Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Wide Open Spaces: Still New Iowa Experiences After a Decade
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Wide Open Spaces: Still New Iowa Experiences After a Decade

Although, living in Iowa for the last ten years, I never had the pleasure of really experiencing Iowa. By experiencing, I mean visiting all of the tourist attractions, events and such. I pretty much stayed on the farm and was ignorant to all that Iowa really had to offer. Since I have begun to broaden my horizons, it seems that options are endless. This last week my daughter, Kaycee, came home from California due to a death in the family. Lane, my son wanted to do something extra special for her before she went back to California. His gift to her was to visit Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo. With three different café’s, a drink hut, 37 slides, and one added each year, there is never a lull in time.

Another friend, Alaurah Alderson, and I were also invited to go along. What a treat! There was something to do for everyone, from toddlers on up. The lazy river was a relaxing, shallow pool of water where one could relax in a tube and drift as long as the heart desired. Occasionally, you might drift under an unexpected waterfall, which enlivened your senses, whether expected or not. The wave pool was another favorite of mine. The water would be calm as you played, splashed, or sat on your water tube. Then, without warning, lifelike waves would emerge out of nowhere, knocking you about in the water. With each wave, the next would be a little bit stronger. It was exhilarating! The other rides were out of my league.

Put me on a 1,500 pound horse, and I won’t hesitate to climb on and ride anywhere you want to go. Try to take me on a water slide that seems like the top is touching the clouds and the bottom will take forever to reach, I am trembling with fear. I had my daring moments due to the persistent trio that accompanied me. My brave (and may I add, insistent?) offspring would prod me toward a slide that they insisted was nothing to fear, comparing it to a boat ride on the river. The first ride they guided me toward, was a ride that had a water tube built for four. As you climb in, you stretch your legs out along side of the person in front of you, and then hold on tight to the straps built into the tube.

When ready, something very similar to an escalator moves you along, until the force of the water swooshes you up one incline and down another. It’s like a rollercoaster, only with water. Each uphill climb was a little steeper than the last, which meant the downhill ride was faster and more extreme. Finally coming to a rest at the end of the ride, I wiped the water from my eyes feeling exhilarated and high from a rush of adrenaline. Well, the next ride they decided I was going to go on was the water slide. Lost Island has one that is small, one medium, and one large.

My son Lane, of course, went on the larger one. Kaycee went on the medium one and Alaurah and I went on the small one. There is no equipment used for these, except your own body. The gal at the top nodded her head and let us know when we could go. As soon as she gave me the okay, I hurried up and sat down, giving myself a shove, before my short lived courage failed me. Down I went, helpless to the speed and the water that forced my body through a narrow and endless journey. I soon found out that it is impossible to sit up while going a “million miles an hour" down this inescapable journey. So, I laid back and let the water hurl me around until splash, out I came, into the pool of water at the bottom. Water went up my nose and stung my nostrils. Once again, I wiped the water out of my eyes and was proud of myself for surviving yet another adventure. But enough is enough! I was ready to relax in one of the lawn chairs provided by Lost Island, and take pictures of the kids having fun. I grabbed a flavored margarita from the drink hut, and nestled down into my lawn chair, enjoying having my kids together one last time before my daughter goes back home.

The park is, of course, seasonal. Opening in June, and closing on the 25th of August.  From here on out, prior to the week of August 25th, it is only open on weekends. As it is locally owned, the Waterloo community is thankful for what the park offers, not only to their community, but to tourists state and worldwide. 

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