Adventureland opens under new ownership. What amusement park fans should know about 2022 season

·9 min read

Adventureland Park will offer no shortage of new things to do when it opens for the 2022 season with nine new rides.

Pittsburgh-based Palace Entertainment bought the amusement park from the Krantz family in Des Moines last year for at least $24.5 million. The purchase came months after an incident on the park's Raging River ride resulted in the death of an 11-year-old child and seriously injured members of his family.

While there is new ownership and new rides, Adventureland attendees on the ground likely won't notice a huge difference in what they've come to expect from the amusement park.

"(We're) just understanding how the park works and operates," said Nick Paradise, the director of corporate communications at Palace Entertainment. “With the guest experience that’s a core part of what we focus on as a company, the most important thing is making sure our guests are having a safe time and fun time.”

More: Get to know the six roller coasters at Adventureland

What hours is Adventureland open?

For most of May, Adventureland was open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. That's changing this week.

On Friday, May 27, the park is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. That's also opening day for Adventure Bay, which is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are extended hours on Memorial Day weekend — 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for the amusement park and from 11 a.m. to 7 a.m. for Adventure Bay.

On Memorial Day, Adventureland moves to regular summer hours and is open seven days a week.

  • Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Adventureland; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Adventure Bay

  • Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Adventureland; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Adventure Bay

  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Adventureland; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Adventure Bay

Fans should check Adventureland's website to confirm hours and to look for special hours of operation.

More: Adventureland rolls out four new foods including Beyond chicken strips and Buffalo cheese curds

How much are Adventureland tickets?

Tickets for Adventureland vary in price.

Day tickets start at $50 and two-day tickets are $80. Season passes range from Bronze to Platinum levels, with prices from $89 to $514 depending on level and method of purchase.

Parking for the venue ranges from $13 to $18.

More information about the venue and pricing can be found online at adventurelandresort.com.

When does Adventure Bay open in 2022?

Adventure Bay Waterpark is scheduled to open on May 27, Memorial Day weekend. Adventureland Park opened for season pass holders on the weekend of May 7. The general public was able to go on weekends, starting a week later.

Where is Adventureland?

Adventureland is located at 3200 Adventureland Drive in Altoona, northeast of Des Moines.

More: How to spend a perfect day in downtown Des Moines with food, drinks and more

Adventureland goes cashless

One of the most significant changes that won’t immediately be visually apparent is the fact that the park is going cashless. While attendees will still be able to use cash to park their vehicles, once inside the park, they won’t be able use cash, only debit and credit cards. However, those who don’t know or forget and end up coming with cash will be able to exchange it Visa gift cards ranging from $1 to $500 at various locations within the park.

What's new at Adventureland in 2022?

Though Adventureland previously announced eight new attractions would be coming in 2022, there will in fact be nine new rides introduced this year. Some of these rides are already installed or being installed on-site and plans indicate that all will be operational in time for the amusement park's spring opening.

"Over the last five or six years, Adventureland added three new roller coasters from 2016-2021, which is very unusual," Paradise said. "It felt like time to enhance those family aspects."

The new rides appeal to a younger audience. Though some of these new attractions may be delayed depending on shipping and other outside factors, crowds should expect all nine new rides at the park this summer.

More: Want in on secret spots to have fun in Des Moines? We've got a newsletter for that.

What are the new rides at Adventureland in 2022?

All of the following rides come from the ride manufacturer Zamperla except The Clipper, made by Sartori Rides.

1. Lighthouse

The Lighthouse has already been installed at Adventureland and will be ready for the 2022 season at the amusement park.
The Lighthouse has already been installed at Adventureland and will be ready for the 2022 season at the amusement park.

Adventureland removed the Lighthouse and replaced it with a new version. The new Lighthouse, already ready for new riders, features seats attached to the tower that then lift park-goers up and down on the tower with riders able to influence how much the ride bounces.

Lighthouse is located next to the Dragon Island bridge in the park.

2. The Clipper

Another already announced attraction is The Clipper, which is essentially a miniature version of The Galleon — a ship that swings back-and-forth with riders on board. According to Paradise, The Clipper won't go as high or as fast as its full-sized counterpart.

The Clipper will be located next to The Galleon in the park.

3. Leap Frogs

Leap Frogs is among the nine new rides being introduced at Adventureland for 2022 largely aimed at younger park-goers.
Leap Frogs is among the nine new rides being introduced at Adventureland for 2022 largely aimed at younger park-goers.

Leap Frogs loads riders onto one of many frog-shaped cars that bob up and down while carrying passengers in a circle.

Leap Frogs will be located next to the Coca-Cola Cafe in the park.

4. The Warhawks

An example of The Warhawks ride planned to appear at Adventureland in 2022.
An example of The Warhawks ride planned to appear at Adventureland in 2022.

The Warhawks loads riders onto separate planes that follow a track. While going around on the ride, passengers are able to influence the tilt of their particular fighter plane.

The Warhawks will be located on Dragon Island inside of the station that once led to The Dragon roller coaster in the park.

5. The Revolution

The Revolution is one of the latest rides that will be brought to Adventureland for 2022.
The Revolution is one of the latest rides that will be brought to Adventureland for 2022.

Another boat-themed ride is The Revolution. Similar to The Clipper, it swings back-and-forth, however, it does so a half-pipe-shaped track that allows the vehicle to rotate 360-degrees while in motion.

