Discovering the Lore and Rides of Lost Island Themepark

Discovering the Lore and Rides of Lost Island Themepark

This article is a continuation of the history of Lost Island Themepark. READ PART I

Wahaari te Auk Modu! Welcome to Lost Island!

It’s time to discover the wonders of Lost Island—or Auk Modu as it’s known in the island’s ancient language. Yes, this park even has its own original language; there’s a lot to unpack! Auk Modu, which has mysteriously appeared in the Iowan plains, welcomes travelers to explore its many secrets.

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Exploring the Realms

When visitors arrive at Lost Island Themepark, they are welcomed by a beautifully intricate entryway. The structure is complete with totem carvings from the park’s themed lands. The entrance’s bright colors and expressive pathway are only the beginning of Lost Island’s charm and creativity.

Lost Island’s Main Street: Ara Matua

Beyond the park’s front gate, Lost Island has a memorable grand reveal with the perfectly centered Ferris wheel overlooking the lagoon. Standing in Ara Matua—the park’s Main Street—visitors are shown a world of possibilities across the wide-open oasis of a park.

Pathways branch off from the Main Street plaza to the park’s five distinctly themed lands, known as realms, which each symbolize elements of nature. Each realm has its own culture like unique societies, but all with connecting lore.

As Lost Island’s Main Street, Ara Matua, continues, it leads to a picturesque waterfront area. This is where the park’s characters gather in the morning and afternoon to share the story of Lost Island. The show is headed by Dr. Marion Galavant, an islandologist who studies and shares the island’s mysteries. They’re joined by characters from the different realms to retell Auk Modu’s fascinating tale.

The Lore of Lost Island

As the story goes: Long ago, the island’s realms lived in conflict. That was until an unexplainable event created a powerful, fiery evil. That demon—known as Volkanu—sought to destroy the island, Auk Modu. All the realms were in danger. However, the spirit guardians of Lost Island—creatures known as Tamarikis—united the realms to defeat the fire demon. The realms put aside their differences and teamed up to save the island. They combined their elemental powers of fire, earth, water, and air to create a golden idol—known as the Ora Tika—to trap the demon in the Temple of Fire beneath the volcano. The realms then safely lived in harmony for years.

The story continues in the first themed land on the left: the fire realm, known as Mura.

The Fire Realm: Mura

Mura is a dazzling region with a red-hot color scheme and blistering thrills.

This realm is home to a clan of courageous warriors. Long ago, the fire realm, Mura, was feared by the other realms. But now in peaceful times, Mura protects the island and its most important artifact: the Ora Tika golden idol.

The trails of Mura, seared with a volcanic flare, have much to explore. Brave visitors can enjoy the land’s flat rides, such as a disk’o coaster, top spin, and sidewinder. There’s also the Makatu Shrine: an interactive fountain where visitors can work together to ignite a surprise. Just beyond this raging shrine is a grand 40-foot-tall volcano and the Temple of Fire.

Inside is Mura’s real adventure and the continuation of Lost Island’s lore.

Volkanu: Quest for the Golden Idol

Volkanu: Quest for the Golden Idol is an interactive dark ride where guests are recruited to save Lost Island. Essentially, the golden idol that imprisoned the evil Volkanu has gone missing. The dark force has escaped, and Lost Island is in peril once again. On the ride, guests take an expedition to reclaim the golden idol and defeat Volkanu.

The queue’s low-light caves have ancient murals, a full-on preshow, an animatronic, and more. This prepares guests for the quest ahead.

Once riders board the attraction, they are armed with a blaster: the thermal equalizer, which contains power from the four sacred elements of Lost Island’s realms. Riders take a treacherous journey to a hidden grotto where they’ll recover the stolen golden idol, now guarded by stone figures. Throughout the raging expedition, riders face off against molten minions. The journey ends up in the Temple of Fire where Volkanu dwells. Riders return the golden idol, conquer Volkanu, and restore peace for all of Lost Island.

Volkanu: Quest for the Golden Idol is a blazing multimedia adventure with a level of quality and storytelling that rivals world-class attractions. Its impressive blend of physical sets, animatronics, 3D visuals, fire effects, a Pepper’s ghost illusion, an original soundtrack, and themed smells—among many other features—make it a standout dark ride in the theme park industry. The attraction’s immersive queue, full-on preshow, and trackless ride technology combine for a radiant experience.

In 2022, Volkanu: Quest for the Golden Idol earned a Golden Ticket Award and an IAAPA Brass Ring Award as the best new family attraction and the best new product. Volkanu is a bright spot at park, being created in collaboration with Lost Island and the ride’s manufacturer, Sally Dark Rides.

The Earth Realm: Yuta

Mura borders the beautiful earth realm, Yuta.

This realm is the homeland of the Yuta merchants, who value preserving the earth and ourselves. Rooted in the depths of an enchanted forest, Yuta was once a beautifully crafted kingdom with gems and minerals from the earth. Today, nature is reclaiming Yuta’s stunning stone ruins, weaving a more organic beauty across the land.

