Some may try to tell you that Iowa is not worth visiting. Ignore them! This state is truly awesome, and might just be one of the country’s best kept secrets. Not only are there some great museums and natural areas here, there are also some fantastic amusement parks in Iowa.
That’s right, Iowa should be on the bucket list of every thrill seeker out there. Iowa amusement parks are abundant and are 100% fun. If you’re planning a trip to Iowa soon, we highly recommend adding some theme parks to your itinerary.
Iowa Amusement Parks
Not sure which Iowa amusement parks you should visit? We understand. With so many to choose from, it can definitely be a bit overwhelming.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best amusement parks in Iowa. From waterparks to traditional amusement parks, these are the spots you should make an effort to see:
- Adventureland Park and Adventure Bay Waterpark
- Lost Island Themepark & Waterpark
- FunCity Resort and Huck’s Harbor
- Arnolds Park Amusement Park
- Boji Splash Indoor Waterpark
- All Seasons Center: Siouxnami Waterpark
- King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort
- Rathbun Lake Aquapark & Buccaneer Bay Indoor Waterpark
- The Beach Ottumwa
- Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark
Of course, you will need to plan any theme park trip you plan to take. The information below will help you figure out what to expect, where to stay, how to budget, and more.
Adventureland Park and Adventure Bay Waterpark
One awesome place to have an amazing time with family is Adventureland Park and Adventure Bay Waterpark in Altoona. This fantastic vacation resort features both a theme park and a water park, and is sure to keep everyone busy making memories that will last for years to come.
The theme park part of this resort touts itself as “home of Iowa’s best thrills,” and we can’t say we disagree. The coasters here are absolutely spectacular, and if you have thrill seekers in your group, they will definitely be able to get their fix. That isn’t to say there aren’t less thrilling options though. A whole collection of kiddie rides is available, and family rides such as a train, swings, and bumper cars all give you a chance to enjoy some things together.
Now what about the water park section? Well, this area is referred to as Adventure Bay, and it really does offer some fun adventures. Whether you choose to race down slides, relax in the lazy river, or watch the kids have an awesome time on the interactive water play structures, you will find a great way to cool off in this area.
RV Camping Near Adventureland Park and Adventure Bay Waterpark
Planning to bring your RV along on your visit to Adventureland? Great idea! RVing makes every road trip better, and you’re sure to have an absolute blast camping with your family on this trip.
Adventureland Resort Campground — One of the best things about RVing when visiting Adventureland is the fact that they have their very own campground. Adventureland Resort Campground is definitely the most convenient place to park your rig while you play, and with full hookups, a pool, a dog run, and a playground, you won’t regret your decision to stay there.
Planning Your Trip to Adventureland Park and Adventure Bay Waterpark
Adventure Bay Waterpark is actually located inside of Adventureland Park. This means you get both areas for the price of one ticket! Tickets start at $39.99 per person per day, and season passes are available.
Parking costs $20 at the gate, but you can save $5 by buying your parking ticket online. Outside food is not allowed, but food is sold onsite. Lockers and wheelchairs are available for rent. It’s important to note that Adventureland Resort is cashless, so you will need a card to make purchases.
Lost Island Themepark & Waterpark
Located in Waterloo, Lost Island Themepark and Waterpark is the perfect addition to any Iowa getaway. This place is chock-full of fun, and there really is something for every member of the family here.
The theme park includes a variety of rides. From big coasters and thrill rides to playgrounds and kiddie rides, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. We especially like Volkanu: Quest for the Golden Idol. This is an interactive 4D dark ride that sends riders on an adventure to save the day. It’s very technologically advanced and we’re sure you’ll be just as impressed with it as we are.
In addition to a theme park, this property also features a fantastic water park. This area includes a number of thrilling water slides, some slides and play areas just for the kiddos, and fun for the whole family in the wave pool, swimming area, and lazy river. One of the more unique things found in this park? The Lost Island Mermaids, who are always happy to meet guests!
As if a theme park and water park weren’t enough, Lost Island has even more fun to offer guests in the form of mini golf and go-karts. Clearly, one could spend a few days here without getting bored.
RV Camping Near Lost Island Themepark & Waterpark
RV camping is definitely one of the best lodging options when visiting Lost Island. Staying this way allows you to cook your own food, sleep in your own bed, and relax in your own space when the busyness of the day is done.
Lost Island/Waterloo KOA Kampground — Our favorite place to park an RV when visiting Lost Island is the Lost Island/Waterloo KOA. This lovely campground features a huge variety of amenities that are sure to keep you comfortable and happy throughout your stay. In fact, you might even want to tack a day onto your trip just to enjoy all the campground has to offer.
