Iowa may be landlocked, but visitors to Adventureland Park in Altoona will soon hear the call of the sea as two new Viking-themed rides are added to the park.
A new roller coaster and log ride will join the park’s attractions for the 2023 season, Adventureland general manager Bill Lentz announced at a news conference Tuesday.
“We’re very excited for all the things that we’ve actually done here since Palace has taken over,” Lentz said, referring to parent company Palace Entertainment, which bought the amusement park in December. “We have a lot of changes we’ve made. We’ve also added a lot of new attractions all throughout the year. So we’re excited to continue that trend.”
The Flying Viking, a junior coaster with a height requirement of only 36 inches, will take park visitors along a twisting 1,312-foot track at a maximum speed of 26 mph.
“We’re very excited to bring this coaster in,” Lentz said. “The exciting thing about this attraction is the height requirement for accompanied guests is only 36 inches, so the kids are going to be able to ride it.”
When Lentz announced a new log ride, the room broke into applause and cheers.
The former log ride closed after the 2015 season, with the Monster roller coaster taking its spot. The change upset many Iowans — fans created a Save the Log Ride Facebook page after the news broke, and a Register poll from 2015 found that more than 96% of respondents were sad to see the ride go.
Draken Falls, the new log ride featuring a six-person Viking ship, will splash guests as they travel along 1,214 feet of track at a maximum speed of 34 mph. The new log ride will have a 42-inch height requirement for accompanied minors, 48 inches for unaccompanied minors.
“These are larger boats than our last log ride,” Lentz said.
The two rides will be layered on top of each other to better use space in the park.
“Inside the building in the queue area, we worked with our design company to capture that Viking theme, and it’s going to be all the way through the roof,” Lentz said. “And the most exciting thing about this area is that these attractions are actually layered on top of each other, which is a very unique way to try to gain space and a lot of activity in one small area.”
The future of Adventureland attractions
The Flying Viking and Draken Falls are only the beginning of Palace Entertainment’s plans for Adventureland, according to Lentz.
“We don’t just have these new rides coming in 2023,” Lentz said. “Palace has committed to spend literally tens of millions of dollars over the next several years adding more attractions, looking to further expand areas of the park, really continue to grow and make Adventureland a neat place to come in Iowa, not just here in the area.”
Pittsburgh-based Palace Entertainment, owned by Parques Reunidos in Madrid, Spain, bought the park in December 2021 after decades of family ownership by the Krantz family.
This year, the park opened nine new rides that include Circus Balloons, Rockin’ Rainbow and the Clipper.
Palace owns parks that include Pennsylvania’s Kennywood, Noah’s Ark Waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells, Castle Park in Riverside, California, and Sea Life Park Hawaii in Oahu. It also owns Raging Waters — Sydney in Australia. Its parent company operates more than 60 amusement parks and similar attractions around the world, primarily in Europe.
Lentz said Palace’s planned renovations at Adventureland include infrastructure improvements, beautification, updates to Adventureland Inn and possibly an expansion of the Adventure Bay waterpark area.
Season passes for next year, which are not usually available until after the current season ends, go on sale Tuesday. Park-goers who purchase a 2023 season pass now will also be granted access to the park for the remainder of the 2022 season, according to Lentz.
“I grew up here in Altoona. We moved here in 1977,” Altoona Mayor Dean O’Connor recalled at the announcement. “One of the first things you do when you move to a city like this is go to Adventureland. I remember that first summer in 1977 coming to Adventureland, and how special and cool it was. And it’s changed a lot since that time. It’s a fantastic amenity for not only central Iowa and the Midwest, but it really makes Altoona special and a great place to live and to visit. So we’re very, very happy for this announcement today.”
Grace Altenhofen is a news reporter for the Des Moines Register. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gracealtenhofen.