Adventure Bay Tips For Families


Adventure Bay is the water park area of Adventureland amusement park, a Des Moines area favorite. It features a wave pool, slides, lazy river and lots of fun things for young children to do. We spent a day splashing around at the park this summer and had a great time. Here are some tips for you:

1. Do the water park first thing in the morning. As the day gets longer and hotter, more people will find their way to the back of the park to cool off in the water. If you do the water park first, you can avoid the crowds and shlepping all your pool stuff around while doing rides. Adventure Bay is located at the very back of Adventureland. It is a good walk to get there so it helps to get there early while your family’s legs are still fresh.

2. Stake out a good home base of sun chairs. Snagging a sun chair is important to having a home base at the water park and the earlier you get there the better chance you have of a good spot. We managed to score some in the shade under the big waterslides but a little bit of shade is hard to come by. We always had at least one person watching our spot (we were there with my parents and sister so plenty of adults) but I would feel safe leaving my personal items at the chair. I did keep my cash and phone on me in a waterproof pouch that hung around my neck in a super cool way but you can also rent lockers for $10. If you don’t want to worry about finding a chair or place to set your stuff you can rent a cabana for the day for a price of $55-200 depending on season and cabana location.

3. Take cash. Admission to Adventure Bay is included with your Adventureland park ticket, but you will need cash if you want to rent an inner tube for the lazy river or wave pool. Tubes are not required to enjoy these attractions but we enjoyed using them. The slides that require tubes are free to use but you can’t use the slide tubes elsewhere. You will get $2 back if you return the tubes with your bracelet (you don’t have to wear it- I put mine in my pouch).

4. Wear a life jacket. This one is for the kids- if you have a life jacket, bring it along otherwise there are plenty complimentary ones for you to use. We get nervous at big, busy pools with a three year old and just helps us feel better if he has his life jacket on. Almost all the young children I saw were also wearing life jackets also. Please note, the water park feels very safe with lots of lifeguards at every slide and patrolling the water areas. There is no standing water in the children’s area- just lots of sprinklers, fountains and water slides.

5. Bring a change clothes that you can wear over your swimsuit. Clothing is required to enter back into Adventureland park. My son wore his swim trunks and a rash guard and he was fine (and bonus that it dried quickly). You might also think about bringing a travel towel that packs up small so you have less to carry around- wet towels get heavy! We spent time drying in the sun while enjoying an ice cream cone so we weren’t too wet by the time we were ready to leave and enjoy rides.

6. Join in on the fun! I had a great time enjoying the water park, probably just as much as my young son and he had a blast! Don’t be afraid about embarrassing yourself by going down a water slide or surfing the waves on an inner tube because you will have a ball and make good family memories while you are at it.

We had a great time at Adventure Bay and hope you get a chance to visit soon!

If you have visited recently, do you have any tips to add to the list? I’d love to hear them!


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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