This year, a family obligation brought us to Adventureland in Altoona, IA. Despite the convincing jingle, we had pretty low expectations. ;) When we arrived at the park, we were able to get a front row parking space right near the gate. I was impressed, but thought maybe it was just because most people didn't go there. We were greeted warmly at the front gate, by young-ish people who were smiley, friendly, and helpful. (So far, so good) As we walked through the tunnel leading into the park, all my Adventureland cynicism began to fade. What we saw was a very pretty, clean, cute, old-fashioned town. The train station up on the hill had a few riders ready to go. Our gang started out on the carousel. There weren't many people there yet, so they went about 6 times before we called it quits. We wandered into a couple of the shops where I was once again taken aback. Instead of ridiculously priced hunks of junk, we found some very cute, REASONABLE souvenirs. Then we started on the rides. Everyone wanted to go in different directions, so we found some mid-ground and let the kids wander a bit from there. It felt like a safe, local park. The grounds were clean and very well-maintained. The only ride we passed that had had, er...an incident on it, had 4 men cleaning it up with different types of cleaning implements. We spent 7 hours there and still weren't able to see and do everything. I'd wager we missed half the park. We got a brief stop at the water park but unfortunately a storm drove us out. (You could spend an entire day right there!!)
Here are some reasons we were REALLY impressed by Adventureland...
*Tickets are reasonable. If you do any scouting around, or if you bring 15 or more people, you'll get discounts off the $40 gate price.
*You can bring in your own water bottles! That is a huge money saver right there! You can't bring in food, but you can eat outside the grounds in a shaded area.
*You can leave and re-enter the park without any rigamarole. They stamp you, check you and you're back to having fun.
*The entire park is smoke-free! No walking through smoke clouds or finding cigarette butts on the ground.
*Their maps are really helpful. One section is set up with two columns "If you are looking for..." and "You'll find it at..."
*Souvenirs and many snacks are very reasonable. We got sno-cones for $2/each.
*The employees are all really professional and were all very nice.
*The amazing waterpark, Adventure Bay was included in our admission price. There are cabanas and lockers around you can rent and the area is huge and REALLY good for older kids. (I wouldn't recommend a full day there with an under 5 or so. Many of the rides are REALLY big and the lazy river is pretty fast)
*Even though we aren't huge amusement park people, we had a GREAT time!
Adventureland, my apologies to you! My snobbery and disdain for you all these years was COMPLETELY unwarranted! I would go back in a heartbeat. We really DID have a fun-filled day!