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The two RV Gypsies in Altoona, Iowa
& Adventureland
USA mao showing location of Iowamap showing location of Altoona in Iowa
Welcome to Altoona sign
Altoona is a city in Polk County, Iowa and is a part of the Des Moines–West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Altoona is home of Adventureland, an amusement park, Prairie Meadows, a horse racing track and casino, and a Bass Pro Shops retail store, the first one in central Iowa.

History bookAltoona incorporated as a city on March 11, 1876. It is named for the Latin word for "high," altus, after surveyor Julian B. Bausman discovered that Altoona was the highest point on the Des Moines Valley Railroad between Des Moines and Keokuk.

By the turn of the 20th century, Altoona could almost be classified as a coal camp. United Mine Workers of America Local 407 was organized in Altoona in 1897, and by 1902, it had 61 members. This was close to 20% of the population at the time.

Adventureland sign

Adventureland is a family-owned amusement park in Altoona, Iowa located off exit 142A of I-80, along U.S. Highway 65, near Altoona, just northeast of Des Moines. It features over 100 rides, shows and attractions. The park contains many design nods inspired by Disneyland: The entrance has a train station with two tunnels leading in to the Main Street area, just like at Disneyland or Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (and also similar to many other parks built since Disneyland opened in 1955); over in Outlaw Gulch, there are several tombstones that have virtually the same wording as tombstones outside of Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion attraction; the rocking pirate ship (Galleon) has even played a sound track that included splashing water and an excerpt from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme song, "Yo Ho." "Adventureland" is also a theme area of its own at Disneyland.

Rousing Rides: Four roller coasters - two wooden, high speed thrillers, the double looping Dragon and the Underground. Special rides include the Space Shot, the Raging River and River Rapids, the Mixer, the G-Force, the Underground and the famous Tornado!
Scroll down for a video of the Tornado roller coaster
and more exciting photos.

map of Adventureland
awesomeThe Circus at Adventureland was marvelous. The two RV Gypsies did not expect the circus to have such professional, high-quality, amazing, and entertaining acts. There were only five performers, but each and every one of them were amazing. The two RV Gypsies highly recommend that everyone that goes to Adventureland take the time to see The Circus.
Entrance to The Tornado roller coaster at Adventureland
The Tornado made its debut on July 4, 1978, during Adventureland's third full season. Soon after its opening it was considered one of the top ten wooden roller coasters in the world. Even today after more than a quarter-century and the addition of many other rides and three other coasters, this is still Adventureland's signature ride.
History bookThe name Tornado has special significance for the park. Adventureland was to open for its debut season in July 1974. However, a real tornado hit the park before it could open, and caused it to be delayed until August of that year. When the ride debuted in 1978, park advertisements exclaimed "Another Tornado has hit Adventureland!" The layout of the Tornado is a unique 90 degree curved out and back that follows the shore of a small lake. After leaving the station, the train coasts down a small incline, around a curve, and heads up the lift hill to the top of the first drop. This drop, which is the largest in the ride, can provide for some air time depending on where riders are seated on the train. The second drop is considerably shorter, but leads into the third drop, which contains a "head-chopper" moment at the bottom as the track ducks under some support structures for the return track, which is immediately to the rider's left at this point in the ride. After drop three, the train rounds a banked turn & heads back to the station by 3 additional smaller drops.
Karen Duquette on The Tornado at Adventureland
Karen Duquette on The Tornado at Adventureland
part of the Tornado track
Karen Duquette on The Tornado
In Karen's opinion, The Tornado was the best of the four roller coasters at Adventureland and she rode it about 40 times, always in the first or second seat, with hands up in the air the entire time.
Karen Duquette on The Tornado at Adventureland
part of The Tornado track
Karen Duquette on The Tornado
The Dragon
The Dragon roller coaster
Karen duquette on The Dragon roller coaster

The Dragon is a steel roller coaster at an amusement park in Altoona, Iowa that cost an estimated $2.1 million dollars to build. It is Adventureland's only coaster which loops completely upside down. The train traverses a few bunny hops and a 90-degree right turn as it coasts from the station to the lift. Cresting the lift, it makes a small dip, a roughly 90-degree turn to the right, and drop down and into the two back-to-back loops. Following the loops is a right turn into a figure eight segment and then some curves back to the station.

Height: 90 feet - Drop: 85 feet - 2 inversions- time: 2 minutes

a panarama of The Dragon roller coaster at Adventureland
Karen Duquette on the Dragon roller coaster at Adventureland
Karen Duquette on the Dragon roller coaster at Adventureland
Karen did not like The Dragon roller coaster that much because it was a very short ride, and somewhat shaky. Lee did not ride The Dragon. Lee stopped riding roller coasters after his fall in Kentucky in 2010. But that does give Lee the opportunity to photograph Karen on the rides, and relax in the shade a bit.
Lee was waiting at the exit for Karen to get off of The Dragon, and they walked through a room full of funny mirrors. They wouldn't mind being as tall as they look in the photo below on the right. LOL
the two RV Gypsies photograph themselves in funny mirrors
the two RV Gypsies photograph themselves in funny mirrors
the two RV Gypsies photograph themselves in funny mirrors
the two RV Gypsies photograph themselves in funny mirrors
the two RV Gypsies photograph themselves in funny mirrors
laughing clipart
the two RV Gypsies photograph themselves in funny mirrors
the Space Shot,
In 1999 Adventureland announced the addition of the Space Shot, a 235-foot structure that towers over Adventureland launching riders up at 4.5 G's and ending with a free fall of negative 1 G.
"Sidewinder" (a swinging pendulum ride whose gondola swings riders over 180 degrees while spinning),
Karen Duquette on Sidewinder
Sidewinder
Karen Duquette giving a big pink pig a drink of water at Adventureland
Karen Duquette giving a big pink pig a drink of water
The Outlaw
The Outlaw is a wooden roller coaster located at Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa, near Des Moines.
Height: 67 Feet - Drop: 70 Feet - Length: 2,800 feet - Maximum speed 48 mph - Duration: 2 minutes

The Outlaw made its debut in 1993. The original spokesperson for The Outlaw was an old miner character who appeared in television, radio, and print advertisements for Adventureland. He can still be seen outside the lower queue of The Outlaw in cartoon representation, on the "you must be this tall to ride" sign.

The Outlaw in cartoon representation
Karen Duquette on the Outlaw roller coaster at Adventureland
part of The Outlaw's track

The 4th roller coaster at Adventureland is The Underground – An indoor dark ride using a roller coaster ride system. Karen thought this was totally lame, like being on a kiddy car ride. Actually, in Karen's opinion, The Tornado was the best of the four roller coasters at Adventureland. Because it was the Tuesday after Memorial Day, the park was not very crowded so Karen was able to ride The Tornado about 40 times, always in the first or second seat, with hands up in the air the entire time, as always.

Adventureland is a nice amusement park, but Karen feels that the best roller coasters she has ever been on are at Cedar Point (see last year's photos of Karen and her grandson on the second tallest roller coaster in the world (420 feet), and the third fastest roller coaster in the world (120 mph) at Cedar Point.

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