Planning Your Trip to Lost Island Themepark & Waterpark
Admission to Lost Island Themepark can be purchased separately from Lost Island Waterpark admission. Cost for day tickets to these parks ranges from $32 to $47. All that said, we highly recommend purchasing the park hopper ticket for $55. This allows you to jump from one park to the other for an entire day.
Surprisingly, parking and tube rentals at Lost Island are free. Unfortunately, outside food is not allowed, but food is available for purchase in the park. Things like towels, swim diapers, sunscreen, and swim suits can also be purchased onsite.
FunCity Resort and Huck’s Harbor
It’s not often you see an amusement park located in a casino, but FunCity is just that. This amusement center and the resort waterpark known as Huck’s Harbor are located in Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington, Iowa. Both are fantastically fun, cramming a number of different activities into their space.
Some of the featured attractions at FunCity include laser tag, go-karts, an incredible arcade, and bowling. There is also a huge indoor play structure referred to as “Ballocity” that kids go absolutely nuts for. Our favorite thing in FunCity? That has to be the awesome ninja obstacle course that is both challenging and fun at the same time.
Want to cool off? Huck’s Harbor is the place to do that. This water park is small but mighty, featuring an indoor water play area for little ones, as well as a number of outdoor attractions. Outdoor water fun includes medium and large water slides, a lazy river, and more.
RV Camping Near FunCity Resort and Huck’s Harbor
As far as lodging goes, we highly recommend RV camping during your visit to FunCity and Huck’s Harbor. We find RVing is the best way to fully relax during your vacation. Not only that, you’ll also be able to enjoy the amenities offered by the campground below.
Big Hollow Recreation Area — Big Hollow Recreation Area is located about 20 minutes from FunCity. This is a county park offering full hookups, tons of outdoor fun, and amazingly low rates. The sites are large, and a playground and bathhouse are available. Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to RV camping!
Planning Your Trip to FunCity Resort and Huck’s Harbor
Some areas of FunCity and Huck’s Harbor are currently closed for construction. Additionally, some areas do close during the winter season. Be sure to check hours before you go, so you know you can enjoy the attractions that are most important to you. You’ll also want to check age and height requirements before heading out so you can manage the expectations of younger visitors.
Arnolds Park Amusement Park
As the name suggests, Arnolds Park Amusement Park is located in Arnolds Park, an adorable town in the Great Lakes region. The park was built back in 1889 and is one of the longest operating amusement parks in the world. Once you see it, you’ll understand why.
This well-manicured park is a lovely place to hang out even if you aren’t riding anything. That said, we highly recommend hopping on some rides. Coasters are available for thrill seekers, and a log flume and Ferris wheel are the perfect attractions to ride as a family. Those with young children will appreciate the kiddie rides.
Some unusual offerings in Arnolds Park include the two museums, vintage pinball machines, the Queen II steamer, and movies-at-the-park events.
RV Camping Near Arnolds Park Amusement Park
Travelers looking for lodging near Arnolds Park should consider RV camping. This allows you to be comfortable no matter where you land, and may even save you a bit of money, meaning you can explore the area longer.
Cenla RV Park and Campground — Perfect for those looking to stay close to the action of Arnolds Park Amusement Park, Cenla RV Park and Campground is a mere 7 minutes from the park. Full hookups are available and an onsite pool will keep the kids busy. We also appreciate the reasonable rates at this park.
Planning Your Trip to Arnolds Park Amusement Park
Arnolds Park Amusement Park is neat because admission is 100% free! Instead of paying to get into the park, visitors pick and choose which attractions they’d like to experience and pay for those individually.
This park is only open during the summer months, so be sure to check for opening and closing dates as you plan your trip.
Boji Splash Indoor Waterpark
Want to have some water park fun when the weather isn’t great? If so, Boji Splash Indoor Waterpark is your place! This park is located in the Bridges Bay Resort in Arnolds Park, making it the perfect addition to a trip to the aforementioned Arnolds Park Amusement Park!
This small indoor park features water slides, a lazy river, a 500-gallon dump bucket, a water basketball area, and a pirate ship water playground. An outdoor pool is available when the weather is nice, and a swim-up bar and giant whirlpool are fun options for adults.
RV Camping Near Boji Splash Indoor Waterpark
As usual, we highly recommend RV camping for your trip to Boji Splash Waterpark. Playing in the water is tiring, and there’s nothing quite like returning to your own space to dry off, cook a nice meal, watch a movie, and sleep in your own bed.
