Knoebels-- Nasty Rumor or Rural Legend?

Monday, May 16, 2005 5:37 PM
Every once in a while, the same rumor reappears around these parts-- that Knoebels is going to drop the free admission and become a gated park.

What's kind of weird is I have heard three variations within the past three days from three different, unrelated people. Version A-- they've already started charging admission, Version B-- they're going to start this summer after Memorial Day, Version C-- the park is closed this year while they make improvements then start charging admission next year.

Now I can personally debunk Versions A and C, and at this point B seems highly unlikely. I'm not even sure where these rumors come from-- the people who told me are GP and not enthusiasts in the least. I checked the rumors on a few other sites, and it's not even mentioned just to laugh it off. But what's sad is the three people I spoke were seriously considering not going to the park anymore if there were an admission charge put in place.

From a business standpoint, do you think that a hypothetical decision to eliminate the free admission would be more beneficial or harmful to the park? Would a gain in admissions be offset by the loss of the "casual" crowds and the income they contribute buying food, souvenirs and an occasional ride? Or the families who buy a few strips of tickets mostly to put the kids on rides?

Monday, May 16, 2005 6:04 PM
I distinctly remember Dick Knoebel announcing that there were three things he never wanted to change about Knoebel's: Free admission, free parking and free entertainment. That was some years ago and so far he hasn't changed any of those items.

Perhaps the rumor monger in question got Knoebels confused with Kennywood, which eliminated its General Admission this year and went to straight POP?

Hey, they both start with "K", they both start with that "Ken-" sound, Knoebels is in the woods, they're both in Pennsylvania...Sure, I can see how someone could get the two mixed up... :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, May 16, 2005 6:38 PM
I guess the fact that this year's park map says that they have free admission should kill those rumours at least till the end of this year.
Monday, May 16, 2005 7:59 PM
...and even if those rumors DO come true I'd still pay to get into Knoebels!
Monday, May 16, 2005 9:15 PM
If those rumors did come true I would also still go to the park. And I think RideMan hit it right on the head. They are confused with Kennywood.
Monday, May 16, 2005 9:50 PM
When Dick starts charging people to get into Knoebel's, I'll do a backflip. Which is quite ironic, since I cannot do one and would so be a difficult task for me.

Seriously, I do not believe that for one second. I've been going to that park every single summer since I was a fetus, and even if it were true, I'd still go. Nonetheless, I can never see that happening.

Monday, May 16, 2005 11:27 PM
The people I heard the rumors from are "locals" and not enthusiasts. They're more likely to think that Kennywood is that brand of appliance they sell "up-da-mall" at Sears. And they still pronounce it "Noble's." (Like my aunt says... "you don't eat with a ka-nife.")

What I think may have happened is someone heard or saw the ads for Knoebels for the special all-day handstamps for the weekends in May, since handstamps usually aren't offered on weekends throughout the summer. They probably heard "one low admission price" and assumed it meant the park was now charging admission.

I think it would be more of a ka-nightmare trying to fence in the whole park and restrict entry to one location.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 12:27 AM
Please don't kill me for the following opinion...

I feel that Knoebels isn't pretty enough to be a gated park, imho. It's design and layout just doesn't fit as a POP gated park. They would have to make it more like a "park" before gating it (plant grass, create paved walkways, perminent borders around rides, ect).

What they charge for all day rides is way to expensive as it is for what they offer, especially if you add in the pool/waterslides, imho. If they charged what they do now for entrance into the park if it were gated, I don't think it would work, mostly because non-riders can go now without paying.

I respect the hype this park gets, but I don't get it.

What a strange rumor. I think we all know that this would never happen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 12:48 AM
Somebodys been smoking something. Hell some people only camp there and their kids use the park at their leisure or they go over and eat at the park and nothing else.

Knoebels is more of a resort than you think and gating it would only hurt it. Not to mention cost a fortune to fence in.

In 2001 we camped there for four days and only did the park one and a little in the evenings A phoenix ride or a flyers ride but not much at ticket cost.

Chuck, who's only change he would make is let a all day ride pass be available on the weekends. Even if it was a few bucks more than the weekday All day pass. I've avoided the park on weekends on both my visits because it would have cost me a hundred for what i can do on a normal day for thirty two fifty.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 12:55 AM
Hey...Dexter likes what he likes and doesn't like what he doesn't like. I get grief from people when they find out I'm not a Shivering Timbers or Cedar Point fan, or when they find out I'd rather be at Conneaut Lake instead of Six Flags Great Adventure.

