Tag Archives: Arnolds Park

Time for Long Walks on Short Piers in Siouxland, Arnolds Park, Adams Homestead

26 Jul

A well used pier or dock at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reading recently a person’s account of how much they like being around bodies of water. Big or little bodies. In Siouxland there are various places one can go and enjoy a day or part of a day being near water. I enjoy the chance to “walk on water” usually with the help of a pier or dock of some description. And some of these appear safer than others.

A boat dock near the amusement park in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some docks or piers are for daily use, while some rarely see use at all. But each has their charm as does the small or large body of water it sits upon. And each and everyone is good for summer day dreams or dreams any time of the year. Leading one to see adventure somewhere “out there”, away from the shoreline into another realm.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Gull Point State Park near Milford, Iowa Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)



Enjoying a Summer’s Day in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

14 Jul

Three friends sit on the end of a pier and enjoy the day near Arnolds Park Amusement Park in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some Siouxland summer days are lazy days, meant to be enjoyed without much fuss or muss. With or without friends, doing something one likes. That is what summer days are for no matter one’s age, or whether it’s pleasure or work. Sometimes both can be accomplished.

Artist Karen Cooper spends her time painting a scene near the Arnolds Park Amusement Park in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 7, 2020. A local media publication photographer spends he day joining her for a feature story. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Too many days throughout the year are spent working and achieving, and the idle or down time goes missing. Time that is spent recharging and being. No time schedule or agenda other than to enjoy the day. And maybe to relive that moment later as one grows older and time off seems a distant, faded memory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A man walks his small dog near West Laike Okoboji near Arnolds Park Amusement Park in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

1 Aug

Some days during the summer it can be just a nice day to be out and seeing nature. On a recent visit to Arnolds Park I tried not to take in a broad view of places I have seen a few previous times, but looked for something photographically that appealed to me yet was something I had not really pursued. It seems easy to get caught in the same wagon train rut and ride along just trying to photograph something familiar but differently. And sometimes when relaxing and not really thinking about what it is exactly that you want to do differently, ideas appear. And the days seems all the brighter for it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Looking for color in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)


Looking for color in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Moment in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

28 Jul

Sitting on a dock and soaking in a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many times when I am out and about in Siouxland, most times looking for photographic opportunities, there are times when I just stop and enjoy the moment. Some one I read along the way said how can a person really enjoy photography if they don’t enjoy the view, or something to that effect. And most assuredly this person was not talking about war photography or human life crises. But nature, where it’s possible to be in one’s own zone and embrace what’s there. There is truth to another older saying that if one doesn’t stop to smell the roses at some point, the beauty and inspiration gets passed by.

Jerry L Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Prepping for Summer, Arnolds Park

24 Apr

I stopped into Arnolds Park, Iowa recently just wanting to get out and enjoy some spring sunshine and warmer temps. After having a lunch I walked about seeing the nice weather being put to use as workers were prepping the sight seeing boat the Queen II for cruising the lakes this summer. Docks along the shoreline near the Arnolds Park amusement park were not yet installed. And a boat was hauling a boat docking device of some type across the lake as boaters will later begin bringing their boats to the lakes for idling away summer hours.

I met another couple out “walking” their dog. Well, part of the walk was in a stroller. The woman explained their pet was 17 years old and not as spry as it had been when younger, but it still enjoys getting out and sniffing to its heart content. And it was a nice day for a warm with blue sky and temperatures in the 60’s.

A woman takes her 17-year-old dog for a walk in a stroller in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, April 11, 2017. She said the little guy still gets out to walk, but not as well as when he was younger. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)


Seeing the work being done at West Lake Okoboji reminded one that warmer, sunny days are coming and it is nice to have the opportunity to enjoy these moments.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s end of season, Arnold’s Park Amusement Park

19 Oct

The crowds have long dispersed from their summer activities and life has considerably slowed in the small communities of Arnold’s Park and Okoboji. But the lesser crowds doesn’t really change any photographic opportunities one can find. On a recent visit which was overcast and rainy, it was nice to be able to walk in quiet and just enjoy the scenes as they were without a lot of hustle and bustle. For some of the photography classes I teach I always remind people that sometimes what you are looking to photograph isn’t there, so you adjust and photograph what is there, and see the opportunities in front of you and sometimes you can be very surprised by the results.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland, where the living is easy at the Lakes, Arnolds Park

