Knoebels Amusement Resort
Knoebels is a family-owned amusement park in Pennsylvania that has been operating since 1926. It started as a swimming hole and picnic area, and gradually added rides and attractions over the years. Knoebels is known for its nostalgic charm, free admission, and award-winning roller coasters. Some of the park’s most popular rides include the Phoenix, the Twister, and the Flying Turns.
Knoebels also hosts several events throughout the year, such as the Phoenix Phall Phunfest, and the Joy Through the Grove Christmas light display. Knoebels is a place where generations of families can enjoy fun and memories together.
Knoebels Amusement Resort, located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, has a rich and fascinating history that spans over a century. From its humble beginnings as a small picnic grove to becoming one of the most beloved family-owned amusement parks in the United States, Knoebels has captured the hearts of generations of visitors.
The story of Knoebels begins in 1828 when Henry Knoebel, a German immigrant, purchased a large plot of land in what is now Elysburg. The land was primarily used for farming, and it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the Knoebel family began to transform it into a recreational destination. In 1876, Henry’s son, Henry “Hen” Knoebel, opened a small refreshment stand in the grove, providing food and drinks to visitors.
Over time, the popularity of the Knoebels’ picnic grove grew, and in 1926, they introduced their first amusement ride, a carousel. This marked the beginning of Knoebels’ transition from a simple picnic spot to an amusement park. The park continued to expand its ride offerings throughout the 1930s and 1940s, adding attractions such as a miniature train and a Ferris wheel.
However, Knoebels faced a significant setback in 1948 when a devastating flood swept through the area, causing extensive damage to the park. Determined to rebuild, the Knoebel family, with the help of the local community, worked tirelessly to restore the park and reopen it to the public. Their resilience and commitment paid off, and Knoebels emerged from the flood stronger than ever.
In the following decades, Knoebels continued to grow and innovate. They added new rides, including the iconic Phoenix roller coaster, which was relocated to the park from the now-defunct Playland Park San Antonio in Texas. The Phoenix became renowned for its thrilling, airtime-filled experience and garnered a dedicated fan base.
One of the distinctive features of Knoebels is its commitment to maintaining a traditional, family-friendly atmosphere. Unlike many other amusement parks, Knoebels does not charge an admission fee, and visitors have the option to purchase ride tickets or use a pay-per-ride system. This unique approach has endeared Knoebels to its patrons, who appreciate the park’s affordability and inclusive nature.
Knoebels also takes pride in preserving its historical charm. The park is home to several classic rides, some of which date back to the early 20th century. For example, the Grand Carousel, built in 1913, remains a centerpiece of the park and continues to delight visitors with its hand-carved horses and mesmerizing music.
In addition to its rides, Knoebels offers a range of other attractions, including water rides, games, live entertainment, and a campground for those looking to extend their stay. The park has become renowned for its annual events, such as the Phoenix Phall Phunfest, which attract visitors from near and far.
Today, Knoebels Amusement Resort stands as a testament to the Knoebel family’s vision, perseverance, and dedication to providing affordable fun for families. It has evolved from a small picnic grove into a beloved institution, cherished by generations of visitors who continue to create lasting memories within its gates. As Knoebels looks toward the future, it remains committed to its core values while embracing new opportunities to delight and entertain guests for years to come.
Knoebels has received awards several times throughout its existence including the following:
Knoebels is a free admission park where you can choose to pay for individual rides through the purchase of ride tickets that never expire, or by purchasing an all-day ride pass which gives you access to most of the rides in the park. Knoebels does not charge for entry, parking, or entertainment which is a huge draw for individuals who enjoy the park but choose not to ride the rides.
Select nights through the summer Knoebels offers special ride passes such as a Sundown Plan, Bargain Night, and more. All-day ride passes are typically not available on weekends during normal operating hours.
Phoenix Wooden Roller Coaster (The Rocket)
The Phoenix wooden roller coaster located at Knoebels Amusement Resort has a captivating history that adds to its allure and popularity among coaster enthusiasts. Originally built in 1947 as the Rocket at Playland Park San Antonio, Texas, this classic coaster found a new home at Knoebels in 1985.
Flying Turns Wooden Coaster
The Flying Turns at Knoebels Amusement Resort has a unique and fascinating history that spans several decades and involves an extraordinary roller coaster design. The story of the Flying Turns begins with a legendary coaster that was never fully realized, dating back to the early days of amusement parks.
Hallo Fun Nights October
Joy through the Grove
Black Friday thru January
"Picture Yourself (at Knoebels)"
Make New Memories the old fashioned way"
"Fun, Food, Fantasty"
"For all ages, For all time."
The concept of the Flying Turns originated in the 1920s and 1930s when several amusement parks sought to create a thrilling wooden bobsled coaster. However, due to the complex engineering and challenges involved in building a safe and functional version of the ride, the Flying Turns remained an elusive dream for many years.
