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Things to do at Knoebels Amusement Park Review

Knoebels Amusement Park: What to Ride, Eat, and See

Knoebels Amusement Park in Pennsylvania is one of the country’s best amusement parks. Located in both Columbia and Northumberland Counties, Knoebels is a free-admission park that offers great fun for the whole family.

Whether you love roller coasters, are looking for great rides for the kids, or just want to stroll through a beautiful park, Knoebels has something for everyone.

Knoebels first opened in 1926 with a restaurant and a carousel at a popular swimming hole. In the over 90 years since, it has grown to be the country’s largest free-admission amusement park. In addition to dozens of rides, Knoebels is home to a 500-site campground, cabins, and even an 18-hole golf course.

Knoebels Rides including a Ferris wheel

Knoebels features dozens of great rides for the whole family.

Knoebels rides are incredibly reasonably priced, the food wins awards year after year (and is pretty darn inexpensive), and there’s lots of free entertainment for the whole family. While it’s not the only free-admission amusement park in Pennsylvania (DelGrosso’s near Altoona and Conneaut Lake Park near Meadville being two others), it’s the largest and most awarded.

I recently had the chance to visit Knoebels Amusement Park with my wife and young children and despite not being a big fan of amusement parks, I had a fantastic time.

Here are my top tips for visiting Knoebels to make sure you get the most out of your visit to this great park.

What are the best things to do at Knoebels?

Phoenix Roller coaster at Knoebels Amusement Resort

There are a ton of fun things to do at Knoebels.

With only one day to experience Knoebels, it was impossible to see and do everything at the park. However, armed with a park map and a list of the rides that had won awards in recent years, we were ready to try and experience many of the best things to do at Knoebels Amusement Park.

Knoebels Rides

There are more than five-dozen rides at Knoebels, which almost guarantees that you’ll find at least a few rides that you’ll enjoy. However, what makes Knoebels great is that since it’s a free admission park, even those members of the family that might not want to ride rides can simply enjoy strolling through the park without having to pay an admission charge.

Flying Turns Knoebels Ride

Knoebels is home to the world’s only wooden bobsled coaster.

For those that do enjoy rides (and if you’re reading this, you probably do), there are a ton of great Knoebels’ rides you’re sure to enjoy.

Knoebels is home to two classic wooden coasters, a wooden bobsled coaster, an indoor coaster, and a steel coaster.

Phoenix roller coaster at Knoebels in Pennsylvania.

Knoebels’ Phoenix is the world’s second best wooden roller coaster.

The most famous of Knoebels’ roller coasters is the Phoenix. This wooden coaster was built in 1947 for an amusement park in Texas and brought to Pennsylvania in 1985. Since then, it has won numerous awards including recently being named the second best wooden roller coaster in the world. Sitting in the last row ensures you’ll catch a lot of air over the coaster’s hills.

In addition to the Phoenix, the park claims to have the only wooden bobsled coaster in the world, and their Black Diamond coaster was recently named the fifth best indoor roller coaster.

Impulse coaster at Knoebels Amusement Park

Impulse is a popular steel roller coaster at Knoebels.

Of course, Knoebels doesn’t just have great roller coasters. They also have great rides for the whole family. One highlight is the Haunted Mansion which features a wide variety of scary scenes. It’s another award-winning ride, having recently been named the world’s fourth best indoor ride.

Another classic ride at Knoebels is their Grand Carousel. This 100-year-old ride features historic charm and fun music. It has been named the best carousel in the world every year the award has been given out.

Grand Carousel at Knoebels in PA

The Grand Carousel is considered the best carousel in the world.

There are also many great Knoebels rides for kids. My four-year-old son had a fantastic time riding rides, playing in the large bounce house and ball pit, and trying his hand at some of the kid-friendly arcade games.

Even better, there are some free things for kids to do at Knoebels. My son loved the whimsical playground, and there are also several live shows each day geared towards children, as well as a bald eagle habitat.

Kiddie rides at Knoebels Amusement Park

There are a ton of fun things for kids to do at Knoebels.

Knoebels rides aren’t just geared towards kids or thrill seekers. There’s a bit of something for everyone including a log flume, a ski lift, and a water park with a pool and several slides.

Museums at Knoebels

There are three museums on the grounds of Knoebels. While they are small, there is no charge to visit them, making them great pit stops to both learn something educational and to get a break from the summer heat.

Anthracite Museum at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Pennsylvania

The Anthracite Museum is one of three free museums at Knoebels.

The Anthracite Museum building is home to both a museum on coal mining in the region as well as the Knoebels History Museum. They both offer high-quality displays and do an excellent showcasing the history. The Anthracite Museum isn’t nearly as in-depth as the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, but is a great stop given the free admission.

The third museum is the Knoebels Carousel Museum. This museum showcases historic carousel horses and other animals from around the world. There are more than 50 pieces on display, some of which date back to the 1800s.

Knoebels Covered Bridge

Knoebels is home to two beautiful covered bridges.