Marble Beach State Recreation Area — A lovely place to escape into nature, Marble Beach State Recreation area is only 15 minutes away from Boji Splash Indoor Waterpark, but feels like it’s worlds away. The campground features both partial- and full-hookup sites, lake access, clean restrooms, and awesome rates. If you’re looking for a pretty place to park, this is it!
Planning Your Trip to Boji Splash Indoor Waterpark
Admission to Boji Splash Waterpark is surprisingly affordable. During the winter months you can expect to pay $15 per person. Those visiting during the summer will pay $26 per person, but they’ll also then have access to the aforementioned outdoor pool and bar, as well as a fun zipline adventure.
Outside food is not allowed at this park, so keep that in mind when planning. Instead, you should plan to eat at one of the excellent resort restaurants.
All Seasons Center: Siouxnami Waterpark
As you might have guessed, water fun is available during all seasons at the All Seasons Center in the town of Sioux Center. This is a local fun spot that is just as fun for visitors as it is for residents of the area, and we’re sure you’ll have a blast during your visit.
If you enjoy thrills, you’ll be happy to hear that the All Seasons Center has a number of water slides available. There are outdoor and indoor slides, so even if the weather is chilly, you can still get your thrills. Another great feature for thrill seekers? The outdoor aqua zipline, which sends you flying through the air and drops you in water!
Those looking for a challenge will appreciate the 16-foot climbing wall, and little ones love the zero-entry water play areas. Of course, the whole family will enjoy floating the lazy river together, especially after experiencing so many exciting things.
RV Camping Near All Seasons Center: Siouxnami Waterpark
Those hoping to take a camper on their All Seasons Center adventure will be happy to know there is RV parking nearby. Not only that, we also really love some of the campground options this area has to offer. One of our favorites is listed below.
Rivers Bend Campground — A nice little city park, Rivers Bend Campground is located just a few minutes away from all the waterpark fun found at All Seasons Center. The park offers RVers concrete pads with full hookups. Sites are large and well spaced, and there is a lake with fishing and swimming areas, a playground, and friendly hosts. Best of all, the rates are amazing!
Planning Your Trip to All Seasons Center: Siouxnami Waterpark
Visitors can expect to pay between $2 and $8 for admission to this park, based on their age. Children 2 and younger are free, but non-swimmers accompanying them are still charged to enter. Special rates are offered on certain days throughout the summer, so check the website and plan around those specials to save some money.
King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort
King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort in Storm Lake is the perfect place for a water park vacation. The resort is home to two water parks as well as both a golf course and a mini golf course. If you aren’t having fun at this resort, you’re doing it wrong!
The outdoor water park at King’s Pointe is open during the summer months, and it boasts 50,000 square feet of watery fun. Five water slides twist and turn riders into the water, a water basketball hoop keeps sports lovers happy, lap lanes are available for serious swimmers, and those seeking a challenge can try their hand at walking across the lily pad walk. For little ones, there is a splash pad as well as a kiddie castle play area.
As far as the indoor water park goes, guests can expect to find plenty of fun no matter what the weather might decide to do. An interactive water play area is perfect for younger guests, and the three water slides keep older kids and adults busy. This park also features a lily pad walk, water basketball, and a lazy river.
RV Camping Near King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort
You could of course stay at King’s Pointe Resort itself, but we actually prefer staying in the comfort of an RV. This allows us to feel at home, even when we are traveling. Fortunately, there are camping options near the resort.
Sunrise Campground — Sunrise Campground is a basic park for sure, but it is well kept and provides everything you need at a more-than-reasonable rate. Sites are large and shady, and full hookups are available. There is a lake in the park providing beautiful views, and the clean shower house is appreciated by guests. Perhaps the best thing about this park? It’s within walking distance of King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort as well as a number of other local attractions.
Planning Your Trip to King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort
The operating calendar for King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort is a bit confusing, as hours change throughout the year and both parks aren’t always open. Be sure to check it out before you visit. You’ll also want to call ahead to learn about admission prices, as this information is not provided online.
Rathbun Lake Aquapark & Buccaneer Bay Indoor Waterpark
Another fantastic vacation getaway spot is Honey Creek Resort at Rathbun Lake. This resort is home to both Rathbun Lake Aquapark and Buccaneer Bay Indoor Waterpark. Both are exciting and they offer totally different experiences, meaning you won’t get bored if you decide to do both.
Rathbun Lake Aquapark is actually set on the lake. It features a variety of inflatables that offer activities such as climbing walls, slides, jumping, and a balance beam. This spot is tons of fun and completely different from the typical water park, making it a must-do if you happen to be in the area.