The Knoebels Grand Carousel, a beloved centerpiece of Knoebels Amusement Resort, has a storied history that spans over a century. It’s rich heritage and timeless charm have made it a cherished attraction for generations of visitors.
The Grand Carousel was originally built in 1913 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC), a renowned manufacturer of carousels and roller coasters. It was crafted with meticulous attention to detail, featuring hand-carved wooden horses, ornate decorations, and a majestic organ that played enchanting music.
Rides and Attractions
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Restaurants and Food
Knoebels Amusement Resort offers a wide array of food options that cater to diverse tastes and preferences. From classic amusement park fare to unique culinary delights, there is something to satisfy every appetite. Here’s a brief description of the various food options available at Knoebels:
- Traditional Amusement Park Favorites: You’ll find all the classic favorites such as hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, and chicken tenders. These iconic dishes are perfect for those seeking a quick and satisfying meal while enjoying the park’s attractions.
- International Cuisine: Knoebels offers a variety of international food options to please adventurous eaters. From pizza and pasta to Mexican tacos and quesadillas, you can indulge in a range of flavors from around the world.
- All-American Fare: Craving comfort food? Knoebels has you covered with their selection of American-style dishes. Enjoy juicy cheeseburgers, BBQ ribs, macaroni and cheese, or a hearty sandwich. These classic dishes are sure to satisfy your cravings.
- Seafood Delights: If you’re a seafood lover, Knoebels has you covered. Feast on fresh shrimp, fried clams, fish and chips, or a delicious crab cake sandwich. These seafood options provide a tasty and refreshing alternative for those seeking a lighter meal.
- Sweet Treats: Knoebels is renowned for its delectable sweet treats. Indulge your sweet tooth with freshly made funnel cakes, homemade fudge, ice cream sundaes, cotton candy, and more. Don’t miss out on the famous Knoebels’ pies, which are baked on-site and come in a variety of flavors.
- Healthy Options: For those looking for healthier dining choices, Knoebels offers a range of fresh salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, wraps, and fruit cups. You can enjoy nutritious meals without compromising on flavor.
- Specialty and Unique Offerings: Knoebels also features specialty food options that stand out from the crowd. Try the park’s famous hand-cut potato pancakes, scrumptious pierogies, or mouthwatering kettle corn. These unique offerings provide a taste of local flavors and regional favorites.
Additionally, Knoebels offers several dining options throughout the park, including full-service restaurants, snack stands, and food kiosks. Whether you’re seeking a sit-down meal or a quick bite on the go, there are plenty of dining locations to choose from.
Knoebels Amusement Resort prides itself on providing a diverse and delicious food experience for its guests. With a range of options that cater to different tastes and dietary preferences, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your cravings as you enjoy the park’s thrilling rides and attractions.
Ride Height Restrictions
Knoebels doesn’t employ a Ride Heigh Restrictions theme in the park. Riders heights are by measurement only.
Piper (Red Fox)
Kreeper (Halloween Character)
- On July 6, 2011, a young boy was found face down in the pool. By the time the ambulance arrived, lifeguards performed CPR and were successful at getting a heartbeat and the boy breathing on his own. He died later at Geisinger Medical Center from trouble breathing. It was later determined that the child suffered from a pre-existing heart condition that is associated with Noonan syndrome.
- On July 16, 2016, another young boy died after he was found unresponsive in the swimming pool. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The incident may have been caused by a pre-existing medical condition.
- On August 15, 2016, an 11-year-old girl from Hellertown, Pennsylvania was injured and remained in critical condition when a 40-foot tree toppled on her family’s campsite. At around 4:30 pm when a storm occurred during the time when they were camping at one of the campgrounds, the tree fell due to the strong gust of winds. The girl, her father, and her two siblings were all taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
- On March 26, 2015, a worker was injured and suffered cuts on the back of his head and hand as he was hit by a roller coaster car. The ride was being tested at the time before it officially opened to the public a month later. He was taken to a nearby hospital and later recovered.
- On June 13, 2003, a man was seriously injured in a 30-foot (9.1 m) fall from the Scenic Skyway chairlift ride at Knoebels Amusement Park. The man was a member of a group home for mentally disabled people and was riding alone. He was airlifted to a local hospital and recovered. The ride had opened two weeks before the accident. Inspectors found no problems with the ride.
- On March 2, 1999, an attorney representing two girls who sustained injuries while riding the park’s Speed Slide discovered a history of complaints of injuries made by riders after they had ridden the same ride. The tort lawsuit filed sought $9,200 in medical costs and at least $50,000 in damages on behalf of one girl, age 11. The suit also sought $5,300 in medical costs and at least $100,000 in damages on behalf of the other girl, age 12. The park was charged with negligence, failure to monitor the amount of force of the water and its effect on riders, failure to fix defects, and failure to provide adequate warnings to riders.
Off Site Properties
Three Ponds Golf Course
Lake Glory Campground
Knoebels Amusement Resort. (n.d.). https://www.knoebels.com/ – Knoebels Awards Information