3 Jul

I lived in the Siouxland area close to 12 years now, and until this year, had never visited the Iowa Lakes Region in northwest Iowa. It is only a 2-hour drive north, through pretty farm country and then into the lakes area. In the summer time, the lakes area is where people go to play, for families and singles. The area around Arnolds Park, East and West Okoboji and other areas are highly developed. According to history, this area has been popular a long time as a place to get away and relax. The amusement park has been a magnet for decades, as well as the lakes, where people constantly boat. My second visit this past week saw storm clouds and intermittent rain showers pass over the area. It looked dark and foreboding, reminding me more of England and images I have seen of it that of sunny Iowa, corn fields and a Field of Dreams. Personally, I liked the dark clouds, and overcast skies. I like summer, but not as much as fall and early spring. The wind gusts in the area that day were 30-40 miles an hour, maybe more. There were whitecaps on Lake Okoboji. And being early in the week, fewer people. Crowds are okay, but large crowds are not a favorite of mine.

The communities surrounding the lakes though are highly developed. Some might think overly developed. Like a university town during school, these communities overflow with humanity in the summer. Rental cabins are compressed into what space there is. Even shoreline homes are shoe horned next to one another. It is a cozy feeling. So many people trying to just get away from whatever daily routines they have to enjoy themselves and relax. People I know have family rituals and talk about their childhood memories of visiting the lake. They now take their children to the lakes region, creating another set of childhood memories and passing on the tradition. However like many popular places to get away too, sometimes prices are steep, but worth it. Real estate in the area I am told has increasingly gone up. People talk of previously owning places around the lake, now just visit, becoming more like nomads without a permanent residence.

But it is a nice place to visit. Welcoming, friendly, truly an Iowa place that tells its neighbor to stop on by and have a cup of coffee. I can see the allure, and will be making more trips to visit myself. Sometimes wondering why I waited so long, but know that I will return. One weekend I plan to watch the crowd and see the surge of humanity that flocks to the lakes with people everywhere, just getting away and forgetting the outside world for a few hours or a weekend.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Summer, Arnolds Park

19 May

I recently visited the Lakes Region in Western Iowa, specifically Arnolds Park, to check out the area of its amusement park. It has one of the oldest roller coaster rides in the United States and some other shops along its board walk. It also has a cruise boat that people can purchase tickets to and ride around the lakes, imagining the more genteel days of the late 1800’s when the first boat was put into service.

This is history located on a website about Arnolds Park amusement park: “The Arnold’s Park resort was established in the 1880s by W. B. Arnold, and the town of the same name came later.  There were no early coasters.  Following Arnold’s death in 1905, the property was divided into two parts.
The part containing the original amusement park passed into the hands of Dr. A. L. Peck.  The park was called Peck’s Park approximately from 1917 to 1945, although it came under new ownership in 1935.  After subsequent sales, it was Lawler’s Park (or Lawlor’s–newspapers are inconsistent on the spelling) from 1946 to 1950, and then Arnolds Amusement Park beginning in 1951.  This park had three roller coasters, each replacing the previous one, and built in essentially the same location. The adjacent property (to the SW) resulting from the division was developed as Stevens Beach (by 1908) and later as Benit’s Park (around 1922).  The owners incorporated as Lakes Amusement Company in 1935. Although under different ownership, the two amusement parks had contiguous midways and cooperated in most advertising and promotion.  The two parks with the names Arnolds Park and Benit’s Park continued at least until 1968.  It isn’t known when the parks came under joint ownership but a 1985 item suggests this happened in the early 1970s.”

This information is provided about the Queen II: “In the late 19th century, the lakes region became a resort area and the small steamboats and sailboats could not keep up with the flow of vacationers. The Queen, a large steamer, was constructed, along with other larger boats, to accommodate this new need. By the 1920s, the construction of roads around the lakes brought about the demise of most of the fleet. The Queen stayed in service for those people who wished to see the lake by water. In 1973 the Queen was finally retired, after 89 years of service. The Queen II was commissioned and built in 1986 and she was designated the “Flagship of the Iowa Navy.”

I plan to go back there during the summer, understanding that at times the crowds and traffic and be quite overwhelming and to see the attraction in all of its glory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


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