Yuta’s leafy paths snake around a few attractions. The Pengali Ruin is the rubbled remains of a mineral mining site where kids can discover treasures buried in the sand. Behind the ruin is Totara Market, which is completely overtaken by the massive undergrowth of a sacred tree, Namua. Yuta also has a small bumper car attraction, but this land has even more striking thrills.


Matugani is a forceful coaster experience that twists around Yuta. This coaster is themed to a great emerald serpent that roams the jungles. The people of Yuta long ago thought Matugani was trouble for their realm. One day, a landslide devastated Yuta and trapped its people in the mines. Matugani rescued the people, leading them safely to the surface, and the great snake was instantly celebrated. Matugani is now admired in Yuta as being a wise protector.

The roller coaster’s queue leads to Yuta’s decommissioned mining headquarters, which now serves as a temple in honor of Matugani. The coaster launches out of a gloriously imposing snake sculpture among the temple’s walls.

It’s fitting that Yuta cares about preservation and conservation because this coaster was relocated from Sweden and refurbished for its second life in Lost Island. This hydraulic launch coaster was manufactured by Intamin in 2005. Its slick green track slithers through two inversions with a max vertical angle of 90 degrees. Its fierce launch and snappy top-hat element make it among the more intense rides at Lost Island.

Yuta Falls

Farther in the earth realm is Yuta Falls, a super flume manufactured by Interlink. The ride has a valuable backstory of treating the earth and its resources with respect. The land has always provided for the people of Yuta, until they took too much. The soil became bare, and their destruction caused the earth to crack open and swallow the Yuta people. In wake of the devastation, the earth has been replenished with a waterway, irrigating the land and the sacred Totara tree, Namua.

Yuta Falls soaks riders with its two splashdowns.

The Water Realm: Awa

Yuta flows into the next realm, Awa. The shores of this water realm are plentiful with tropical adventures. The navigators of the Awa realm once sailed around the world. Now settled on a lush island, the Awa people embrace a free-flowing way of life, inspired by the open sea.

This nautical realm is soaked with splashy colors, thatch roofs, and oceanic designs. Awa’s waterfront location gives it a coastal illusion of being on an island surrounded by the ocean.

Awa’s Attractions

Awa has a nice collection of flat rides, including the swaying tides of Sea Swell and the swirling Eeki Eeki Escape. The land’s tallest attraction is an icon around Lost Island: Alzanu’s Eye; this Ferris wheel gives guests a new perspective of the gorgeous theme park. Awa’s other notable ride is Awaati Water Battle; this is an interactive splash battle ride made by Interlink, featuring reed boats, hand-powered water blasters, and light theming.

Awa has not one, but two interactive play areas: Sand Castle, which is down by the shore, and Akua Maze, which is an eye-catching little splash pad.

This realm is home to Lost Island’s other major restaurant, Whalebone Grill, with tropical architecture and a stunning whale sculpture.

The Air Realm: Udara

The air realm, Udara, is a society of curious inventors who once lived among the clouds. The mysterious events of Lost Island caused the sky-high society to fall. The once-floating Udara was then bound to the ground. From then on, the wise people of Udara were determined to soar once again and restore their airborne society. They built flying machines and towers with the aim of returning home, but nothing has worked yet. The people of Udara are a brilliant, imaginative bunch with high hopes. Their lovely society on Lost Island is a highlight in the park.

The Udara realm is sprinkled with aeronautical gizmos and gadgets from their attempts to fly again—even having gears and feathers stamped in the pathways.

Udara may be grounded these days, but the land has an airy feel to it with fluffy white designs and pastel purple swirled in. Its aesthetic is very distinct with puffs of theming that give the feeling as if you’re walking on clouds. Udara has small embellishes that make the unseen power of air visible. Small pinwheels and the land’s central Aviarium show off Udara’s windy kinetic energy.

Visiting Udara is an inspiring time, with its imaginative, head-in-the-clouds environment and themes of perusing knowledge. The land has a breezy rhythm, but its major attractions are a real rush.

Skyborne Drop Tower

Towering over Udara is Skyborne. This is the tallest ride in the park, standing at 180 feet. Skyborne is a shot and drop manufactured by SNS. Aside from its tall stature and high thrill level, Skyborne is a standout ride at Lost Island for its theming.

In the queue, guests learn about the story of Udara and its fallen society. The queue wraps through the libraries and workshops where inventors are building transportation contraptions to go back in the sky. Not many drop towers have preshows, but this one does. Guests find out they’re testing out a prototype invention that will take them to the heavens. The experiment doesn’t go as planned, and riders plummet back to earth. Back to the drawing board.

Amara Aviators

Amara Aviators is a low-level flying machine—otherwise known as a sky fly by Gerstlauer. At first glance, this one might seem like a standard spinning ride, but the high-in-the-sky journey is a bit more than that. Riders sit in between two controllable wings to either sway or completely invert with the right movements. It’s an easygoing ride that can turn into a whirlwind with enough effort.

This invention is a true wind-in-your-face experience. Riders can use their wings to experiment with gusts of wind in an exciting way. It perfectly fits the tinkering, soaring spirit of Udara.