The Revolution will be located next to Tilt and the Hamptons in the park.

6. Bernie’s Swing

An example of the ride model that will be known as Bernie's Swing once it's installed in Adventureland for the 2022 season.
An example of the ride model that will be known as Bernie's Swing once it's installed in Adventureland for the 2022 season.

Named after Adventureland's St. Bernard mascot, Bernie's Swing seats everyone on a singular swing that rocks to and fro.

Bernie's Swing will be located next to the Himalaya ride at the park.

7. Circus Balloons

Circus Balloons joins the array of new Adventureland rides for the 2022 season.
Circus Balloons joins the array of new Adventureland rides for the 2022 season.

Described by Paradise as "a younger children's version" of Balloon Race, Circus Balloons is designed so its individual cars each resemble a hot air balloon. Once passengers are on board, the cars lift off the ground and spin in circles.

The Circus Balloons can be found across from the Space Shot ride in the park.

8. Speedway Racers

An image of Speedway Racers will look like when it comes to Adventureland in 2022.
An image of Speedway Racers will look like when it comes to Adventureland in 2022.

Paradise described Speedway Racers as an all-ages ride that a parent or older sibling might get on with a younger child. Riders sit in one of a number of cars that run along a track in the shape of a motor speedway.

Speedway Racers will be located in the Main Street Arcade in the park.

9. Rockin’ Rainbow

Rockin' Rainbow is one of the nine new rides being introduced to Adventureland for 2022.
Rockin' Rainbow is one of the nine new rides being introduced to Adventureland for 2022.

Paradise noted that park-goers may think of Rockin' Rainbow colloquially as "big swings." The ride seats each individual in a separate swing before spinning riders around in a circle, similar to a carousel. Though versions of the ride elsewhere might be seen going high up in the air, the eventual Adventureland installation of the ride will remain relatively close to the ground.

Rockin' Rainbow is located at the end of Main Street in the park.

More: Get to know the six roller coasters at Adventureland, opening for the season on May 14

Another new ride on the way

While Adventureland officials did not say when a new ride announcement is coming, you can see the footprint for where it will be in the spot where the Falling Star was once located. The new ride will be announced later this year.

What rides have been removed from Adventureland?

As previously announced, Adventureland removed three rides, in part, to make room for the new set of attractions. The removed rides include Falling Star, which spun passengers 360 degrees in the air; Lighthouse, replaced by a new version of the ride; and Lady Luck, a roulette wheel-themed spinning ride.

The Circus Balloons ride under construction at Adventureland in Altoona, Friday, April 15, 2022.
The Circus Balloons ride under construction at Adventureland in Altoona, Friday, April 15, 2022.

Which rides moved at Adventureland?

Three existing rides moved: Ladybug, Scrambler and Red Baron. This was done in part to prepare for additional installations ownership hopes to introduce next year. Ladybug moved 5 yards away from its previous location. The Scrambler moved the furthest, now 100 yards from its previous spot, and the Red Baron was only moved about 15 yards in order to make room for Rockin’ Rainbow.

Balloon Ride has not moved yet, but the park is expecting to change its location before the end of this summer.

Why is the Raging River closed at Adventureland?

Paradise noted that there are currently no updates on when and whether Raging River, the water ride that sends passengers through rapids on large circular rafts using a conveyor belt, will reopen. Adventureland first introduced the ride in 1983.

Following the death of an 11-year-old boy last year, park officials announced that the ride would shut down and be placed under review. No new information regarding the ride's future is available.

Chicken sandwich at Adventureland in Altoona on Friday, May 6 2022.
Chicken sandwich at Adventureland in Altoona on Friday, May 6 2022.

What are the new food options at Adventureland?

Rides aren’t the only things that have been added to and shuffled around for the year as four new dishes have been added throughout the park. This includes Beyond Meat chicken tenders, loaded mac and cheese, a spicy chicken sandwich and Buffalo cheese curds. Long-time parkgoers can also expect to find Adventureland’s mini-doughnuts back in the usual mini-doughnut stand.

New coat of paint

In general, visitors should expect touch ups to the park and — in particular — Main Street. From repairs done to facilities and revamping done for shops, everything hopefully seems inviting to those who haven’t been there before and fresh but familiar to lifelong visitors. In addition to the new rides and new food items, expect to see new merchandise and refreshed looks on familiar buildings.

Oktoberfest goes big in 2022 at Adventureland

Oktoberfest this year is going to be bigger and better than before with an additional weekend of celebration at the park according to Bill Lentz, the new general manager at Adventureland. Park goers will have two weekends — as opposed to just one — to get out to Adventureland for Oktoberfest.

“We’re looking to make a few more changes, but (we’ll have) a little more information about that later,” said Lentz during last week’s media day.

Will there be a Renaissance Faire at Adventureland?

No. Though the venue had announced the intent to start a Renaissance Faire before Palace Entertainment purchased the amusement park, the new owners don't plan to introduce a Renaissance Faire to Adventureland.

More: Global theme park chain will buy Altoona's Adventureland, ending decades of local ownership

Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Des Moines Register. Reach him at ihamlet@gannett.com or 319-600-2124, or follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Adventureland 2022 tickets, hours and new rides at the Iowa park