June 5 & 6
Six Flags Great America – just outside Chicago
First opened in 1976 as Marriott’s Great America. Six Flags purchased the park from the Marriott Corporation in 1984, making it the seventh park in the Six Flags chain of parks. It’s changed ownership 6 times since Marriott.
We get on board the Six Flags tower ride to climb up several hundred feet above the park to get a bird’s eye view of all the attractions. As of 2011, Six Flags Great America has 8 different theme sections, a 16 acre water park, 2 children’s theme park areas, and live entertainment everyday.
We climb on board the Six Flags Scenic railway which takes us around the park at a leisurely pace. Angus Wynne, founder of Six Flags, opened his first theme park in Texas back in 1961. Today, Six Flags has 19 theme parks across North America and attracts over 24 million visitors each year.
AdventureLand – in Iowa
In Iowa, there’s a family-owned amusement park inspired by Disneyland, called Adventureland that features over 100 rides and attractions across it’s massive 180 acre resort area.
Just like Six Flags, Adventureland has a Disney-esque miniature railway which takes you around the park. We hop on board to catch the sights. Construction of the park began in the spring of 1973 on some farmland east of Des Moines. This land was originally part of the airport where Charles Lindbergh once stopped in 1924. Disney helped with some of the design work and that explains why mainstreet and the trains bring to mind images of Disneyland parks.
We hop on the chairlift which takes you from mainstreet to the water park area and one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the world. In 1978 construction began on Adventureland’s largest wooden roller coaster ride. The Tornado is known as one of the top ten rides in the world.
Over the years, Adventureland has expanded and added many new rides and attractions, but the most ambitious one was started in 2008. A new water area called Adventure Bay that invites visitors to get wet in over a hundred different ways. Adventure Bay includes 20 waterslides, Iowa’s longest man-made river called the Lazy River, a swimming pool, and much more.