Add These Epic Thrills & Vintage Throwbacks to Your List
Just mention Knoebels Amusement Resort, and the summer memories start flooding back, from the gut-wrenching adrenaline of your first ride on The Phoenix to the chiming bells of the carousel to the sweet smell of kettle corn. This amusement park in Elysburg is practically synonymous with summer vacation itself.
It’s that timeless, family-run feel that brings people back year after year, generation after generation. Sure, Knoebels has high-speed coasters and wild thrill rides. But you’ll also find family favorites and vintage rides that are 100% pure nostalgia. After all, there aren’t many places left where you can ride a wooden roller coaster or catch a brass ring on the carousel.
As America’s largest free-admission amusement park, Knoebels boasts over 60 rides for all ages. Each ride has a story, but there are some essential ones that you just have to try at least once. We polled our Instagram followers about their favorite rides and put together a list of the popular replies. Check it out.
10 Awesome Rides at Knoebels:
The Phoenix is consistently ranked one of the top wooden roller coasters in the world. Knoebels rescued the ride from a closed-down park in Texas, loaded it onto 34 tractor trailers and shipped it up to Elysburg. With a little TLC, The Phoenix made its debut ride at Knoebels in 1985 and has been a fan favorite ever since. You’ll feel like you’re flying with the coaster’s epic airtime and speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.
The clack of the railroad tracks and the sound of the train whistle seem to draw everyone from the tiniest toddlers to the oldest members of the family. The historic Pioneer Train has been a Knoebels staple since 1960. The ride takes you on a 1.5-mile journey through the woods, crossing beneath the Twister and passing through a tunnel along the way.
The Phoenix might be the park’s claim to fame, but the Twister holds its own when it comes to intensity. Built in 1999, this wooden roller coaster is lightning fast with a top speed of 51.5 miles per hour. Throw in the hairpin turns, a pitch-dark tunnel and a double helix, and you’re in for a wild ride.
Follow the cheerful organ music, and you’ll find your way to Grand Carousel. This ride features 63 hand-carved horses and 3 ornate chariots. It was originally built in 1913 in Long Island and made the move to Elysburg in 1941. It’s one of just a few carousels left in the country where you can still catch the coveted brass ring and win a free ride.
Cool off after a day in the sun on this classic log ride. This thrilling (yet family-friendly) attraction will take you along the river, through a cavern and down two plunging drops. Oh, and Knoebels catches it all on camera with the Flume Foto. It’s always priceless to see everyone’s faces as they’re soaring down the chute.
Take a harrowing ride through the Haunted Mansion… if you dare. This ride will give you a good, old-fashioned scare with handmade props, silly gags and classic jump scares. The traditional, retro feel has made the mansion a consistent favorite among the Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts (yep, that’s a thing).
For the best views of the park, hop on Knoebels’ Ferris wheel. At 110 feet tall, you’ll get a sweeping overlook of all the rides and the rolling fields, forests and farmland beyond. This iconic ride is a favorite among kids and adults alike.
In 2019, Knoebels got a shoutout in USA Today for having “one of the best collections of vintage bumper cars.” These sleek, retro skooters look like they just came from the ‘50s. But don’t let age fool you—these cars can still pack a punch!
When Knoebels set out to build Flying Turns, they were told it couldn’t be done. But with lots of hard work, they created the world’s only wooden bobsled coaster. The ride is a modern remake of historic bobsled rides. The trains glide along the trackless course, gaining speed and banking around curves for a thrilling ride.
The StratosFear is the tallest ride in the park at 148 feet high. This drop tower takes you all the way to the top for a view of the park before dropping you into free fall. With speeds up to 47 miles per hour, you’re bound to scream like a little girl.
Article Updated from its Original Version Published on 8/11/2021.