Updated for Summer of 2020
A water park is hard to beat on a hot summer day! With summer’s heat on the horizon, I’m re-living the fun my family had at Lost Island Water Park in Waterloo last summer. We hardly noticed the blazing July temps as we floated along the lazy river and enjoyed the waterslides and other thrill rides. Lost Island offers all the fun of much larger water parks, with a solid family-friendly vibe and fun rides for all ages. It was also named the second-best outdoor water park in the country for 2017, according to a reader poll from a list of 20 possibilities in USA Today.
Due to COVID-19 the water park is operating at reduced capacity. Once capacity is reached, they follow a “One in, one out” policy. As of June 26, 2020 they are offering a “Park Pass”to guarantee your admission on a specific date. The Pass must be purchased at least a day before your visit, and will guarantee your spot in the park capacity.
Lost Island sits on 24 acres making it a fairly compact water park, which is one of the reasons that makes it so great for families. You can get to every ride in one visit if you stay all day. Once we found some lounge chairs, slathered on the sunscreen and had all our stuff stored safely away, we headed to the Tsunami Bay Wave Pool to cool off and figure out which ride to try first. My kids had so much fun in the waves, I had to remind them there was more to see and do.
We decided to ride a few rides together before dividing up. We made a beeline from the wave pool to the Molokini Crater, a 4-person ride, where you go down a long tunnel going back and forth, side to side, before gliding through a waterfall and splashing down in the pool below. Our next stop was the Wailua Kupua, one of Lost Island’s“major water slides”, it’s a hydromagnetic water coaster that seats up to four people. The kids loved that we were able to experience both rides together.
We visited several more rides (some more than once), breaking periodically to eat, hydrate, and reapply sunscreen. We saved the Lost Souls Fall for later in the day. Described as, “Not for the faint of heart”, you free fall at 28 feet per second down this slide. I’d say it’s probably the scariest—er, most thrilling—ride at Lost Island. Both of my kiddos, who were 11 and 8 at the time, took on the massive ride with their dad (I’m showing my age, as I opted to watch from the sidelines;)—and they loved it, of course!
Overall, our visit to Lost Island was fantastic, and was one of the highlights of our summer. The park offers so many rides and attractions, with areas for toddlers and preschoolers including Starfish Cove and the Blue Iguana Lagoon for Kids. The Wave Pool, Kailahi River, and Blue Iguana Lagoon are also great for visitors of all ages.
The entire park maintains a solid family-friendly atmosphere and I was impressed with the staff—from attentive and plentiful lifeguards, to polite and friendly waitstaff, everyone we encountered was helpful. Also, the grounds are well maintained. As crowded as the park was on our visit, we saw no litter or messes from food or drinks, and the bathrooms we used were clean, which for those of you unfamiliar with pool or water park bathrooms, isn’t always the case.
Know Before You Go
- Parking is FREE.
- Inner tubes are provided FREE-of-charge and are located in tube corrals near each attraction where they’re needed.
- Life jackets are available free-of-charge.You can also bring along your own, as long as, it’s coast guard approved.
- Towels are not provided, so bring your own.
- Diaper age children must wear plastic pants or swim diapers.
- Outside food and beverages are not allowed in the park. There are several food and drink concessions available throughout the park.
- Restrooms are located throughout the park with showers and changing areas located near the entrance.
- There are height restrictions for some of the attractions.
- You’ll find seating everywhere, some shaded. I was pleasantly surprised by all the lounge chairs and seating areas throughout the entire park.
- Private cabanas are available to rent and it’s recommended that they be reserved in advance.
- Try to visit on a weekday, if you can. The park is less crowded and cabana reservations cost less. Plan to arrive as early as possible. If a half-day is all you need, consider a late afternoon visit after the morning crowd and summer camps have departed.
Lost Island is in Waterloo, which is about a two-hour drive from Des Moines. The park opens for the summer on June 20 and is open daily until August 23, 2020 and then open on the weekend, August 29-30, 2020. You can purchase a Day Pass or 2-Day Pass, with discounts for booking online. Check the website for full pricing information. Season passes, and group rates are also available.
Address: 2225 E. Shaulis Road, Waterloo, IA 50701
Phone: (319) 233-8414
Have you and your family been to Lost Island water park in Waterloo? If so, what’s your favorite ride or attraction?