If you were asked what one of the best-established theme parks was, you may be tempted to respond with one of the bigger names in roller coaster destinations. However, one that you may have forgotten about is Knoebels Amusement Park. In the U.S., Knoebles is the granddaddy of them all, having first started delighting park goes back in 1926.
Today, this beloved Pennsylvania theme park offers an impressive amount of entertainment options that are fun for the entire family. Stop by this classic American adventure, and make the most of your trip with this handy guide.
While the big name theme parks seem to always raise their prices, Knoebles offers a more wallet-friendly family adventure. In fact, admission to the park and spending the day walking around doesn’t cost anything. Knoebles is considered to be “American’s Largest Free-Admission Amusement Park”. Parking and admission are free of charge, and you just pay for what you ride.
At first it may seem odd that guests pay per ride; however, this was long a standard theme park pricing structure. In fact, even Disney employed a pay-as-you-go ride system back in the 1970s, referred to as the “E-Ticket” Days. Think of it like buying tickets for a carnival ride. The good news is that you can purchase bulk ride tickets in advance, offering significant savings.
For the full “old fashioned” experience, you can reserve a campsite on the property. However, just a 20-minute drive will bring you to nearby Danville and Bloomsburg which has a lot of lodging options. Grab a HotelCoupon to get the biggest bang for your vacation buck.
Knoebels is mainly open in the summer season, from April to September. There are select nights in October where special passes can be purchased during their “Hallo-Fun” special engagement nights.
In addition to a smaller operating window, bulk ride passes are only available on select days each season, so be sure to check ahead of time if you’re planning on picking them up. You would probably be better off purchasing them online ahead of time so they don’t sell out.
In addition to the park, you can also plan on visiting the giant Crystal Pool with diving boards and water slides. There’s no better way to cool off from a hot summer day! Purchase the Evening Special ticket to take a swim from 5 – 8 pm and relax after a long day in the park.
Because admission and parking are free, ride passes may not even be necessary for your specific itinerary. There are about 63 rides altogether, with six coasters and two water rides. Some of this coaster count include “kiddie” coasters. There are a few fairly large and fast coasters, offering a diverse mix of things that any taste in rides can experience.
Read about the rides online to decide around how many tickets you think you’ll need and determine if a Ride All Day pass will be a better value. There are different all-day passes, including Basic, ones that include wooden coasters, and passes for under-48 inches and over-48 inches. This park tries to keep the pricing fair for everyone – tickets for under-48 inches cost a bit less since there are fewer rides they’ll be able to experience.
What the “Free” Admission Gets You
These days “free” rarely truly means free, but Knoebles is fairly upfront with their offering. Parking and admission into the park are completely complimentary. You can enjoy live entertainment throughout the park without an added cost. Plus, if you like to pack a lunch, you can save money there.
Of course, the rides are going to cost extra, as will the carnival games. There are many onsite restaurants and snack stands to choose from to keep everyone full. The nice thing about Knoebles is that they also offer 20 picnic pavilions to use, also free of charge. Each pavilion has power, and guests can use their own extension cords to utilize them. Coolers are also allowed, and ice can be purchased onsite. Use a coin-operated stove or bring your own small travel grill.
All in all, if you’re looking for a unique family vacation, Knoebles offers a great mix of affordable entertainment and dining choices, as well as a great alternative to more expensive theme park choices. Knoebels Amusement Resort opens for the summer season the last weekend of April. Use the interactive calendar to find out what days the park is open and how much Pay-One-Price tickets will be for the day.
Do you have summertime memories of visiting Knoebels? Let us know about it in the comments!
Photos courtesy Knoebels Amusement Resort © 2017