My family and I recently return from one of our favorite annual vacations, camping at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA. I have been visiting Knoebels Grove ever since I was a small child, as my parents grew up in a town nearby. I find that when I mention to friends that I am heading to Knoebels I consistently get one of two responses: Either friends have never heard of the place, or they absolutely love it.
Unique among amusement parks, parking and admission is free. You only pay if you want to enjoy their rides. You can pay per ride with tickets, or on most weekdays and during special designated times, you can purchase an armband to ride unlimited rides. Even then, you have the choice of an armband with a coaster option or without. They also have a swimming pool with water slides, for a separate price.
Knoebels has been family-owned and operated since 1926 when they opened their Crystal Pool, fed by mountain spring water. The family has been expanding and adding new attractions ever since. Although if you visit, you may feel like you have gone back in time: you can ride many of the same rides both my father and I recall enjoying as children.
The park is known among roller coaster enthusiasts for their wooden coasters. But my favorite ride is their Grand Carousel, built in 1913, has been operating at Knoebels since 1942. It is the only place I ever have been where you can grab for the brass ring, and win a free ticket to ride. My son pulled the brass ring twice this year (the first year he was tall enough to reach the rings).The smile on his face each time they announced his name as the winner was priceless.
Knoebel’s has a wide variety of delicious food at reasonable prices and they once again won the coveted Golden Ticket Award from Amusement Today for best amusement park food in 2011. If you go, I highly recommend the waffles and ice cream. My sister-in-law is on a mission to recreate them at home, as enjoying them once a year is not enough for this tasty treat!
And one more thing, if you visit be sure to pronounce the K as in kuh-NO-bel to sound like a true fan.
Have you ever visited Knoebel’s Grove? If so, which ride was your favorite?