slides each have unique features, including sections of complete darkness, four small funnels, and a large funnel.
  • Breaker Beach opened on May 26, 2012. It is Iowa's largest wave pool.
  • Caribbean Cruiser is a lazy river looping one-third of a mile around, with a depth of 3 feet (0.91 m). Visitors can rent tubes for $5 or just cruise along with no tube.
  • Gang Plank and Pirates Plunge are two speed slides that zip riders along at high speeds. You must be at least 48 inches (120 cm) to ride the two speed slides.
  • Kokomo Kove water play structure opened on June 22, 2008, and is included in the standard admission price. The Kokomo Kove structure is approximately 65 feet (20 m) tall at its highest point and covers approximately 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2). The feature includes 7 water slides of varying lengths and heights; 123 different water jet features, including water guns, tipping cones, hose jets, and umbrella jets; and 91 different play features, including net bridges and climbs, crawl tunnels, and pull ropes.
  • Reef Racer is six slides hooked together to create a racing slide, where riders lie face-first on mats and slide down, "racing" other guests. You must be at least 42 inches (110 cm) to ride.
  • Shipwreck Shores opened with Breaker Beach. It is a kiddie pool with a pirate ship themed water slide for kids and swim up beverage center just for kids.
  • Typhoon is currently a two- to four-person raft ride. There is one large funnel, and many twists and turns. Minimum height is 48 inches (120 cm).

Shows[edit]

  • Ben Ulin magic show in Sheriff Sam's Saloon. 2016 is his 29th year.
  • Coca-Cola Cafe. This stage includes a hamburger joint with places to sit and eat a meal around the stage that rises out of the ground for multiple shows daily. The 2016 show is juggler Brad Weston.
  • Iowa Beer and Wine Shop stage. Added in 2016, this stage features live local music acts daily.
  • Royal Hanneford Circus opened 1997 form several shows daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The circus tent was originally located behind The Outlaw, but in 2008 construction of the new water feature caused the circus to be relocated just behind Saw Mill Splash in Outlaw Gulch with a new access walkway between that ride and the exit of the Outlaw.

Former attractions and shows[edit]

