Tips 4 a Family Fun Day at Adventureland and Adventure Bay –

Tips 4 a Family Fun Day at Adventureland and Adventure Bay

Since we moved back to Des Moines we’ve made a point to visit Adventureland at least once a summer. The kids have already asked when we’ll be going this summer (and, are anxious to get to Adventure Bay; come on Mother Nature, bring on the summer temps!). To help you make the most of a day at Adventureland, here are a few of our tips. 

Know Before You Go

  • Hours of Operation: Adventureland is open weekends starting April 25th til May 10th. The park is open daily May 16th through August 23rd and then only open on weekends August 27th til September 27th.  Park hours vary, so be sure to double check what the hours are for the day you will be attending.
  • Cost of Regular Ticket: Children age 3 or younger FREE; Child (4-9 yrs) $35.00; Adult (10 yrs+) $40.00; and Senior (65 yrs+) $35.00.
  • Parking: Surface parking is available for $10.00.
  • Food: Outside food and beverages are not permitted. Adventureland offers a wide variety of food and beverages for purchase at several concession and restaurant locations.
  • Prior to your visit check out Adventureland’s website where you’ll find everything you need to know about the Park.

Adventureland - Tickets - Front Gate

Finding Discount Tickets

Adventureland offers a few different ticket options, including a Season Pass and Two-Day Pass. For those that will be visiting the Park multiple times, these are probably the best deals.  For those of you that will be attending the amusement park for just one day, there are a number of ways that you can save.

AAA: Your AAA Membership Card saves you on your admission to Adventureland when you show your card at the gate. AAA Members save $5.00 off per ticket in the months of April, May and September; $4.00 off per ticket in the month of June; and $2.00 off in the months of July and August.

Catch Des Moines Website:  Check their Deals & Discounts tab for savings to attractions in the greater Des Moines area.  At post date, they had a coupon for $5.00 off per ticket in the months of April, May and September; $4.00 off per ticket in the month of June; and $2.00 off in the months of July and August.

Corporate:  Many companies sell discounted tickets to their employees through Adventureland’s Corporate Partner Program.  Be sure to check to see if your company is one that does.  Another corporate discount offered are “Fun Club Family Discount Cards”. They are provided for FREE to companies and all they have to do is pass them out to their employees. The passes offer discount ticket prices all summer long and can be used unlimited times.

Groups: Discounted group rates are available at Adventureland for groups of 15 or more all attending the same day.  You can also purchase food coupons for groups that can provide a meal for just $6.00 per person (minimum purchase of 15).

Hy-Vee: Coupons are usually available at Iowa Hy-Vee stores, with varying discounts through September.  These coupons are subject to supply availability.

Military: Simply show your military ID at the front gate and you can buy up to six tickets at $30.00 each.

Parks & Recreation Departments: Coupons are usually available at many Des Moines area parks and recreation departments or municipalities, with varying discounts through September.  These coupons are subject to supply availability.

Season Pass Holders:  Season Pass Holders can purchase up to two tickets per visit.  Tickets must be used the day of purchase.  Discounts range from $6.00 to $10.00 off per ticket.

Taco Johns: Coupons are usually available at Iowa Taco Johns, with varying discounts through September.  These coupons are subject to supply availability.

Tips 4 a Family Fun Day at Adventureland and Adventure Bay –

While You’re There

As a native Iowan, I have fond summer memories of visiting Adventureland as a kid and teen and spending an entire day riding every ride and roller coaster multiple times, including the beloved Silly Silo, which has unfortunately been retired.  I also remember plunging down the flume ride and getting soaked; and gobbling up all the scrumptious ice cream my tummy could hold.

Time has changed a few things at Adventureland, including the addition of Adventure Bay.  Yet it still seems just like it did then and remains an enjoyable amusement park to now share with my kiddos.  There’s enough to keep everyone occupied, including several family rides, roller coasters ranging from mild to wild, and plenty of drenching water rides.

Tips 4 a Family Fun Day at Adventureland and Adventure Bay –

Adventureland also boasts an enormous ferris wheel that lights up the sky at night and offers a spectacular view of the park. Classic family rides, such as the carousel, Tilt-A-Whirl, and bumper cars, and many beloved carnival and arcade games are scattered throughout the park’s 180 acres. Families with young children won’t find a shortage of kiddie rides, either.

The addition of Adventure Bay has provided opportunities for some splashtastic fun.  Whether you’re swimming, sliding or riding a wave, Adventure Bay offers a number of ways to cool off. The Park features a wave pool, eight water slides and a long lazy river. Younger children will enjoy Kokomo Cove which has seven water slides and over 100 other water features such as tipping cones, hose jets, water guns and more.

Tips 4 a Family Fun Day at Adventureland and Adventure Bay –

There’s different schools of thought on how to best attack the park and avoid long lines.  We’ve had great luck hopping on the Sky Ride and making our way to the back of the park to start our day in Adventure Bay.  The morning can be a bit cool for the water rides, but you will be able to go down the slides as many times as you want without hardly waiting in a line.

Last summer we started our day in Adventure Bay and there were hardly any other people in the wave pool with us.  The one drawback is having to carry your wet towels and suits around with you.  But you can always have someone run them out to the car.

Tips 4 a Family Fun Day at Adventureland and Adventure Bay –

We’ve also gone to the Park on cloudy/rainy days, which typically scare away other attendees.   Again, lines were short and we were able to ride rides several times in a row with virtually no wait.  If there is rain in the forecast, be sure to come prepared with ponchos, which also come in handy on the water rides!

Whatever path you decide to take through the Park, you will want to wear comfy shoes.  There is a ton of walking at Adventureland.  If you have small children consider taking breaks throughout the day.  And, don’t forget the sunscreen, you don’t want a sunburn to ruin anybody’s fun.

Tips 4 a Family Fun Day at Adventureland and Adventure Bay –


I bring my trusty backpack to the park and I have the kids wear their’s too.  I probably shouldn’t divulge this but I typically pack water bottles and a few small snacks. (Remember there is a no outside food policy at Adventureland!) Bags are checked when you enter the park.  I don’t hide the fact I’m bringing the contraband snack items into the Park and I’ve never had anything confiscated.  I’m sure it depends on the person checking your bag.  I typically fill the water bottles up at home, but you could also bring empty water bottles and then fill them up once you’re inside the Park.

My son purchased a large refillable Adventureland souvenir cup with a straw a few years ago and we take it with us every time we go to the Park.  He loves to go to those Icee© stations and fill it up with every flavor available.  Once you have the cup the refills are a lot cheaper than buying new every time.  It’s a good deal AND a great souvenir all in one.

Your tickets allow you to go in and out of the park.  To help cut down on costs, bring along a picnic lunch in a cooler and take a break at either lunch or dinner. You’ll find many people dining in the parking lot or at picnic tables near the entrance.  This is also a good time to dump off that wet towel and suit and it’s a nice break to the day.

After Your Visit

A day playing at Adventureland can be exhausting! If you don’t want to make the trek back to Des Moines (or wherever you’re from) right away, book a room at Adventureland Resort. Little ones will love swimming in one of the hotel’s three pools. There’s also a campground that has its own outdoor pool.  Bonus, the resort offers trolley rides to and from the amusement park exclusively for campground & hotel guests.

305 34th Ave NW
Altoona, IA 50009
(515) 266-2121


Are you a regular at Adventureland?  Share your tips with us in the Comment section below.

  1. Going to Adventureland for the first time- thanks for all of the tips! They are definitely coming in handy 🙂

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