Park Charming: Adventureland USA

Of course we all know the big (chain) parks like Six Flags *you name the place*, Cedar Point, Europa Park etc. But are those big parks really the most fun? Theme Park World loves small but charming parks! These parks prove every visit that you don’t need to have record roller coasters to offer their guests a day of fun. In this series of articles named ‘park charming’ we highlight a small but charming park. First park to be highlighted is Iowa’s Adventureland USA!

Iowa is not quite a special state when it comes to theme parks and roller coasters. It has only seven operational roller coasters, that amount ranks Iowa on a shared 20th place on the list of roller coasters per (American) state. Those seven roller coasters are split over two theme parks, two of them in Arnolds Park and the other five at the park we’re highlighting today: Adventureland USA!

Forget Anaheim or Orlanda, you can also go to the city of Altoona in Iowa if you want to visit a Disney park. Bullshit I hear you say? Well… no and yes. No, Disney does not have a theme park in Iowa. But yes, the Disney company assisted Adventureland with the early park planning. The resemblance is indisputable when you see enter Adventureland. It looks a copy paste from the Disney parks! … With less details to be honest, but still.

You see this train station in the middle and to enter the park you have to go under a bridge left or right from the station. It takes you in the main street, build in a classic American style. Another resemblance with Disney! But yet again, with less details. Once out of the main street, Adventureland’s real charm is played out: green! Many and well maintained foliage. Adventureland proves you don’t need fake mountains or big facades to create a cosy atmosphere.

Adventureland is a classic example of how you can feel the love the family that owns it puts in the park. It has a stable and calm history, though the opening of the park in 1974 had to be deferred because of storm damage. That however was no sign at the wall and the park developed itself at a calm but steady pace. But that doesn’t mean Adventureland doesn’t have anything to offer when it comes to roller coasters.

Take the Tornado for example. When it opened on the 4th of July in 1978 it was soon listed among the top ten of wooden roller coasters in the world. And it’s still going strong today! Another unique roller coaster is the Underground, a wooden roller coaster from CCI built completely indoor. True, most part looks more like a dark ride but it’s built as a roller coaster and there’s enough part of roller coaster in it to count it as one.

Dragon is also unique as it one of only seven Hopcin roller coasters still operational today, and only tree of those seven have inversions. If that’s a positive uniqueness, we don’t dare to say. But we do dare say it’s location with Tornado on the background is lovely and very photogenic! A bit more special and worthwhile a ride is Outlaw. While it’s built by CCI, the designer of Outlaw (Mike Boodley)  transferred to GCI later on. The typical GCI-ness is noticeable in for that reason. You won’t find Outlaw in any top ten wooden roller coasters list, but it is a very fun roller coaster to ride!

Outlaw: half CCI, half GCI

And in 2016, the park added a Gerstlauer Infinity coaster. Monster has a custom lay-out, so you won’t find this roller coaster anywhere else but at Adventureland! With a height of 40,5 meter/133 feet, it’s even the third highest Gerstlauer coaster in the world. Next to these five roller coasters, the park offers also a bunch of family, thrill and water rides. Adventureland even has his own water park!

It’s easy to chose a park like Six Flags Saint-Louis that has more coasters, Adventureland can not compete in that category if you only look at statistics. But you can feel the love the Krantz family is putting in their park, they created one of coziest theme parks out there! If you plan a theme park trip in the nearby region, think about these arguments to put Adventureland USA on your trip:

  • Five roller coasters, no record breakers but special in their own way
  • The visible touch the Disney company had in the early park planning, where can you find that in a park that’s not owned by the Disney company?
  • One of the coziest and most green theme parks out there. If you love being out in the nature, you will enjoy this park!
  • Super friendly staff
  • They have their own water park!
  • Exactly in the middle between Valleyfair and Worlds of Fun, Adventureland USA is the ideal park to combine those two parks with.


Come and explore Adventureland USA further on in our gallery!

Post Author: Frederik

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