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A Day at Knoebel’s

As some of you may be aware, I am an amusement park junkie--although of a particular sort. I don’t go in for the Six Flags/Cedar Point superparks, I prefer the old independently-owned ones that have somehow managed to survive. My favorite is probably Kennywood in my hometown of Pittsburgh.

This week I finally had a chance to visit Knoebels in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, and even though it was beastly hot (90s and humid) my wife and I had a fine day. Knoebels has two great wooden coasters, both of which have been built in the past ten years. But what I really came to ride was the Haunted Mansion (not to be confused with the Disney ride of the same name), which is legendary among fans of dark rides (good sites on this subject are the Darkride and Fun House Enthusiasts page and Laff in the Dark). Now I’ve been through a lot of haunted houses in my day, and this stands out as perhaps the best. The special effects weren’t Disney quality, of course, and a lot of the stunts will be familiar to any dark ride fan--the old snake-in-the-clock, the oncoming bus (complete with deafening air horn), the waterfall that stops just as you’re about to pass under it, etc. But on this ride the action happens only inches from where the cars go past. As a result you spend the entire ride wondering what’s going to pop out at you next. Lots of fun.

By the way, if you like dark rides, another good one is the Whacky Shack at Waldameer Park in Erie.

By the way, Cedar Point, despite its huge size, doesn’t have a single dark ride. No wonder I don’t like it.

Discussions - 9 Comments

What about the Disaster Transport? That’s dark. Or has that been done away with? Been a few years since I’ve visited America’s Roller Coast....(oh so clever).

Well, okay, I’ll give partial credit for Disaster Transport--only partial because it’s really just a roller coaster inside a building. The Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts don’t include it on their list of darkrides.

I grew up in Erie during the 40’s and 50’s, and probably have not been to Waldameer in 45 years. I am glad to see it is still going strong.

Is Hershey Park still a good value?

I’ve never been to Hershey, although coincidentally I watched a television show about it just yesterday. It doesn’t seem to have any dark rides, which makes it less appealing, but then there’s all that chocolate, which helps to make up for it. Perhaps I’ll go there next summer.

I haven’t been to Kenntwood since I was a girl, which was many years ago, but when you mentioned it I had to look it up. Have you seen these parks on Google Earth? Weird and wonderful.
Thanks.

When I was a kid, John, the dark ride at Waldameer was Ye Olde Mill Chutes or something like that. My brother and I loved it and used to call it "fun in the dark". It ended with a ride up and down a hill and a splash in the pond.

It is wonderful to see that not all old memories have been concreted over by progress. Waldemeer’s continued existence is a tribute to folks like you who support it with patronage and publicity. Thanks.

When my kids were young I did my time in lines. No more. If the line exceeds 5 minutes I’m gone - unless there is an empty bar stool.

I don’t think I waited more than ten minutes for any of the rides at Knoebels. Or at Waldameer when I visited last year, or last time I was at Kennywood. Of course, I made a point of going to these places on weekdays!

I was at Kennywood last Thursday, for the first time in a couple of years. A good time was had by all. And the Thunderbolt is still the greatest. :-)

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