If you’re not from PA, you probably wouldn’t think it has some of the most must-see amusement parks in the country. But you will change your mind after learning about three amazing amusement parks that could become your favorites for years to come.
Kennywood, Hersheypark, and Idlewild and SoakZone are parks every thrill seeker and family must experience. They are not the biggest in the world, but they make up for it with great atmospheres, rides and food.
The best amusement parks in Pa.
Kennywood, West Mifflin, was founded in 1898 as a small trolley park, and today it prides itself on being one of “America’s Finest Traditional Amusement Parks.” From some of its oldest coasters like The Racer and Jack Rabbit to its most recent Phantom’s Revenge and Sky Rocket coasters, Kennywood is an excellent place for coaster enthusiasts to take on six total coasters. The park also features three water rides, nine thrill rides, 10 classic rides (merry-go-round, paddle boats, etc.), three dark rides and 14 rides for kids.
By far the best place to eat at Kennywood is the Potato Patch. The potatoes are cut into Kennywood’s famous Potato Patch french fries right in front of your eyes. You have the choice of many different toppings including cheddar cheese, bacon bits and more. Waiting in the long line is completely worth it to get your hands on the best fries you will ever taste. But you may have a chance to avoid the line if you schedule to eat early before lunch or late in the day.
May 7 is Kennywood’s opening day with daily operation beginning May 19. Check their website for times.
2011 ticket prices: Season Pass: $89.99 each for unlimited visits, Online Funday Passes: $36.99 each for 46″ and taller, $23.99 each for under 56″ tall, $17.99 each for ages 55 and up, Free for children 2 and under (no ticket).
Hersheypark, Hershey, is “The Sweetest Place On Earth” for chocolate lovers. The park was originally built by Milton S. Hershey for his employees and their families to relax. And now it’s a major amusement and water park with 11 roller coasters, water rides, family rides and rides for kids.
You will be surrounded by chocolate everywhere you go, and the sweet park doesn’t skimp on rides either. If you like coasters, you won’t get enough of the Storm Runner. Installed in 2004, the jaw-dropping coaster launches riders from 0-72 mph in 2 seconds up a 150-foot vertical ascent and then straight down a 180-foot drop reaching a top speed of 75 mph. The 58 second coaster also features a 135-foot cobra loop, barrel rolls and snake dive.
The park opens April 16 for “Springtime in the Park” with daily operation starting May 25. Check their website for times and other dates.
2011 ticket prices: March Sweetness 1 day price $39.95 each (buy online in March only, ticket valid in May or June 2011), 1 day ticket $53.95, 2 day flex ticket $71.50, 3 day flex ticket $100.50, regular season pass $142. More information on their website.
Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, is one of the more beautiful parks in America. With its many trees and other natural surroundings, you almost forget you’re in an amusement park. But Idlewild also has the rides, water and entertainment to make it a great place for a vacation.
One of its more famous rides is the Caterpillar, a classic 1947 roller coaster that uses a green canopy to cover the track. The canopy leaves riders in the dark, making this coaster a real thrill to ride. Idlewild’s Caterpillar is one of three Caterpillar rides remaining in North America with only two known to still use the canopy.
The park opens May 26 with daily operation beginning June 8. Check their website for times.
2011 ticket prices: FunDay Pass $31.99, Senior Funday $23.99, Children 2 and under are free, Season Pass $66.99