Buccaneer Bay is the perfect spot to visit with younger kids or when the weather is bad. It’s a smaller park, but manages to pack tons of fun into its indoor space. A water slide, lazy river, swimming pool, hot tub, and water play structures all come together to ensure your family has a great time when visiting this park.
RV Camping Near Rathbun Lake Aquapark & Buccaneer Bay Indoor Waterpark
We have a special place in our heart for the Honey Creek Resort because it actually caters to RVers. You see, the resort has an onsite RV park that is absolutely gorgeous and makes accessing all the resort has to offer a cinch.
Honey Creek Resort RV Camping — Amenities at this RV park include full hookups, onsite trash collection, campfire rings, and more. The views here are lovely, the staff is top-notch, and the fact that there are resort eateries and exciting attractions just steps away makes this an unbeatable place to park your rig for a few days.
Planning Your Trip to Rathbun Lake Aquapark & Buccaneer Bay Indoor Waterpark
If you stay at the Honey Creek Resort campground, you will have free access to both Buccaneer Bay and the Aquapark. That said, those who choose to stay offsite will be charged admission. This fee is $15 per person per day for Buccaneer Bay, and the same $15 per day per person for the Aquapark.
While Buccaneer Bay is open year-round, the Aquapark is only open during the summer months, so be sure to plan accordingly!
The Beach Ottumwa RV
The Beach Ottumwa puts “the beach within reach” even for those far from the beach in the city of Ottumwa. The park is the perfect place to cool off during the summer months, and many locals spend most of their summer hanging out there. Why not visit and see why?
This park features a huge wave pool that we absolutely love. The curly slides are perfect for those who want to slide but like to take things slow, and the speed slide is ideal for those who need an adrenaline rush. The park also features an indoor slide for those days when the weather isn’t the best, as well as a competitive indoor pool, a sand volleyball area, and a water playground for little ones.
Camping Near The Beach Ottumwa
Plan an RV road trip to get to The Beach Ottumwa and make your vacation even better. Not only will you be comfortable wherever you park, you’ll also have your home-on-wheels on the way to the park and back, meaning fun and comfort the entire trip.
Ottumwa City Campground — In order to get a true taste of Ottumwa life, we highly recommend staying in the Ottumwa City Campground during your visit to this water park. The campground is located just five minutes away from the water park and the Des Moines River, and a set of trails are also very nearby. The park itself features a playground, picnic tables, tennis courts, water and electric hookups, a dump station, and a bathhouse.
Planning Your Trip to The Beach Ottumwa
The indoor pool is open year-round and features an inflatable obstacle course on Saturdays and Sundays. A day pass to just the indoor pool is only $4!
If you want to visit the outdoor water park, you will need to plan your trip for the summer months. While admission prices to this area are not yet available on the park’s website, we have to imagine they are a bit more expensive than the indoor pool day pass.
Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark
Finally, there is Grand Harbor Waterpark. This park is located in the Grand Harbor Resort in Dubuque and is another indoor park, meaning it’s available year-round, even when the temperatures drop below freezing.
As is the case for most indoor water parks, this park is on the small side. Nevertheless, it’s totally fun with attractions such as water slides, a huge interactive water play structure, an interesting swim area, and much more.
Looking for more to do while at the resort? The onsite Tony Roma’s offers some delicious food, the arcade at this resort is lots of fun, and the laser maze is a challenging way to pass some time.
Camping Near Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark
Grand Harbor Resort has a hotel that is lovely. Still, we would rather stay in the comfort of an RV. That’s why we think you might like to know that rental RVs and RV parks are available in the area and are just waiting for you to use them.
Miller Riverview Park — A city park with partial hookups and great rates, Miller Riverview Park is an excellent place to stay when visiting Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark. As the name suggests, the park offers great views of the river, and there is plenty of shade. Potable water and a dump station are available.
Planning Your Visit to Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark
Hours and admission prices for Grand Harbor Waterpark change from one day to the next. Fortunately, there is a calendar of hours and prices available on the resort website, something you should definitely check out before planning your trip.
It’s also important to note that outside food is not allowed in the resort. There is a snack stand near the water attractions that sells food, and as mentioned before, the onsite Tommy Roma’s is wonderful.
There’s no denying the fact that Iowa is chock-full of amazing amusement parks. You can find even more amusement parks by searching for “amusement parks near me” once you arrive at your campground of choice.
Want to see something besides theme parks during your visit? Lucky for you, there are tons of things to do in Iowa. Check out the articles listed below for some inspiration: