Visitors, roughly 3.5 million annually, have made Altoona Iowa’s Entertainment Capital, and it’s easy to see why.
Fishing, boating, hunting and camping enthusiasts have already made the 145,000-square-foot Bass Pro Outdoor World store a destination for shopping and recreation. Bass Pro, Altoona’s newest addition, has everything the outdoor sportsman or woman needs — boats, fishing and hunting gear, camping equipment, and top-quality clothing. What lifts it from just another big box store to a must-see destination are the original murals featuring Iowa outdoor scenes, the aquarium with live native fish, seasonal visits from Santa and the Easter Bunny, and Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill, a full-service restaurant with 12 lanes of bowling and a unique undersea theme.
Bass Pro joins two longtime Iowa favorites, Adventureland Theme Park and Prairie Meadows, Racetrack and Casino. Adventureland opens for weekends beginning the last weekend of April. In June 2010, the theme park opened Adventure Bay waterpark with 13 new waterslides, a swimming pool with a swim-up bar, Iowa’s Lazy River and a sand beach sun deck. These water features join Adventureland’s more than 100 rides, including longtime favorite roller coasters, the Tornado, the Dragon and the Sidewinder, as well as the Space Shot and Splash Over. Adventure Bay is included in your park admission – two parks for one price!
If grown-up thrills are what you want, Prairie Meadows has 24/7 excitement with 1,900 slot machines, table games and poker. Live thoroughbred, quarter horse and harness racing thrill race fans April-October, with simulcast racing available all year. Internationally recognized entertainers perform regularly at the Meadows Events Center. A new 189-room hotel wass added to the attraction in 2012.
Altoona is also the perfect headquarters for NASCAR and Indy car fans. The Iowa Speedway is an easy 25-minute drive on Interstate 80 from the city’s hotels.