The City of Pella wanted to provide a fun, family-oriented waterpark for its community and patrons of all ages that would also be a great regional attraction. The site for the existing municipal pool in Pella offered limited room for expansion, and the new outdoor design needed to fit within the constraints of the current site adjacent to its natatorium. The project was divided into two phases, based on projected funding.  The first phase consisted of a single pool with both recreational features and lap lanes that served the basic recreational and program needs for the community. Because of the outstanding interest by the community and resulting attendance, the second phase, including an Adventure River, was completed four years after the original opening.

The site for the facility was selected to be adjacent to the natatorium so that both facilities could share staffing and programming. After Phase I was opened on July 3, 2004, the natatorium saw a substantial increase in attendance in the summer months.

The Dutch heritage of the Pella community was integrated into the design of the facility, including the architecture of the buildings. A unique tulip-shaped zero-depth entry was integrated into the pool to celebrate that annual Tulip Festival. In addition to the tulip-shaped pool, bright and vivid primary colors were splashed throughout the entire facility.

In June 2008, the new addition of the Adventure River was added to the Pella Aquatic Center.

With the expansion, the City of Pella wanted to add an exciting aquatic feature where everyone gets wet! The result was a 494-foot Adventure River that offers fun for all ages and sizes. You can ride it on tubes that encounter static waterfalls, or get pummeled by water from uniquely-designed geysers and tidal tank. You can also zip down 200-foot tube slides or experience the shallow play area with a family slide and bubblers.

The landscape of the Adventure River offers continuous waterfalls along its path. Natural landscaping and plantings are embedded within the waterfall and rockscape to create a very natural look. Water’s Edge Aquatic Design incorporated a 300 gallon bucket that empties at random at unsuspecting guests in the river. The Pella Aquatic Center is also the only aquatic center in the state to have waves generated along the river itself.

Also honoring their Dutch heritage, a graceful arching bridge spans the river. The bridge contains a waterfall feature that is concealed by cobblestones. An island at the entrance/exit of the Adventure River assists in traffic flow within the river, and part of the river contains an oxbow that slopes from the zero depth down to the river. This extension was designed to provide a family-friendly area for all of the park guests – from toddlers to adults. The oxbow extension contains a family slide, multiple sprays, shaded bench, stairs and an underwater bench.

Water’s Edge Aquatic Design was able to design this aquatic facility below the city budget by setting the elevation for the Adventure River four feet lower than the pool in Phase I. This effort was to best balance the cut and fill materials, avoiding unnecessary and costly efforts to haul in or haul away materials. Energy-efficiency was achieved by using Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) for the lazy river motive flow, and specialized pool heater systems that are 50 percent more efficient than conventional pool heaters.  

Pella, Iowa, was founded in 1848 when 800 Dutch immigrants settled the area. With a current population of nearly 10,000 people, Pella is a charming city that brings a touch of Holland to its community and visitors. Pella’s Dutch heritage is reflected in its culture, wonderful architecture and many attractions that make it a unique and interesting place to visit.

If you haven't yet been to see this new Pella attraction, plan to take some time to do so!


Size: 78,309 square feet (within fenced boundaries)

Year opened: 2004 (Phase 2 completed 2008)

Cost: $6.8 million (projected 2009 value

Dream feature: The Dutch heritage of the Pella community was integrated into the design of the facility, including the architecture of the buildings.


  • Dream Designer: Water’s Edge Aquatic Design
  • Site Civil Engineering:Engineering Resource Group
  • Concrete Construction: Grooms Construction
  • Electrical Engineering: Hoss & Brown Engineers
  • General Contractor: M & M Enterprises
  • Building Architect: TSP Architects


  • Chemical Control Systems:Santa Barbara Control Systems
  • Dive Stands: Duraflex International Corp.
  • Filters: United Industries Inc.
  • Heaters: Sentry Heating System
  • Rockscape:Bulach Custom Rock
  • Spray Park Accessories: Water Odyssey
  • Sun Shades: Sun Ports
  • Water Play Structures: SCS Interactive
  • Waterslides: Splashtacular


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