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Volkanu Takes Gold! – Dark Ride Recognized as Best New Family Attraction at Golden Ticket Award

Lost Island Themepark receives esteemed honor

Amusement Today announced their top pick for "Best New Family Attraction of 2022" in San Antonio, Texas last weekend [Sept. 10, 2022] at the annual Golden Ticket Awards. Lost Island Themepark, which just opened this past June in Waterloo, Iowa, was awarded the coveted Golden Ticket Award for their original dark ride, VOLKANU - Quest For The Golden Idol. Ranked with top international attractions, runner ups included Epcot, Six Flags Over Texas, Gardaland, and Futurescope.

Within the park’s mythical Mura (fire) realm, the attraction features a park-based storyline, centering around the great god of fire – Volkanu - who lives deep inside the volcano at Lost Island.  The experience takes riders on a thrill-packed adventure to locate the sacred Ora-Tika statue, responsible for keeping Volkanu dormant, and return it to the altar to restore peace to the island.

Designed and produced by Sally Dark Rides, the 4D attraction features a custom storyline, trackless vehicles, immersive scenery, interactive gaming, several impressive animatronics, and special effects such as wind and live fire.  

Drew Hunter, VP of Creative Design, and lead designer of Volkanu, remarks:

“This is a wonderful recognition and a superb testament to the creativity and determination of all who have worked so hard to make VOLKANU and the Lost Island Themepark a success!”


About Volkanu – Quest for the Golden Idol: This interactive dark ride is housed inside the park’s large, iconic Volcano structure, serving as a beacon to the Mura Realm at Lost Island. Once aboard, riders will experience over five minutes of showtime chock-full of interactive gameplay, 3D media, breathtaking scenery, animatronic figures, and immersive special effects.

The Story: Designed to create a seamless experience with the park’s mythical island theme, the ride is inspired by the great god of fire Volkanu - a legendary bestial being of molten rock living deep inside Lost Island. The experience takes riders on a thrill-packed adventure to locate the sacred Ora-Tika statue, responsible for keeping Volkanu dormant and return it to the altar to restore peace to the island.

Project Scope: Sally Dark Rides turnkeyed the attraction, managing the story, ride design, fabrication, and installation, which were accomplished on time for the season opener in June 2022.


About Sally Dark Rides

Recognized as the worldwide leader for turnkey dark rides, Sally specializes in building destination-quality attractions for regional parks around the world.  Founded in 1977, Sally Dark Rides began as an animatronic production company. Since then, Sally has evolved into the lead designer and manufacturer of the most successful dark rides around the world. Sally’s services include custom design, special effects, animatronics, and scenic fabrication, media integration, control systems, project management, and installation.

About Lost Island Themepark

Lost Island Themepark is a new theme park in Waterloo, Iowa. The 90-acre (36 ha) park includes five themed lands, which feature numerous attractions including three roller coasters and a signature dark ride. Lost Island Themepark is owned by the Bertch family, which operates the Lost Island Waterpark, adjacent to the theme park. Construction on Lost Island Theme Park began in August 2019, it opened on June 18, 2022.

About Golden Ticket Awards

Started in 1998, the Golden Ticket Awards were established by Amusement Today to shine a spotlight on the amusement park industry and attractions by recognizing the “Best of the Best.” Today, they are among the most sought-after awards among theme parks, amusement parks, family entertainment centers and water parks. The Golden Ticket Awards are the direct result of votes cast from around the globe. More than 500 experienced travelers, divided equally among the nation as well as internationally, receive ballots.