The Mixer
  • Aquatheatre dolphin sea lion show 2 (1988–1995) replaced by the underground. The swimming pool still remains there as the Underground is covering it and the pool isn't filled with water anymore.
  • Dolphin sea lion show 1 (1977–1979) this dolphin sea lion show was located more in the area where the G forces old location was, a new dolphin sea lion show opened in 1988 where the underground now stands. This dolphin sea lion show was replaced by the high Diving Act.
  • Pontoon boats (1974–1979) this attraction were boats that people got to ride in the same lake the queen ran at, the boats docked by where today sits the river city funnel cake stand.
  • Carousel (1980-1999) a classic carousel ride that came from Riverview Park, replaced by the Himalaya. This ride opened In 1928 at riverview.
  • Happy horses (1974–1979) this ride was adventurelands first carousel, replaced by the hampton cars.
  • Daniel and the Dixieland Diggers (closed 1999). Animatronic music show in the center of Main Street, replaced by the Carousel.
  • Der Flitzer (1974–1990). Originally located in the area where the tea cups is, relocated in 1976, Originally known as the Raylle Racers. A small German snow-capped mountain-themed coaster, the Giant Sky Wheel now occupies its space.
  • Flying Scooters (1974–1986) a classic swing ride that came from riverview replaced by the Balloon race. This ride opened In 1941 at riverview.
  • Galaxy (1980–1990) a Himalaya ride that came from Riverview Park. This ride opened In 1973 at riverview.
  • Game Show: Double Dare (to mimic Nickelodeon's Double Dare). Contestants were selected from the audience to participate in stunts and games like Beat The Clock. The Underground is now in this space
  • Goat Island (1974–1979) a small lake themed area that was located where the raging river and where Dragon Island now stands.
  • Haunted House attraction (1980–1988), part of the Riverview area (now Dragon Island), and one of the attractions moved from Riverview Park in Des Moines. This attraction opened in 1975 at riverview. Replaced by the Convoy. In 1990 the dragon was built where the Convoy's old location was.
  • High Diving Act, (1980–1987) This show was located where the G forces old location was.
  • Jaunty Jeeps (1974–1979) the layout of the ride its self was there from 1974 till 1987, old fashioned cars people got to drive around in there was track on the path to keep people from driving off the ride. the cars were powered by gas oil. this attraction was located where the picnic area is. The cars were changed from jeeps to antique cars the road was reconstructed as well in 1980 which caused this attraction to be renamed as the Antique Roadsters, it was the same ride the type of cars was only thing that was changed.
  • Mirror Maze (1980–1989). Part of the Riverview area (now Dragon Island), and one of the attractions moved from Riverview Park in Des Moines. A small mirror maze exists at the exit of The Dragon.
  • The Mixer (1997–2005), spun and inverted visitors on several axes, replaced by Splash Over.
  • Palace Theater shows (1996), live shows were formerly held in the Palace Theater.
  • Petting Zoo, in the Iowa Farm section of the park where the red barn sits.
  • The Queen (1974–1984) In the park's early years, there was a riverboat-style watercraft called the Queen. The boat itself was a passenger steamer that was used to carry passengers across Lake Okoboji in Okoboji, Iowa. She served from 1884 until 1973 when she was sent to Adventureland. It docked by where today sits the river city funnel cake stand. From 1980 till 1984 the boat remained at the dock and was being used as a attraction that people could look at. According to one of the workers that worked at the park years ago one of the workers torched it so that there would be a whole in the boat so that water would go in the boat and sink, the queen still remains under the water on the left side of the raging river bridge.
  • The Rainbow (1988), A German thrill ride added for the 1988 season only. It was replaced by Falling Star.
  • River Rapids log ride (1974–2015), A log flume ride with two drops, replaced by The Monster. In 2005, on-ride pictures were added.
  • Riverview Island (1980–1989) an area that contained a number of attractions that came from the former Riverview Park that closed in Des Moines. The area had a carousel, himalaya ride that was called the Galaxy, haunted house attraction. The area was renamed as Dragon Island when the dragon roller coaster was built.
  • Silly Silo (1974–2013). A Chance-Morgan rotor, the Storm Chaser now stands where this ride was.
  • Super Screamer (1976–1999), a smaller roller coaster (an S.D.C. Galaxi), replaced by The Inverter.
  • Toonerville Trolleys (1974–1979) A set of three 1890s replica trolleys built by Gordon Wiligrocki. The trolleys were on tracks running the perimeter of the park with various stops, replaced by the A-Train.
  • Helicopters (1974–1977) a small little kiddy helicopter ride that spun in the air replaced by the red baron.
  • Wheel of fortune (1974–1975) traditional carnival ride that spun in the air while you were standing up, Replaced by the Bavarian Scrambler.
  • Caterpilar (1974–1975) a small little kiddy ride that went in a circle really fast, This ride was located in front of which is now the Dragon Island water.

Games areas[edit]

The games department consists of three games areas:[9]

  • Alpine Games – Alpine is located near the front of the park close to the Giant Sky Wheel.
  • County Fair – opened 1980, According to park operators, this is Adventureland's most popular games area. County Fair is a rather large games area and features many popular games, including Speedball, Derby Downs, Center Ring, and Skee Ball. County Fair is unique in that the area is very long, whereas the other two areas are more circular. The north part of the area, sometimes called "The Iowa Farm Section," is where the entrance to Tornado is located. The Iowa Farm Section features Speedball, County Fair's most popular game.
  • Dragon Island – renamed as Dragon island in 1990 the area was originally called riverview island which was built in 1980, Despite not being as big as County Fair or Alpine, Dragon Island ranks 2nd in popularity. Dragon Island has a much different atmosphere than County Fair or Alpine. While County Fair and Alpine have a more fun atmosphere, playing upbeat, popular music that most guests will be able to recognize, Dragon Island has a more mellow atmosphere, playing slow music without vocals.

