This Little-Known Water Park Feels Like A Fun Island Getaway In The Middle Of Iowa

With the days getting longer and the temperatures getting hotter, visiting a water park feels like a perfect escape from the summer heat. Throw in a private cabana and plenty of snacks and frozen drinks to fuel the adventure, and you've got a recipe for some good ol' fashioned fun. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, if you're hitting up the Lost Island complex in Waterloo, Iowa, it doesn't have to be.

Away from Iowa's stunning state parks and incredible go-to fishing spots in the Midwest (and located roughly two hours northeast of Des Moines), Lost Island officially opened its doors in 2001 as a water park. However, the complex soon developed and grew to include other major attractions — including a campground, neighboring theme park, and more. In terms of amenities, the water park is equipped with plenty of rides — from a whopping 11 water slides to a lazy river, mermaid cove, and wave pool — that'll keep pretty much everyone, from adrenaline junkies to the littlest ones, entertained.

Plus, with a mini-golf course and go-kart track for visitors who prefer some out-of-water fun, Lost Island Waterpark really does have it all. Oh, and best of all, the park's relatively unknown status also means you won't be competing with hordes of summer tourists to enjoy your day.

Diving into fun at Lost Island Waterpark

Albeit not the most popular Midwest tourist spot, Lost Island Waterpark still has plenty to offer its guests. For starters, the park currently boasts 9 major waterslides — as well as a few kid-friendly alternatives — that range from thrilling to mild. Some of the most adrenaline-soaked rides include the Wailua Kupua, a hydromagnetic water coaster; the Molokini Crater, equipped with a 60-foot funnel that has riders rocking back and forth before falling into the pool; and Lost Souls Falls, which features a 28-feet-per-second drop. Not into heart-racing thrills? Luckily, Lost Island's Tsunami Bay wave pool and Kailahi Lazy River are the perfect alternative for the more laid-back visitors who still want to get in on the fun.

As for the kids, Lost Island offers four main areas that are perfectly suitable for its younger visitors. These include the Starfish Cove, Tahiti Village, and the Blue Iguana Lagoon for Kids. Topping off the list is the park's Mermaid Cove, where guests can come face-to-face with the Lost Island mermaids as they swim, play, and pose for photos. Swimming experiences with the mermaids are also available at an additional cost.

Outside of the park, the adjacent Monaleo Adventure features two 18-hole mini-golf courses that keep in theme with the island setting — volcanoes and fossils included. From there, the Monaleo Speedway — one of the longest go-kart tracks in the Midwest — opens at 2:00 p.m. daily during the summer to help you close off the day.

Visitor tips to keep in mind

One of the most important things to keep in mind when planning your visit to Lost Island Waterpark is that the complex officially opens up daily for the summer season starting on May 31. From there, the water park's operating hours are from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. until August 25th and 26th — the park's final operating weekend before the weather starts to dip. At the time of writing, admission passes are available to purchase both off and online, with single-day tickets selling for around $32 on weekdays and $34 on weekends, depending on when you go in the summer. Season passes are also available for guests looking to make the most of their summer while splashin' the day away.

In terms of food and drink, you'll be happy to know that Lost Island has six snack shacks and lounges serving everything from pizza to grilled snacks, sweet treats, and some well-deserved refreshments. With this in mind, it's worth noting that outside food and drink are prohibited from entering the park due to allergy and safety concerns. Along with these, the park's Trader Jim's souvenir shop is also open daily for guests to purchase must-have poolside goodies like towels, sunscreen, swimsuits, swim diapers (these are required by the park for toddlers), and more.