Lost Island Theme Park starting to take shape as Summer 2022 opening date nears

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 5:26 PM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - Hundreds of feet in the air, one can see the makings of what will soon be the Lost Island Theme Park in Waterloo. Park Developer Eric Bertch says they’re making real progress.

“All of the trades are working at the same time,” Bertch said. “We have ride installers right next to the concrete foundation people.”

Lost Island Waterpark opened in 2001, and has won national awards. Now, the focus is on reaching people throughout this part of Iowa, with a new option.

“We have the reached attendance cap, and we weren’t really seeing any additional traffic, and so other attractions have been in the back of our mind for a long time,” Bertch said.

Bertch said they decided a theme park would have the biggest impact, and expects the park to see more than double the attendance the water park sees, bringing more people to the area and filling a gap in the family entertainment industry.

“For a lot of residents who may not have the opportunity to go to Florida or leave the country to go see some amazing place in Dubai or somewhere,” Bertch said.

Travis Hall, the executive director for Experience Waterloo, said the new theme park could play a key role in overall economic recovery after so much had to shut down in 2020.

“Pre-pandemic tourism represented almost $400 million of activity just in the Cedar Valley alone and supported of 3,000 jobs,” Hall said.

Hall said even with the park only being open a few months out of the year, he expects the total economic impact will be about $32 million a year once open. Broken down, $6 million for food and beverage, $5 million for retail, $4 million for hotel stays, and $2 million for recreation. Hall adds this attraction will add to the return of other events expected to draw attention locally and out of state.

“Obviously, RAGBRAI is going to be here on July 28,” Hall said. “We’ve got great things like Iowa Irish fest community events like My Waterloo days”

Even 13 months until the anticipated opening, the eyes will see the new rides, but park developers hope the ears will hear concerts, and more than just rollercoasters.

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