Alcohol[edit]

While the park has sold beer (and sometimes wine coolers) in the past, in recent years they have added more adult beverage locations.

  • Abita Bar (opened 2015) - Located in River City, it serves bottle beers from Louisiana, and frozen drinks.
  • Bier Garten (opened 2015) - Located in the Bavaria section of the park and directly attached to Rathskeller. It serves German beers.
  • Iowa Beer & Wine Shop (opened 2015) - Located in the Iowa Farm area next to the Storm Chaser. It features a variety of Iowa craft beers and wines, and a frozen drink called The Monster. In 2016, a new performance area was added with local musical acts playing during the summer.
  • Sand Bar (opened 2010) - A full bar located in Adventure Bay. It features cocktails named after park attractions, as well as frozen drinks.

Other food locations serve canned beers and similar beverages.

Special events[edit]

For the July 4 weekend, Adventureland presents fireworks. The nearby Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino often puts on a fireworks show on the same evening, allowing park visitors a chance to view two shows back to back.

Adventureland also hosts various art and craft shows during the off-season when the park is closed. Visitors enter through an open gate at the front entrance and are allowed only in the Main Street Palace Theater. A back walkway connects it to the Iowa Cafe on Main Street for food and snacks.

During the first few weekends of operation, various school bands are invited to play in the park.

Each year, substance-free days are held in conjunction with D.A.R.E. There are no beer sales during these days.

Over Memorial Day weekend there is a military promotion.

There are five park areas available for company picnics, reunions, or other large gatherings.[10]

On October 3, 2015, Adventureland hosted its first Oktoberfest event. A $10 admission (with free parking) included one beer and access to a limited selection of rides and attractions during this one day event. Dozens of food and drink stands were brought in to the park (many from outside vendors). The 2nd annual Oktoberfest is scheduled for October 1, 2016.

Mascots and characters[edit]

The park's official mascot is Bernie Bernard, a St. Bernard dog.[1] A cartoon drawing of Bernie appears on park guides and maps, and a walk-around character poses for photos in the park. Another character, "Toby" the tiger, also walks around the park. According to Adventureland's public relations department, "Toby the tiger has been around about as long as Bernie, but is not in our ads, so he might not be as recognizable." There are two additional dog characters: Heather, also seen in the park; and Henry, who used to appear and was even sold as a stuffed animal.

For a special promotion in 2001, Garfield the cat appeared in the park with a special photo opportunity on Main Street.

An actor who plays an old west miner type character appeared for many years in TV commercials, and his voice is heard in The Underground narration (and as the voice of the old miner animatronic in the pre-show). A cartoon caricature of him appears as the "must be this tall to ride" sign outside of The Outlaw.

Gilda the Gorilla, a gorilla carrying around a person in a cage, has also been seen to roam the park.

At the ticket window of the Palace Theater, an animatronic character named P.T. Barnaby spiels about park happenings each year. He is currently voiced by Billy Martin, the ringmaster of the Royal Hanneford Circus.

There are many other costumed characters that have appeared in the park over the years.

Incidents[edit]

Tornado, June 2006[edit]

An 11-year-old girl sustained head trauma when a piece of wood was left behind by maintenance staff on the Tornado.[11] Mackenzie Hooper and two others were struck by the board when it became dislodged during the ride operation. One of the other two guests was treated at the park and the other sought treatment off-site. The injured girl sustained head injury and was transported to a local hospital. Witnesses on scene reported that neither local law enforcement, fire rescue services nor an ambulance were called to the scene. Mackenzie was reportedly transported to Mercy Medical Center by park staff where she underwent surgery to remove a blood clot, reduce swelling and suture lacerations on both sides of her head.

