Knoebels Amusement Resort is a family-owned amusement park located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. It is one of the oldest and most beloved amusement parks in the United States, with a rich history that dates back more than 95 years.
The history of Knoebels begins in 1926, when two brothers, Henry and E. Earl Knoebel, purchased a small farm and started a swimming hole on the property. They soon added a snack bar and dance hall, and the popularity of the attraction grew. In 1927, they added a wooden roller coaster called the Dipper, which became a popular attraction in the area.
Over the years, the Knoebel brothers continued to expand their attraction, adding new rides and attractions. In 1941, they opened the park year-round, and during World War II, the park was used as a training ground for soldiers. In the 1950s, the park added a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a number of kiddie rides.
In 1961, the Knoebel brothers sold the park to their sons, Dick and Bobby Knoebel. Under their leadership, the park continued to grow and expand, adding new attractions and rides. In 1972, the park added its first steel roller coaster, the Whirlwind, which was designed by Anton Schwarzkopf.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Knoebels continued to expand, adding new rides and attractions. In 1990, the park added a new wooden roller coaster called the Twister, which was designed by the famous coaster builder John Allen. The Twister became an instant classic and has been ranked as one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world.
In 1999, Knoebels was hit by a devastating flood that caused significant damage to the park. The owners and employees worked tirelessly to rebuild the park, and it reopened in time for the summer season. Since then, Knoebels has continued to thrive, adding new rides and attractions, including the Flying Turns, a wooden bobsled coaster that was inspired by a ride that operated at the park in the 1930s.
Today, Knoebels Amusement Resort is still owned and operated by the Knoebel family, and it remains a beloved destination for families and coaster enthusiasts. The park is home to more than 60 rides and attractions, including six roller coasters, a water park, and a variety of family-friendly rides and games.
Best Rides at Knoebels Park
With more than 60 rides and attractions to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which ones to prioritize during a visit to the park. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best rides in Knoebels, from classic attractions to heart-pumping coasters.
- Phoenix – This wooden coaster is a fan favorite and has consistently been ranked among the best wooden coasters in the world. It was originally built in 1947 and was relocated to Knoebels in 1985. The ride features airtime hills and a smooth ride, making it a must-ride for coaster enthusiasts.
- Twister – Another classic wooden coaster, the Twister was built in 1999 and features a unique layout that twists and turns through the woods. It was designed by John Allen, who also designed the classic wooden coaster, the Cyclone, at Coney Island.
- Impulse – If you’re looking for a more modern coaster experience, Impulse is a great choice. This steel coaster features a vertical lift hill and a beyond-vertical drop, as well as a variety of twists and turns.
- Flying Turns – This wooden bobsled coaster is a modern take on a classic ride that was popular in the early 20th century. The ride features cars that glide on a trackless course, providing a thrilling and unique experience.
- Giant Flume – This classic water ride takes riders on a relaxing journey through a scenic forest and culminates in a thrilling drop down a waterfall.
- Grand Carousel – No visit to Knoebels is complete without a ride on the Grand Carousel. This beautifully restored antique carousel features 63 hand-carved horses and is a favorite among visitors of all ages.
- Haunted Mansion – This dark ride takes riders through a spooky haunted house filled with ghosts, ghouls, and other creepy creatures. It’s a great choice for those who want a spooky but not-too-scary experience.
- Whirlwind – This classic steel coaster was Knoebels’ first and is still a popular ride today. The ride features sharp turns and drops, providing a fun and thrilling experience.
- Kozmo’s Kurves – This fun family coaster features banked turns and small drops, making it a great choice for families with young children.
- Antique Cars – For a more relaxing ride, the Antique Cars are a great choice. These classic cars take riders on a scenic drive through the woods, providing a relaxing break from the thrills of the other rides.
When to Visit Knoebels?
As with any amusement park, the time of year you choose to visit can have a big impact on your experience. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best times to visit Knoebels.
Summer Months (June-August)
The summer months are the busiest time of year at Knoebels, as families take advantage of school vacations to plan trips to the park. This means longer lines, more crowds, and potentially hotter weather. However, summer is also when the park is fully operational, with all rides and attractions open and in full swing. The park’s water rides and pools are also a great way to beat the summer heat.
Fall Months (September-November)
The fall months are a great time to visit Knoebels, as the crowds thin out and the weather cools down. This is a great time to enjoy the park’s many fall-themed events, such as Hallo-Fun Weekends, which includes Halloween-themed attractions, live entertainment, and costume contests. The park is also open on select weekends in November for its “Christmas in the Grove” event, which features holiday lights, music, and decorations.
If you’re looking to avoid crowds, weekdays are generally the best time to visit Knoebels. This is especially true during the summer months, when families tend to visit the park on weekends. Visiting on a weekday can mean shorter lines, more opportunities to ride your favorite attractions, and potentially cooler weather. However, keep in mind that some attractions and food stands may have limited hours or may not be open at all on weekdays, so plan accordingly.
Spring Months (March-May)
While the weather can be unpredictable in the spring, this is still a great time to visit Knoebels. The park typically opens for weekends in March and April before opening daily in May. This is a great time to enjoy the park’s many outdoor attractions before the summer crowds arrive. Keep in mind that some attractions and food stands may have limited hours or may not be open at all during the early spring weekends.
If you’ve never been to Knoebels, check out this Phoenix coaster ride POV: