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Lost Island theme park makes final touches before opening day

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL)-- Lost Island theme park is gearing up for its grand opening on June 18th, but the journey has been anything but easy.

Between record high inflation numbers, supply chain setbacks, and the staff shortage, owner Gary Bertch says there have been a lot of obstacles in their way. 

“I’m not sure we could’ve picked a worse time to building as far as the inflation aspect of it goes but once we had started we were committed and have to follow through,” Bertch said. 

For the owner, the 15-year-long dream was founded in his own experience with his family.

"To provide somewhere where you can spend time with your kids, and your kids grow up, and they grow up awfully fast so having the opportunity to spend time together as a family that was important for us," Bertch said.

Adding, "a lot of memories get made in places like these so we’re really excited to extend and expand that a little bit."

Bertch and his son also own and operate Lost Island Waterpark-- which was rated second in the nation in USA Today this year.

At the beginning of the year, the parks set a goal to hire more than 400 new employees. Bertch says for now, they're about 100 short-- but they're staying positive they'll be able to attract more during the summer.

"I think we’re okay for the day operations, we were hoping to be open evenings on Friday and Saturday but right now we’re probably not going to be able to do that but maybe by the time the season progresses at some point we may be able to  add,” he said.

The new amusement park is themed-- each section corresponding with natural elements. Bertch says besides thrill seeking rollercoasters-- he thinks there will be something there for everyone to have fun.

“Rollercoasters are always a big draw for people but of course— you know they’re not always for everybody, not everybody likes that thrill ride, so we try to have a good mix here, of thrill seeker rides and family rides," he added.

Despite every challenge they've faced-- Bertch is excited to see what the future holds for the new park, after the tiki gates open next week.

“It’s been in the works for an awful long time it is rewarding to getting to this point where you can actually see what was on paper and in your mind actually come to life,” he concluded.

To apply to either parks or see their hours, click here.