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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Events Other Events July 15 - Hula and Old Amusement Park (roadtrip anyone?)
July 15 - Hula and Old Amusement Park (roadtrip anyone?)
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2006-06-19 7:54 pm   Permalink

Here is something I suggested on a whim, for a few members of the DC/VA tiki group. I thought I'd post it here, for those in the PA/NY/NJ/OH/Northeast area who might also be interested. I visited this place by myself two years ago, loved it, and thought it might be fun if a group of tiki-philes could gather there on the same day.

Date: Saturday, July 15th
Destination: Knoebl's Amusement Park, Elysburg, PA (about 2.5 hours north of Baltimore)

Reason for this date: live stage appearances by 'Auntie Hula's Fabulous Royal Hawaiians' (this group is there for one week, I thought the first Saturday might work for us)

I visited this park a couple of years ago, and absolutely loved it - it is a real gem, having officially opened 80 years ago - in 1926. Since that first visit, I have wanted to form a group trip ever since.

Here are some of the reasons why I love this park, and why you will likely enjoy it too.

- the park has a definite retro feel to it, with some very old buildings and rides - the bumper car attraction has the oldest and best cars I have seen in the entire country

- the setting is wonderful, and quite relaxing, as it is nestled in a wooded region, with a couple of streams flowing through. It does NOT have the look and feel of a corporate amusement park, nor the advertising budget of Hersheypark or certain California parks. Knoebl's' is family owned.

- Admission is FREE .... you pay extra for whatever rides and games you wish to pursue. Top price for an individual ride on the top coasters is $2.20

- dogs are allowed, if they are on a leash

- the park has two great world-class wooden coasters - the Phoenix and the Twister. The Twister is based on a similar ride that existed in the Elitches Amusement park in Denver. When I visited, on a Saturday in July, the longest wait in line I had for these two coasters was 15 minutes at the most.

- the food is great, and the prices are very reasonable. They even have a perogie stand.

- old vintage looking putt-putt courses, boat rides, and other picture-worthy opportunities. Check out this giant birthday-cake picnic pavilion......

- The carousel ride has a 'capture the brass ring', for those riding the outer ring of the carousel horses

- The Haunted House ride is one of the best in the country.

If you have ever been to Pittsburgh's Kennywood, Knoebl's kind of has that look and feel to it, but with much smaller crowds.

There is an outdoor Hawaiian show on July 15th - I believe they put on a show twice a day. I cannot vouch for the quality of the production, but seeing a Hawaiian hula show in the middle of Pennsylvania coal country has to be worth something.

Website for Knoebl's is here

and here is another site with good reviews and lots of pictures

One bad thing is that although Knoebl's offers plenty of picnic areas, there is no alcohol served or allowed in the park. Also, I called about adjacent campsites, and all weekend spots were filled through Labor Day (although one of the local DC/MD persons was able to get a spot)

However, I myself have made hotel reservations for the Quality Inn and Suites in Shamokin Dam, PA (about 15 miles west of Knoebl's) and might be willing to gather with other tiki-philes there for mai-tais after park closing hours. I made my reservations through Orbitz, and got a rate of about $80 per night.

Pennsylvania has many other cool attractions nearby, including Centralia - the city that has been on fire since 1961 (the coal underneath is burning) is only 15 miles away, and Roadside America, a GREAT place to pay a quick visit (near Strausstown, right off I-78), not to mention the many antiquing opportunities.

Let me know if you are interested.


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chisel slinger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 23, 2004
Posts: 263
From: columbus,ohio
Posted: 2006-06-20 06:04 am   Permalink

cool looking place. I loved kennywood when I was a kid. is it still there?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2006-06-20 08:18 am   Permalink

Yes, Kennywood is still there (just south of Pittsburgh) My one visit there was nice, but came a year too late - after they had transformed the tunnel-of-love dark water ride into a 3-D glow-in-the-dark Garfield attraction. But I was impressed with some of their older coasters and their rocking Noah's Ark funhouse

Pennsylvania has a couple of other nice smaller amusement parks, which feature pre-World War II coasters - Idlewild, near Ligonier on Route 30, and Lakemont Park, in Altoona, which features 'Leap the Dips,' the oldest operating coaster coaster (1902) in the U.S.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2006-07-04 5:38 pm   Permalink

The July 4th edition of the Washington Post has an article about the Knoebl's Park, specifically about roller coaster designer John Fetterman and his quest to keep wooden coasters alive. It is a good article, and ties in some of the coaster history of both coney Island and Disneyland.



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Jeff Central
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1681
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2006-07-05 04:41 am   Permalink

Dang!! I have to work that weekend. I sure would like to go though Vern. It sounds like an awesome park. I am a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts and everyone raves about that park. Oh, well, thanks for the heads up. Maybe we can plan a trip there for next year!! It is not very often you get to mix tikis and coasters!! Have Fun!!!

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