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Free Admission Amusement Parks in PA: Inexpensive Fun for the Whole Family

There are many fabulous amusement parks in PA, but did you know that some of the best are totally free to visit?

That’s right, there are some excellent free-admission amusement parks in Pennsylvania that don’t charge you just to enter as most amusement parks do. That means, for those, like me, who don’t want to go on a ton of rides, you don’t have to waste a lot of money on a ticket and can just purchase individual ride tickets. (For those that love rides, each park also offers an all-day pass in addition to individual ride tickets.)

Even better, each of these free-admission parks offer free parking and relatively inexpensive food, making them a fun and inexpensive day for the whole family.

Here’s a bit more about each of PA’s free-admission parks, which are conveniently located in the eastern, central, and western parts of the state.

Knoebels Amusement Park

Things to do at Knoebels Amusement Park Review
Knoebels Amusement Park is one of the best theme parks in all of PA and is free to visit.

First opened in 1926, Knoebels Amusement Park is the largest free-admission park in the country and is also among the best amusement parks in the state.

Located in eastern PA’s Columbia and Northumberland Counties, Knoebels features more than 60 rides, live entertainment, and some of the most delicious and inexpensive food that you’ll find at any amusement park. In fact, Knoebels has won the Golden Ticket award for the Best Amusement Park Food 20 times in the past 23 years.

And, speaking of awards, Knoebels regularly wins other prestigious Golden Ticket Awards including in the categories of Best Wooden Rollercoaster, Best Dark Ride, and Best Guest Experience.

Knoebels Rides including a Ferris wheel
Knoebels features dozens of great rides for the whole family.

At Knoebels you’ll find rides that the whole family will enjoy including multiple rollercoasters, kiddie rides, a log flume, and much more.  The grounds here are also immaculate and quite beautiful, and there is a lot to see simply walking around during your visit.

In addition to the free park, Knoebels also features a few extras that do cost money including a waterpark, a golf course, and a campground.

DelGrosso’s Amusement Park

Visiting DelGrosso's Amusement Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania
The entrance to DelGrosso’s Amusement Park

DelGrosso’s Amusement Park can be found in Blair County only a short drive from Altoona and State College.

DelGrosso’s opened in 1907 as Bland’s Amusement Park before changing their name in 2000. The park is owned by a popular local Italian foods manufacturer, and you can try some of their delicious pasta sauces when you visit the park.

DelGrosso’s features more than 30 rides, most of which are categorized as family or kiddie rides. There are only a handful of thrill rides with no major rollercoasters in this park. That makes it a great spot for families to visit, as well as those who don’t like the bigger rides at amusement parks.

DelGrosso’s also features a large Italian-themed waterpark known as Laguna Splash which has an additional cost.

Waldameer Park

Review of Waldameer Park in Erie, Pennsylvania
Waldameer Park is a great spot to visit in Erie.

Waldameer Park can be found in the northwestern corner of PA in the city of Erie at the entrance to the popular Presque Isle State Park.

Waldameer opened to the public in 1896 as a trolley park and is the tenth oldest amusement park in the country. The park has a classic feel that makes it feel both historic and modern at the same time.

There are roughly three dozen rides in the park, including five rollercoasters, meaning that there is a great mix of rides no matter your age or thrill tolerance. Interestingly, one of their rollercoasters, the Ravine Flyer II, goes over a public road and into a wooded area on the outskirts of the park.

The Comet rollercoaster at Waldameer in Erie, Pennsylvania
The Comet is one of five rollercoasters at Waldameer.

Waldameer also offers some nice entertainment for free for anyone exploring the park and great views of Lake Erie from various spots in the park.

As with the previous two parks, Waldameer has a water park, known as WaterWorld, that is a separate admission but a great way to cool off on a warm day.

Have you ever visited a free-admission amusement park in PA? Let us know how it was in the comments below.

Looking for more things to do in Pennsylvania? Check out my picks for the top PA State Parks, the best breweries in Pennsylvania, and my favorite spots for outdoor adventure in the state.

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2 thoughts on “Free Admission Amusement Parks in PA: Inexpensive Fun for the Whole Family”

  1. All three parks are very good, but Knoebels is by far my favorite. If you want a water park, Del Grosso’s and Waldameer have more variety, but Knoebels does have a large, cold, wonderful pool. Knoebels also has a remarkable wooden roller coaster named The Phoenix which has won a lot of awards for being the best wooden coaster in the world, despite its modest size. Some recommended treats at Knoebels: the anniversary sundae at The Old Mill, tiger tails at Phoenix Junction, pickle on a stick (yes it’s just a pickle but it’s a delicious one), street corn, and any of the burgers at Phoenix Junction. The Alamo also has excellent food if you prefer indoor restaurant-style dining.

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  2. You should also check out Bushkill Park in Easton. It’s small, but has a rich history and some classic rides.

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