Nopuko Air Coaster

Nopuko Air Coaster, named after a famous Udaran inventor, is a Vekoma suspended looping coaster. Serving as the land’s backdrop, Nopuko is a relocated coaster—formerly operating in South Africa. Now at Lost Island, the refurbished coaster has new trains. Nopuko is a turbulent flight that surges through its sweeping inversions and hectic layout. The coaster flutters about with a few near-misses and unexpected jolts. It’s an intense ride, but Lost Island has its gentle attractions too.

The Spirit Realm: Tamariki

The spirit realm is the only realm at Lost Island not based on a natural element; instead, this is where the island’s peaceful guardians live: the Tamariki.

Tamariki are mischievous, generous little creatures with the best intentions. They believe in doing good together and living well forever. In the park’s backstory, the Tamariki are responsible for unifying the different realms. They are pretty significant for Lost Island as the park’s mascot is a Tamariki named Aoka. Throughout the park, small Tamariki figures can be spotted in every realm.

The Tamariki realm is the kiddie area of the park with several rides for children, including a wacky worm roller coaster and a play structure.

The bright colors and spirited design of the Tamariki realm make it such a cheerful place to be. The Tamariki realm balances out Lost Island nicely, both with its rides and its upbeat mood.

Lost Island: Iowa’s Hidden Gem

As you can tell, Lost Island is far from what you’d expect for a theme park in Iowa. There’s a lot to appreciate.

The individual stories all play a part in the grand theme; that’s why Lost Island is a complete experience. When taking a lap around the park, visitors can discover details that have meaning across every realm. Lost Island, unlike other parks, is not a mishmash of unrelated themed lands; all the realms directly support one another thematically.

Not only is the story that’s cohesive—Lost Island was clearly created under a single vision, and that extends to the look and feel of the park. It’s an artful place to wander.

Lost Island’s flat terrain provides a wide-open layout where you can look across the park and appreciate all there is in a single glance. In a park setup like this, the widespread visuals could have easily clashed or looked cluttered; however, it all seamlessly fits together like a beautiful puzzle. The tight-knit color schemes, the ideally placed rides, the seamless pathways—it all connects wonderfully and purposefully.

This unified theme allows for lively moments that build upon each other. Lost Island is dynamic as the costumed characters travel around every realm and interact with guests. Since the story is all connected, those characters can be in any realm and add to the experience.

The story, the visuals, the characters—it all breathes life into a fairy-tale destination worth visiting time and time again.

Finding Beauty in the Details

Lost Island is more than a collection of rides; it’s a park full of details worth appreciating. Themed light fixtures, decorated pathways, and small frills throughout are as significant as the park’s thrills. The unique soundtrack resounds around Lost Island, echoing the feel-good vibe for every sense.

Lost Island shines with color, and there are delights around every bend. This is a park that can be enjoyed in many ways. It may be by hopping on some rides for the fun of it, and that’s all. Or it may be by fully immersing yourself in the Auk Modu lore. The gift shop even has a translation guide for Lost Island’s original language; now that’s detail.

Finding Hope for Lost Island

Brand-new, independent, story-driven theme parks with this level of quality and detail don’t come around often in the U.S.—especially outside major tourist hubs. It’s surprising to see and special to experience. However, Lost Island still hasn’t reached its full potential. The promising theme park has some room for improvement.

Hopefully, Lost Island Themepark’s attendance numbers will continue to rise. As of the 2023 season, attendance is still light.

On the bright side, low crowds make Lost Island a breeze to visit. Mostly every attraction has a station wait. For those who want a break from busy theme parks or want to marathon every ride, Lost Island is as good as it gets.

Lost Island, though, has been criticized for its lack of shade. That’s somewhat to be expected for a ground-up park built on a soybean field, but it’s also valid criticism. The landscaping, while very nice, is still new and leaves the park somewhat bare. The trees, however, should grow and provide more shade in the coming seasons, also filling in the adventure theme.

The park is starting to get more established as it’s making steady improvements each year. Lost Island is said to get some theming upgrades, more shade installed, and general adjustments to elevate the guest experience. That’s just the short-term—in the long-term, Lost Island has expansion pads for several major additions if the park continues to grow.

With the possibility of new attractions as well as the emphasis on original storytelling, Lost Island is a place theme park fans should be rooting for. This park is what themed entertainment is all about.

The Cream of the Crop

Overall, Lost Island is a joy to visit. It’s also worth mentioning the employees are all welcoming, the food is incredible, and the park is very clean. There is much to compliment, but in short, Lost Island truly impresses in every way.

What Lost Island was able to create without a team of Imagineers is amazing. Building Lost Island Themepark was a risk; but, as an independent project, it’s definitely an accomplishment—one that hopefully finds its way like the water park eventually did.

Lost Island has elements comparable to the world’s elite theme parks. This park is like a little piece of Orlando bloomed in the Midwest. The Bertch family achieved their goal of bringing world-class entertainment to their neighbors in Iowa and for those passing through the area. The park is still being nourished and is growing, but it’s definitely the cream of the crop.

From a soybean field to an imaginary world of its own—Lost Island Themepark has an unlikely story, but sometimes, the best adventures can be found in the most unlikely places.

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