If you live in the Northeast and enjoy amusement parks, you should consider visiting Knoebels Amusement Resort. My wife and I recently had the opportunity to visit this gem of a park located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania for a family outing. Knoebels Amusement Resort is a wonderful park nestled in the Endless Mountains in Central, Pennsylvania. Knoebels is located about 13 miles off Interstate-80. It is about a 3-hour drive from New York City, a 2-hour drive from Philadelphia, a 4.5-hour drive from Washington D.C., and a 6-hour drive from Boston.
Most amusement parks are no longer a frugal option for families to enjoy. The average cost for a general admission ticket to enter a popular theme park ranges from $80 to well over $100. Some parks now require reservations to go on rides. They charge to park, there are extra costs for shows, and the prices for refreshments are astronomically expensive.
Knoebels Amusement Resort is a throwback to the amusement parks of the past. It is the largest free-admission park in America. You can buy tickets for the rides that you want to go on or you can buy a pass that allows unlimited access to all the parks rides. Parking is free. All the many different shows and exhibits are also free.
There is a picnic grove that is free to use if you decide to bring your own food. The picnic grove has free electricity. There are coin-operated gas stove tops to rent or you can bring your own grill. Refrigeration is available if reserved. Pets are allowed. Coolers are allowed. Alcohol is not allowed at the picnic grove because it is a family-friendly environment.
There are many different dining options. The Alamo Restaurant offers entrees, sandwiches, and gluten-free options. The Nickel Plate Bar & Grill serves alcoholic beverages as well as great burgers and hot wings. There are also many different snack stands around the park if you want to grab something quick to eat while you are on the move. There is a Nathans Hotdog Stand, Cesari’s Pizza, an ice cream shop, and even a Starbucks.
The cost of food sold at the park is reasonable as well as very tasty. The New York-style pizza at Cesari’s was delicious. A large cheese pizza only cost $17.
Knoebels opened in 1926. It has been family owned for over 90 years. Many of the rides at Knoebels have won awards. Knoebels was voted by The Travel Channel as one of the Top-10 family-friendly parks in America. Knoebels currently has a 4.5-star rating based on over 1,800 reviews on Tripadvisor.com.
There is no shortage of rides at Knoebels. There are currently more than 60 rides. New rides are added almost every year.
There are rides for every age group. There is a carousel from 1913 that is fun for almost everyone. There is a spooky, yet family-friendly Haunted Mansion Dark Ride that was featured on the Discovery Channel. Knoebels is also famous for its two wooden roller coasters named the Twister and the Phoenix. The Phoenix wooden roller coaster is consistently ranked by Amusement Today magazine as one of the best wooden roller coasters. I found the Phoenix to be intense.
My wife and I are not hard-core when it comes to rides. Our favorite ride is the Scenic Skyway. The Scenic Skyway is a 14-minute ski-lift that climbs a mountain next to the park. This ride is great if you are into seeing panoramic mountain views. It is a nice ride to take some photographs.
Knoebels has a large campground with a few options. The campground is ideal for visitors who want to stay and enjoy the park for more than one day. There are campsites for tents as well as campers. There are also rustic Cozy Log Cabins as well as the Eagles Roost Units that offer more amenities. The campground is open from April 15th to November 1st.
If golf is your game, a quarter of a mile from the park is the Three Pond Golf Course. The Three Pond Golf Course is an 18 hole, par-71 course, that is broken into two 9-hole courses. There is a discount to play this course for those who are staying at Knoebels Campground.
If you want a break from the great rides, go for a swim to cool down. There is the gigantic Crystal Pool as well as a kiddie pool if you want to swim or relax poolside. You can purchase a daily pass or even a pass for the whole season. Group discounts are also available.
If shopping is your passion, there are many different shops to browse around in. There is the General Store that specializes in old fashion country charm. The park has a variety of different apparel shops that specialize in Knoebel’s hats, shirts, and other souvenirs. There are even different media stores to have custom photos and videos made for your visit.
Knoebels has other fun attractions.
Have you ever seen a Bald Eagle? There are currently two at the Bald Eagle Preserve. There are daily educational sessions at 2 pm.
Knoebels also has a few museums. There is a Carousel Museum with 50 carousel figures that date back to 1870. The mining museum has tools and artifacts from Pennsylvania’s rich mining history. There is even a Knoebels Museum that provides a detailed history of the park.
If you are looking for a cool place to hang out, enjoy a round miniature golf under the shaded pine trees.
There are also many arcades, a Laser Command game with a full obstacle course, multiple theaters, and other fun activities.
There is truly something for everyone at Knoebels Amusement Resort. We had a great day. The rides were fun and reasonable. The food was tasty and affordable. The park was not overly crowded like many of the big theme parks. It is simply a nice park that provides affordable family fun. In our group, everyone from the kids, to the parents, to the seniors had a great time at the park.
Have you ever been to Knoebels Amusement Resort? If you have, please share your experience in the comment section.