Huge photo gallery update

The Theme Parks gallery has been updated with a batch of photos from Lost Island Themepark in Iowa:

The Other Places gallery has also received a huge update, adding photos taken as far back as 2015 from events and places in Iowa, Texas, Illinois and more.

These include:

  • Amana Colonies – including Wurst Fest 2023
  • Living History Farms – including Christmas
  • Jolly Holiday Lights
  • Blank Park Zoo “Wild Lights” Asian lantern festival
  • Trek Fest in Riverside, Iowa
  • Texas Pinball Festival
  • Galloping Ghosts Arcade near Chicago
  • Pella Tulip Time
  • …and probably more.

There are still dozens of galleries to be sorted and added, but this is at least progress.

Lost Island Theme Park – beyond expectations in Waterloo, Iowa.

In summer of 2022, America got a new theme park: Lost Island Themepark (as they spell it, without a space). This park is an addition to the well-established Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, Iowa.

The Lost Island water park is highly rated (at least according to USA Today, which has ranked it Top 10 in the country for several years in a row). It currently sits in the #2 position:

The theme park has high standards to live up to.

We visited Lost Island and were stunned at how deep the lore and theming of the park goes. It practically has its own language, with most rides, shops and eateries having names we couldn’t pronounce (and, unfortunately, couldn’t remember).

The park is divided up in to “realms,” representing Fire, Earth, Water, Air and Spirit. The layout is wonderfully reminiscent of World Showcase at Epcot, with an entrance area that leads off in both directions as it circles a small central body of water.

Instead of a “Main Street,” there is a huge open plaza. Down at the end, across the water is their “castle” — a large Ferris wheel called “Alzanu’s Eye.” It is perfectly framed as you approach the ticket booths from the parking lot.

Each area has a restroom and a food location. There are two indoor sit-down food spots, one drink stand (with adult beverages and snacks) and the others are smaller snack stands (all but one with shaded seating beside it).

Knowing where you are in the park is quite easy — the light posts are different in each realm, as is the color scheme and even walkway details. You will see giant green leaves in the Earth area, and blue waves in the Water area. You can find steampunk gears and cogs in the paths of the Air realm, and animal tracks in the Spirit realm.

Theming here is well beyond that of a Six Flags style park, and on par with what you’d expect at SeaWorld Orlando. While it doesn’t compare to the fully immersive environments of Disneyland or Islands of Adventure, fans of theme and detail will find plenty to keep them entertained if they decided to go down the rabbit hole of exploring Lost Island lore. (How many Tamariki statues are there, again?)

Most of the rides are standard theme park flat rides, though only a few (such as the bumper cars) seemed generic. All the rest all themed versions to match the realm they are in. For example, a children’s spinning ride themed to a giant fish, representing the Water realm of the park, next to a mini Space Shot type ride, with a fire theme to represent that realm.

Two of the rides have indoor queues and preshows. One, a standard Space Shot style drop tower, has a decorated queue with a video preshow before boarding. You cannot see the loading area from outside — it was enclosed, similar to how Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.)

The other is a 4-D motion base shooting dark ride which featured a themed queue, video preshow, and animatronic preshow. The ride itself goes through physical sets with projector and real targets to shoot at, along with mist, wind and fire effects. During video sequences, the vehicle motion base is active making it feel like a motion simulator (think Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure). Fans of dark rides will be very surprised at how good this one is.

There is even a phone app that will award you with badges and achievements as you visit different areas of the park. There is much here to learn about and discuss.

As time permits, a full review of the park will be added, along with over 1000 photos taken during the visit. A nearly-full 360-video tour of the park may also be shared, depending on how well the video turned out.

To be continued…