Raging River, June 2016[edit]

-Details- On the 7th of June 2016, 68 year old seasonal employee, Steve Booher was assisting on the Raging River ride when he fell in to the conveyor belt system that moves the ride rafts through the loading/unloading station.[12] Mr Booher was severely injured, fell in to a coma and died three days later at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

The Raging River is a water ride that requires at least three staff members to properly operate. Two assistants attend the loading and off-loading platform, assisting guests in and out of the ride rafts. The operator is located above the load/off-load area and is responsible for the safe operation of the ride and the movement of the rafts through the station. The operator has sole control of all ride operations.

At the time of the incident the design of the ride provided no safety cutout device for the two assistants at the guest platform. The ride operator was required to depend on visual cues from the assistants in the form of a "Thumbs-Up" signal to assure the guests and staff were safely clear of the operational portion of the ride before setting the rafts in motion. The operator did not wait for that signal and prematurely set the rafts in motion while both assistants were standing partly on the raft and partly on the ride platform assisting guests as prescribed by the operator manual and the very brief (often inadequate) hands-on training provided by supervisory staff.

The off-load assistant was thrown in to the raft along with some guests who held on to him until the raft stopped. Unfortunately, Mr Booher was thrown clear of the raft and landed on the conveyor system beneath it where he sustained severe head trauma and crushing injuries as the next raft passed over his body. Park supervision was notified and eventually Emergency services were called. Mr. Booher was treated on scene and transported to hospital where he later died of the injuries he sustained at the park.

-Aftermath- The ride was reopened the next day to normal operations. Park ownership, Management and supervision elected to keep the incident quiet and did not inform any of the park staff. Most park staff learned of the incident through news reports and guest queries.[13] Park management elected to not use the incident to discuss park safety or offer any form of condolences or remorse to the staff. Some staff reported that they were threatened with termination for discussing the incident.

OSHA conducted an investigation and found the ride was built and installed with inadequate safety devices. The park was fined $4500.00[14] and suggestions were made to install safety cutout devices for the assistants to ensure the ride vehicles could not be operated without intervention from all three ride operations staff. The ride was allowed to continue to operate as built (without any further safety devices) for the rest of the park's operating season. No further or supplemental safety briefings were given to staff assigned to operate the ride after the incident.

Approximately three weeks later a nearly identical incident occurred, injuring another member of the park staff. Once again park management refused to use the incidents to further enhance it's already lacking safety program and that incident was also quieted.

-Owners and management reaction- Molly Vincent (part owner and spokesperson) repeatedly declined to answer any questions[14] from the media regarding the incident or the result of the OSHA investigation. There was no official statement made by any of the park management or ownership and no public apology or remorse expressed to the family. As noted earlier the official policy relating to the incident within and without the park was one of not discussing the incident, not refreshing or enhancing safety procedures and not offering assistance or counseling to park staff. As noted earlier there were reports that park management threatened employment termination to employees that discussed the incident or the lack of safety protocols or programs within park employment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Adventureland – About". Adventurelandpark.com. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  2. ^ Finney, Daniel (February 20, 2010). "Adventureland fire destroys shops near Altoona park's entrance". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  3. ^ "Fire Crews Called to Adventureland". KCCI News 8. December 15, 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  4. ^ Pratt, Christopher (September 16, 2013). "Adventureland's Silly Silo has taken last spin". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  5. ^ http://whotv.com/2015/07/08/adventureland-to-build-new-roller-coaster-in-2016/
  6. ^ http://www.kclengineering.com
  7. ^ "Adventureland – Kiddie rides". Adventurelandpark.com. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  8. ^ a b "Adventureland – Thrill rides". Adventurelandpark.com. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  9. ^ "Adventureland – Games". Adventurelandpark.com. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  10. ^ "Adventureland Company Outings". Adventurelandpark.com. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  11. ^ "Board hits girl on head at Adventureland". kicentral.com. Retrieved 2006-07-29. 
  12. ^ "Adventureland worker who died just 6 days on the job". desmoinesregister.com. Retrieved 2016-06-14. 
  13. ^ "Adventureland Employee tells all on Blogpost". /w2bergen.com. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  14. ^ a b "Adventureland fined $4,500 in worker's death". desmoinesregister.com. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 

External links[edit]