Park Review of Knoebels Amusement Resort
Date: July 24th, 2013
Weather: Perfect (Mid 70's and Partly Cloudy)
Overall Rating: Good
Ride Rating: Okay
Opinion: Worth it within a 3-4 hour drive.
Staff: Carrie and Kitsune
Overview: Knoebels is a small, family owned amusement park set in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. It's not the most widely known park and tends to be frequented by folks from the area or those who know about this hidden little gem. While not known for building their own rides, Knobels has a rich history of taking other folks 'unwanted/old' rides and moving them into the park, giving them a new life for folks to enjoy. The park boasts three relocated roller coasters, a classic 'pretzel car' haunted house and carousel that still has it's brass ring. The parks biggest claim to fame (and also their current embarrassment) is that they are attempting to build a wooden bobsled coaster, which hasn't been done since the 1920's. They've won the Golden Ticket award in 2012 for 'Best Carousel' and in 2011 for 'Best Food' and 'Best Carousel'.
We headed to Knoebels in the early afternoon as we slept through our 'entirely too damn early' alarms and opted for a few more hours of sleep. This was worth it as the night had been oddly cold and allowed the weather to warm up to something near 'perfect' for the park. It was 'Craft Fair' while we where there which lead to very crowded parking lot conditions but we where pleased to see the lines didn't much reflect the cramped conditions. We found the park busy but not wall-to-wall with people.
To understand the feel of the park we jokingly call it "A carnival that set down roots and never left". Some of their rides are straight out of your local fairgrounds while others are the beloved, vintage rides of other parks who discarded them for 'newer' attractions. It's a crazy mish-mash that you can't help but love.
Unlike other parks, Knoebels still offers a ticket system as well as a 'ride all day' band. However, we opted for the ticket system as two of the main rides we wanted aren't offered on the ride band system (Black Diamond and Haunted House). We found our tickets at Weis Grocery Stores for $16 per book which is a $4 per book savings. Naturally we purchased 3 books and used up damn near all of them on the classic attractions offered at the park.
Now, considering we skipped eating in favor of getting to the park our first stop was food. A quick check of our park map, we pointed ourselves in the general direction we wanted and stumbled into food along the way. Finding a Pennsylvania favorite on the menu, we both ordered Chedder and Potato Perogies with Sour Cream, a White Burch Beer Soda for the huge whopping total of about $9. They where good! Made the right way and then fried to perfection, the soda is a Central PA favorite and an addiction so it was also excellent. Seating was easy to find and all of the picnic tables near the food stand offered a huge amount of shade and excellent people-watching for our meal. It's easy to see why they won the Golden Ticket in 2011 for best food, the prices won't break the bank, you get enough and it's GOOD.
Now, the downside.
The bathrooms are DISGUSTING. Seriously, utterly and totally foul. Not a single one of them either of us visited was in during our day was clean. Each and every one of them smelled like a unkempt truck-stop and looked like one too. None of them had hot water to wash your hands in, two of them didn't even have soap in the dispensers and not a drop of hand sanitizer to be seen (so make sure you carry your own). You know the phrase "I felt like I caught a disease in there"? That's about the state of the restrooms. Seriously Knoebels, You need to fix this because it's unacceptable on so many levels!
Encountering a Whip we stopped because, how can you pass up a classic ride? Whip's are becoming more and more rare at parks as they are pushed out in favor of other rides but they still hold a special place for riders. Knoebel's has an original and it's kept up at meticulous standards plus they don't cut your ride short (like so many other parks do) giving you full time to enjoy being slung around an oval track and enjoy your physics!
By this point we stumbled onto the flood sign. If you know anything about Knoebels it's the fact that every few years the creek goes into revolt and floods the park. From 1972-2011 Knoebels has had multiple damaging floods which the park always recovers from somehow. When other parks might move or just give up, Knoebels just cleans it up and re-opens for the next season. The flood sign I'm standing next to not only proves I'm short and would have drowned but just how high the water has gotten over the years with 1972 and 2011 being the worst floods the park has faced.
While Knoebels isn't the biggest or grandest park I've ever been too, I had to admit it's one of the more fun ones (aside from the bathroom problem). You may not think it's much to look at but the history is neck deep and the rides are classics you just don't see anymore. If you haven't experienced this park you really are missing something, you just need to spend the time and visit. It doesn't have to be for a week or even a full day but everyone should enjoy it at some point.
Yes, I know that I haven't talked about Flying Turns.
Okay Carrie, Why?
Because Flying Turns and all the crazy information I found out about is featured in it's own piece here on ISI. It can be found, along with new photos and rumors below!
The Status of Flying Turns
The Status of Flying Turns
For more photos of our day at Knoebels Amusement Resort please see our Photo Report! You can find it by viewing the blog or by following this handy little link "Photo Report: Knoebels".