While it’s not a museum per say, don’t miss the historic Laurence L. Knoebel Covered Bridge while exploring the park. This bridge was built in 1875 and is one of many historic covered bridges in Columbia County, PA.

What are the best things to eat at Knoebels?

Cesari's Pizza at Knoebels Amusement Park

Knoebels has some of the best amusement park food in the world.

Knoebels is known for its great food. In fact, they have won the award for best amusement park food nearly every year since the award was created. During my visit, I was incredibly impressed with both the quality of the Knoebels food that I tried, as well as the prices.

Probably the best thing I ate during my visit was the pizza from Cesari’s Pizza. I tried both their regular and Sicilian slices and was impressed at the quality of the pizza that they offered. I also had a chance to try their fresh-cut fries which were quite delicious.

Honestly, every restaurant or food stand that I saw smelled amazing and the food prices were not astronomically high like you usually find at amusement parks. 

Whether you want a quick snack or a meal at a sit-down restaurant, there’s something for everyone here. (They also have picnic pavilions for those that prefer to pack their own food.)

What are Knoebels ticket prices?

Knoebels rides for kids

Knoebels is filled with great and inexpensive rides.

Knoebels is a free-admission park. Visitors can park for free, stroll through the park, and enjoy live entertainment and the museums without paying a penny.

The park features dozens of rides that do have a small cost, however. Most kid’s rides at Knoebels cost less than $2 per ride. Rides for older kids and adults mostly cost between $2 and $3, with the most popular roller coasters costing $3 per ride.

Tickets for rides are sold in increments of 25 cents, and you can purchase any amount that you would like. On weekdays, Knoebels offers a 10% discount for books of tickets ($5 of tickets for $4.50, $10 for $9, and $20 for $18).

Band playing at Knoebels in Elysburg, Pennsylvania

There is plenty of free entertainment at Knoebels.

If you’re planning a big day at the park, you can also purchase Ride All Day Passes for Knoebels. These passes are good on weekdays and cost $41 for adults and $26 for kids under four-feet tall. If you want to ride the park’s fantastic wooden roller coasters, there is an extra $6-8 add-on available.

If you are looking for a discount tickets for Knoebels, purchase them online before your visit and you will save $5 per ticket.

When does Knoebels open and close?

Free things to do at Knoebels Amusement Park

Knoebels is perfect for the entire family.

Knoebels opens for the season in late April and is open daily from late May through Labor Day. The park is then open most weekends through the end of October.

The park typically opens at 11am daily, though some days at the beginning and end of the season it opens as early as 10am or as late as noon. The closing times varies throughout the year. During the summer, the park is open until 10pm, except on Sundays when it closes at 9pm.

The park’s schedule can be found here.

When should I visit Knoebels?

Arcade games at Knoebels Amusement Resort

Fun times at Knoebels.

If possible, visit Knoebels on a weekday. Not only are they the only days on which you can purchase all-day passes, but ticket books are also discounted. Even better, the crowds are a lot lighter on weekdays, even during the summer.

During a recent Friday in July visit, it was possible to walk onto nearly every ride in the park, with only the big roller coasters having a short wait. 

This made for a great experience and a lot of fun for the whole family.

Other things to do near Knoebels Amusement Park

The train is a great thing to do at Knoebels Amusement Park

Knoebels is home to a fun train that’s perfect for kids.

If your looking for things to do near Knoebels Amusement Park, you’re in luck, as there are a lot of fun things to do nearby.

Those that love historic structures will enjoy the 21 covered bridges in Columbia County and the four covered bridges in Northumberland County. Several of these bridges are located just minutes from the park, so they make a great stop while in the area.

Other attractions worth exploring nearby include the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine, Centralia, and Bill’s Bike Barn. And, if you have kids, check out Idlewild and SoakZone in western PA.

Looking for somewhere to stay near Knoebels? Check hotel current hotel rates in nearby Bloomsburg. (Affiliate link)


Knoebels Amuseument Park

Website: Knoebels.com

Address: 391 Knoebels Blvd
Elysburg, PA 17824

 

See map below for other area attractions.


Review of Knoebels Amusement Park in Pennsylvania

AUTHOR - Jim Cheney

Jim Cheney is the creator of UncoveringPA.com. Based in the state capital of Harrisburg, Jim frequently travels around Pennsylvania and has visited all 67 counties in the state. Jim has also traveled to more than 30 different countries around the world.

4 Comments

  • Joel

    FRIED. CHICKEN.

  • John Friedrich

    This is the most enjoyable and lowest-stress amusement park I’ve ever visited. Worth checking out for anyone who lives in Pennsylvania.

  • Jim Sheldrick

    Even good for people who do not live in Penna., and are passing through the area.

    I live outside Penna., and when I can, I make it a point to stop by Knoebel’s when I am in Penna.

  • Nancy Yurick

    The absolutely BEST park in the world. The gardens are so beautiful The huge trees that give lots of shade, the cleanliness, the gift shops and best of all the employees. All the food in the park is wonderful, priced well and they even have some healthy choices. Where else can you find this in an amusement park? Please give it a visit, I promise you’ll come back again and again.

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