Last summer, our family of 5 had season passes to Adventureland and we used them nearly every weekend throughout the summer. There was a time when we avoided Adventureland. Not because we didn’t like it, but because we weren’t sure how good it was for young kids. Now that we’re in our sophomore year of season passes (and in our third year of attending the amusement park), we know just how great it is for kids (and how much fun too).
NOTE: Please check the Adventureland Park website directly to view COVID-19 changes.
We’ve learned quite a few tricks and tips in all of our visits and we picked out our top tips to share with everyone who plans on attending Adventureland with kids in tow:
- Pack plenty of water or Gatorade. Adventureland will allow you to bring your own in (all other food and/or drinks must be purchased at the park). Also, pack sunscreen, extra clothes for after water rides, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Flip flops are never a good idea at an amusement park. Also, having long hair pulled back into a pony tail will keep hair out of faces while going on rides.
- Be sure to take sunglasses off before rides. Just saying because this may have happened a time or two to me.
- To get more than your money’s worth of admission prices, be sure to go when Adventure Bay is open as well (it has shorter hours than the rest of the park). If you plan to go to Adventure Bay as well as go on rides, wear your swimming suite under all of your clothes.
- Adhere to regular snack and meal times while you’re at the park. Avoid the hangry kid. There’s plenty of snack and meal options in the park. Definitely budget food into your day because it can get pricey (lunch for 5 of us costs $30 to $40 depending on what we get).
- Watch/know the predicted forecast. Some rides will shut down if the winds are too high or if there’s rain. We went one day two years ago with rain showers predicted. While it was an unforgettable experience to ride the Tornado in pouring down rain, that may not be what you’re going for.
- Go at the best times possible for your kids. If you’re kids nap in the afternoon, go first thing in the morning or immediately after naps (the park is open later throughout the month of July, making it a great time to go in the late afternoons/evenings).
- Check out season passes. Season passes are more than worth it for us. If we were to go a total of 3 times, the passes more than pay for themselves. There’s been many days we just go for a quick visit to ride the kiddie rides, or we do a big day of riding all the rides, or we just do the water park. We spent very little money last summer on pools because we just went to Adventure Bay any time we wanted to be in water. It was great! Also, parking is free with season passes.
- Work your way back to front. We typically go to Adventureland on the weekends, when they’re the busiest. We’ve found it helpful to walk to the back of the park and work our way forward. The back of the park has no lines because everyone starts at the front. By the time we’ve made our way to the front, everyone is at the back of the park. This is great to do if you have young kids.
- We found 4 or 5 is about the perfect age to go. Not only do most 4 year olds not require naps and can go for longer periods, but they can do nearly all of the rides at Adventureland and enjoy quite a few features of Adventure Bay. Last year, our 7 year old (who is extremely tall for his age) outgrew quite a few of the kiddie rides (he surpassed height limits). He handled it well but was still disappointed. We loved when he was around 4/5 because he could not only go on the kiddie rides, but all of the other rides as well.
- If you have a lot of stuff (bag full of extra clothes after swimming, flip flops, etc.), there’s lockers in Adventure Bay that you can rent a locker to keep your items safe.
- The Monster (a brand new and highly rated roller coaster that replaced the Log Ride) opens in June. It may be wise to skip the first week or two the coaster is open because it will draw a lot of people!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to put my hands up on the Tornado.
About the Author
Ashlen Sheaffer is a proud Des Moines resident who was born and raised here. Ashlen wears many hats: mom, wife, daycare provider at her in-home daycare, blogger and co-owner at The Kidsperts, children’s book author, and codirector and producer for the upcoming play Expressing Motherhood play. In her free time Ashlen enjoys exploring all Des Moines has to offer, road trips, and adventuring all with the kids in tow. Ashlen is super excited to be able to share some of her family’s adventuring with other Iowans and get other families out into the community.