Every year, my family can’t wait until the weather starts getting warmer so we can head to Knoebels Amusement Resort for opening day. There’s nothing quite like the family-run amusement park near Bloomsburg. Plus you can even bring your dog!
We like to escape there at least once a month and will keep heading to Knoebels all the way through the Halloween Phall Phun Phest, when the park is decorated and there are other special events. With free admission and free parking, it’s a great day trip that non-riding family members can enjoy, too. To go on the rides, you’ll purchase books of tickets, with each attraction costing a different amount. (All-day ride handstamps are also available on selected days.)
The amusement park itself is partially shaded but you can also cool off with some water rides or the huge swimming pool. (Daredevils can jump off the high dive.)
Plus the food is amazing! Knoebels has routinely been named as the best amusement park food in the country. You can find everything from tacos and Caesar salad to fresh kettle corn and funnel cakes. I recommend the fries from the Alamo Restaurant (check out the ketchup and vinegar dispensers!) and the caramel apple bowls. In the fall, you can buy apple cider that is made on the spot from whole apples. Yum! And if you’re having a family reunion or another party, you can rent a pavilion and either order catering or prepare your own food.
If you want to stay on-site, you can camp at the adjacent Knoebels campground or try one of the cottages or bed and breakfasts in the area.
Here are the top 10 things I love about Knoebels:
1. Flying Turns: There’s nothing quite like the Flying Turns, which opened in 2013. The ride starts with a traditional roller coaster lift hill, but then your car free floats through the track like a bobsled.
2. The Phoenix: Talk about air time! The Phoenix is a wooden roller coaster that was originally built as the Rocket in Texas and moved to Knoebels in 1985. It’s ranked No. 2 on Amusement Today’s list of top wooden coasters.
3. The brass ring on the Grand Carousel: Be sure to sit on the outside horses on the Grand Carousel so you can take a shot at grabbing the brass ring. After the carousel starts, ride operators extend an arm with a ring hanging at the end. If you’re lucky, you’ll nab the brass ring to get a free ride. My father impressed us all by grabbing three rings on each pass, but I’ve only ever been able to grab one or two myself. If you have a ring-nabbing tip, be sure to leave it in the comments!
5. Pioneer Train: Who doesn’t love a train? This one travels through two tunnels. (Be prepared for screaming! It’s a Knoebels tradition.) You also travel under the Twister roller coaster and head into the woods. If you’re lucky, you’ll see squirrels at the halfway point munching on some corn on the cob.
6. Haunted Mansion: This haunted house has been named the best traditional dark ride by Dark Ride and Funhouse Enthusiasts for over 10 years.
7. Fandango: If you’re a fan of air time, don’t overlook this gem! It’s one of my favorite rides at the park. It may not look like much, but the Fandango provides the air time of a coaster without the stress for more timid riders.
8. Stratosfear: Talk about a drop ride! Whoa! The Stratosfear takes you up nearly 150 feet in the air, for a beautiful view of Knoebels and the surrounding countryside. But within seconds, you’re plummeting to the earth.
10: Hand Cars and other kiddie rides: Hand-cranked cars and the giant Skyslide are two favorite kiddie rides that come to mind! (Psst … You can ride down the Skyslide with your child!) Your kids will love the Kozmo’s Kurves kiddie roller coaster, too.
Note: This giveaway ended August 6, 2014.
Eligibility Requirements: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Limited to legal residents of Pennsylvania who are customers of PPL Electric Utilities Corporation. Ends August 6, 2014. For Official Rules, including odds, methods of entry and prize descriptions, visit Giveaway Official Rules. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, Two North Ninth Street, Allentown, PA 18101.