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Knoebels Park Review- A Hidden Gem Among the Parks of PA

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Location: United States of America
Information about Knoebels
Knoebels is a family-run amusement park in the small town of Elysburg, Pennsylvania. It's been open since 1926, when it was known as a picnic grove, and has evolved since then to feature over sixty rides and attractions- many are antique and rare among modern amusement parks. I went here back in the summer of 2017, just the day after leaving Cedar Point. I went in expecting little, and came out with my favorite amusement park to this day. Here are my thoughts on Knoebels.

Rides that I recommend doing/checking out
1. Phoenix- Most enthusiasts know it for its extensive history, this coaster opened in San Antonio, TX at Playland Park in 1948. Then once the park closed down in 1980, the Knoebel family purchased the ride and relocated it to their picnic grove among the other rides and attractions. Since then it's been ranked as one of the top wooden coasters in the world (And I can justify that statement from experience, as it was my 100th coaster credit.) This coaster gives insane standing airtime because the buzz bar restraint doesn't even touch you. This is my favorite ride at the park.
2. Twister- This coaster is a reincarnation of the Mister Twister coaster at Elitch Gardens. This ride was built in 1999, 4 years since Elitch Gardens moved locations from a small town to the big city of Denver, Colorado. The original Mister Twister was demolished with the move but Twister II, a subpar version to the original, was built as a "replacement" to the classic woodie. Knoebels bought the blueprints and manufactured this reincarnation entirely in-house, and it is a great ride, with laterals galore and even a pop of airtime. Many enthusiasts have this or Phoenix as their favorite ride at Knoebels.
3. Impulse- This doesn't fit in with the nostalgic vibe of Knoebels, but it's a great ride regardless. This version of Zierer's take on a Gerstlauer Eurofighter is thrilling, compact and twisty, with four intense inversions and a split second of INSANE ejector airtime on the first drop. The only bad things about this ride are that the restraints do get painful after the first drop, and that the line will always be long because of its low capacity (Two eight person trains at max, when I went they were running one.)
4. Cosmotron- This is a Musik Express in the dark, and was originally a classic Traver Caterpillar ride that was put indoors and converted. This ride does have strobe lights, so individuals with epilepsy or similar conditions should refrain from riding.
5. Haunted Mansion- Now when I saw this ride at first, I thought it was a knockoff of Disney's Haunted Mansion. Oh man, was I wrong- this is the scariest ride in the park, even more so than any of the park's coasters! I'll tell you that this ride has two major jumpscares, and is a very long dark ride. When I went this didn't have a very long wait, but it's worth noting that this is a long dark ride, as well as a classic (Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year- opened in 1973.)
6. Flying Turns- Nothing shows you how dedicated the Knoebel family is to preservation more than this coaster. After 7 years of failures with the trains, the track and safety restrictions, Knoebels revived the wooden bobsled in what is the first Flying Turns style coaster since the last closed down in the 70s. This ride had a 40 minute wait when I went because of its startlingly low capacity (3 trains with up to 6 people per train.)
7. Scenic Skyway- My favorite skyride I've ever been on, this takes you up the side of a mountain and away from Knoebels amusement park. The view from the top is just stunning, as you can see the entirety of Knoebels laid out before your eyes. This was the last ride that I did at the park and it was a great way to end my first visit to my new favorite amusement park.

Besides the rides, Knoebels has a small waterpark (The Crystal Pool, located near Twister), loads of carnival games, a campground, picnic areas, and many other amenities. Dogs are even allowed at this park! Knoebels is also a bargain compared to most other amusement parks- there's free admission and free parking. Instead of each major ride costing $10 like Galaxyland and Family Kingdom's pay per ride systems, the most expensive rides in the park (Impulse, Phoenix, Flying Turns, Twister, Black Diamond, etc) only cost a meager $3! The food here is also incredibly reasonably priced- an amazing grilled chicken sandwich at a restaurant overlooking the creek was under $10 combined with my drink. The merchandise at the park is also a bang for your buck, as I bought a Phoenix t-shirt for TWELVE DOLLARS! Most parks would force you to fork over $25 or more for a decent t-shirt, but Knoebels knows that's not right. I was able to score a home-made Knoebels blanket for $50, whereas most other places wouldn't even offer that; and if they did, it'd be outrageously expensive to begin with (If you want to know where I bought both of those items, it was at the gift shop near Phoenix and the band organ.)

Knoebels is often overlooked and shoved aside for other parks in the Dutch Pennsylvania area like Hersheypark and Dorney Park, but it is a great way to save money while also having the greatest time of your life! Coaster fans that want the huge, modern and insane rides can go head over to Hershey, but I'd rather be at a place like Knoebels that feels like a hometown fair without all the outrageous pricing and bad rides. Knoebels is a great place for an entire family, and still offers some thrills (Phoenix, Twister, Impulse, Flying Turns) whilst letting everyone have an amazing time!

For your information- I don't work for Knoebels and this is not sponsored by them at all. So don't take this with a mound of salt, okay?
Thanks for reading,
1. Voyage 2. Intimidator 305 3. Maverick 4. Skyrush 5. Mindbender (Galaxyland) 6. Fury 325 7. Kumba 8. Goliath (Six Flags Over Georgia) 9. The Beast 10. Phoenix

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