So he doesn't "get" Knoebels. Big deal.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 1:02 AM
CP is the last park I think I wanna be at. I am a C.O.S>T member though and also love the Conneauts, Lesourdsvilles and Kennywoods and Knoebels of the hobby.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005 8:32 AM

RatherGoodBear said: Version A-- they've already started charging admission, Version B-- they're going to start this summer after Memorial Day, Version C-- the park is closed this year while they make improvements then start charging admission next year.

You forgot Version D- Knoebels has been bought by Hersheypark, Dorney Park or Six Flags!

From going to Knoebels several times a week I can honestly say they would do alot better the way they are now, with tickets and handstamps. Knoebels makes a killing on weekends after Memorial Day just offering tickets. Everyone on the rides spent money for each and every ride they rode.

How many times did you leave Knoebels with a few strips of tickets left from a book? Right now on my desk I have 5 books some with a few left and others basicly unused. Basicly until they are used thats free money to the park, like dropping coins in a fountain.

I know alot of people take their kids for a few hours to put them on 4 or 5 rides, eat then go home. Having to pay $31 or even a $15 twlight to get in for 2 hours, ride a few rides and then eat wouldn't fly in this area. I know alot of people where I live that never travel. Some people consider driving an hour away a trip. It's pretty sad if you ask me. I hear enough people say $2 is alot for a ride on Twister! I just assume they haven't been to Vegas to ride Manhattan Express.

For some reason most people that live within 30 minutes or so don't realize how great of a gem Knoebels actually is. My guess is because they didn't get out and see most places you spend $6-$10 to park, $35 to get in the park and a burger, fried, and drink will run you $15. Most people I talk to say Knoebels sucks and their rides are boring. They would rather go to Hershey, Dorney, or Six Flags. If Knoebels was gated and charged everyone a set fee I'm sure families either wouldn't go to a park or just go someplace like Hershey or Dorney instead.

When I talk to people about going everywhere riding coasters they always ask your favorites. They always seem suprised when I say Phoenix is one of my favories and knoebels is one of my favorite parks too. They usually ask me if I'm joking.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 8:56 AM

Charles Nungester said:

I've avoided the park on weekends on both my visits because it would have cost me a hundred for what i can do on a normal day for thirty two fifty.

I'll second that.

If I go to Knoebels on the weekends, it is in May or September when the Ride All Day option is available on Sat and Sun. If I go any other time (June - August), it is on a week day... and preferably not on a "Bargain Night". On "Bargain Nights" you may pay less... but the lines are longer, so you ride less for your money.

Not sure how often they do it... if it is for the entire month... but the last two years we visited in September, they gave a coupon for a "Free Ride All Day Pass" good for select weekends the following May. By the Wood Coaster Option, the Wood Coaster Option is also included in the free pass in May.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 9:02 AM

coasterpunk said:

I hear enough people say $2 is alot for a ride on Twister! I just assume they haven't been to Vegas to ride Manhattan Express.

Forget Vegas... They must never have travelled just down the road to Hershey for Spring Time in the Park or Hersheypark in the Dark (their only "Pay Per Ride" events) When a ride on most of their coasters will cost $4.50.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 9:03 AM
I can't see this happening. No fence and free admission is what makes them unique and different from Hershey and Dorney. People are accustomed to go for an hour or so and take a couple rides and have an ice cream without spending a fortune or feeling compelled to make a day of it.

I often stop at Knoebels just to break up the long drive through PA. I can take a ride on Phoenix, Twister, the Train, the Haunted Mansion and get a snack all for less then what I would pay to park at a "major park."

I think the locals would have a conniption if that ever changed. It was tried and failed at Conneaut and Rye Playland (although if they were able to fence Conneaut, fencing Knoebels should be simple!).

But I would like to see a POP wristband for weekends (though it might make the lines really long).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:02 AM
In the not too distant past, Hersheypark wasn't gated and had free admission. Changing it didn't deter the public. But I am sure Knoebel's want go that route.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:08 AM
The not do distant past for Hershey was the late 1960's... And major renovations and a complete evolution from traditional park to "theme park" went along with the gating.

(Edited for Spelling to make me look less ignorant) *** Edited 5/17/2005 3:32:48 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:08 AM
Well I have to say They can't fench in as there are homes that other people have in the middle of the park. They wouldn't have any way to get into the park to there houses. Just look at the walk way between Twister. One owned by the park the other not.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:15 AM
1) EVERY day at Knoebel's is bargain day! I see rides on Phoenix have gone up to a *whopping* $1.80.

2) The original rumor was most DEFINITELY regarding Kennywood....and it came TRUE! ;)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:26 AM
cycloneriders: that's true but Conneaut is the same way - actually it's a more extreme case of houses intermingled with the park and they still found a way to fence it in the early 90s (had an elaborate plan of access agreements for those with property inside the park).

Actually, aren't a lot of those cabins owned by Knoebels and used as seasonal rentals?


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