Pennsylvania parks

I have a limited schedule with which to enjoy the parks in PA this summer. Hersheypark is a given and is our primary destination. The next 1 is hard to decide between. Would you choose Knoebels or Kennywood? Why? I will not be able to do both. I have never been to either. Which would you choose? Why?

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Jeff's avatar

From a sheer driving perspective, I would think that Knoebels would make more sense. Pennsylvania is not exactly a small state.

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Kennywood is at least three and a half hours from Hersheypark while Knoebels is a little more than an hour. Dorney is actually the closest major park to Hersheypark- about an hour if you speed just a little- but I'd pick Knoebels over Dorney any day of the week.

If I had a first-and-only choice to make, it would be Kennywood, with the history, atmosphere, and nostalgia factor as the final push.

However, timberguy, there's a few things I'd like to know about your trip. Exactly how long do you have? One day at either park is long enough to experience it fully, but what kind of travel time do you have?

How are you getting to Hershey? I see you are from Grand Rapids, and if you're driving, a stop at Kennywood would not be far off the path.

Finally, what kind of fan are you? Are you happy to hit the gate, ride all the coasters then hit the road? Or do you like to spend a day and take everything in? Both parks have fabulous coasters, but I think as a team, Kennywood's wins. Both parks have great collections of flats, some unusual, some very old. At Knoebels you can throw in the Haunted Mansion, the Roto Jets, the Looper, add the worlds best Dodgems and Flying Scooters and you can have yourself a day.

I like Kennywood from opening to the final "Nighty Night" - the night time atmosphere there is hard to beat, and the coasters get better. You also get Noah's Ark, the Turtle, the (ruined) Old Mill, the Auto Race, Laffing Sal, great fries and tons of neon. So if it were me, and if I had the travel time to devote a whole day, I'd take Kennywood.

Truthfully, now that I think about it, for a first-time two-park dream trip I'd choose Knoebels and Kennywood and skip Hershey - but that's just me...

coasterqueenTRN's avatar

Exactly, if you are driving from Michigan Kennywood would be the logical answer, and then Knoebels.......and then Hershey. :)

It depends on how many days you have to do this. If you want to credit-ho I would not suggest that, as each of these parks need at least a day each to fully enjoy. They are not "hit-and-run" type of parks, especially Knoebels and Kennywood. :) There are a LOT more to them than just the coasters. :)

If you don't have enough time for that, then unfortunately I would cut one of them out.


Last edited by coasterqueenTRN,

I am coming from Michigan. We are a family of 5. I am an enthusiest but am not as concerned about hitting just the coasters. We are mostly concerned with a quality park experience than hitting coasters. I did notice that Knoebels is far north of Hershey. Kennywood appears to be more on the path. We have everything planned out and had extra time to hit 1 extra park. I did notice Dorney in close proximity but am not too enthused about Cedar Fair and how non affordable they have become. This will be the first year in 10 years my family has not purchased season passes. With the money that we save we are able to more affordably take this trip and venture away from the typical Cedar Point trip this year.

I am definatley thankful for your opinions!



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phoenixphan :-)'s avatar

Being this seems to be a family trip, depending on the ages of everyone I would probly suggest Kennywood. I know, being the Knoebels fanboy I am its out of the norm, but with High Speed Thrill Coasters gone, family coaster not even on sight, and Flying Turns still under construction... it may be better to wait until all these changes are complete before coming to the place of fun, food, and fantasy.

Both are great parks on their own, and if you hit either during the week you should be able to get in all the rides you desire. Kennywood may be easier to locate, as my friends from Baltimore ended up in a farmers field three years ago for PPP, as their GPS told them they had arrived at Knoebels.

Real men ride wood... coasters that is!
birdhombre's avatar

If not everyone in your family is big into rides, one benefit of Knoebels is that there's no gate charge, so you buy ride tickets. That came in handy last year when my friend's wife was pregnant and we briefly stopped there on the way to New York; he and the kid and I could ride, but she didn't have to feel like she was wasting money on admission.

If you've not been to either park, it would be really difficult for me to decide between the two. Personally I prefer Kennywood's coaster selection, but that's because Phoenix and Twister highly annoy me :)

That is a tough decision, both parks are really great. The big differnce between the two parks is that Kennywood has a very polished feel to it, where Knoebels has this rustic county fair vibe to it.

Both are excellent and you will have fun at either. Both will give you a quality park experience. They are equal in many ways, both have great coasters, although Kennywood has 6 where Knoebels has 2 (with the possibility of two more being open this year at Knoebels). Food is great at both parks. Both parks have great dark rides.

From what you have said it sounds like Kennywood would be on the way which is a plus. Also, saving your visit to Knoebels until they get the Flying Turns and the new kiddie coaster open would be smart.

Either way you will have a great time, both parks offer a super experience that you wont find many other places. Maybe flip a coin? LOL

You won't go wrong with either park. The choice would probably be whichever is more convenient for your travel plans.

One caveat for everybody. I saw it mentioned on the Kennywood site that the Rankin bridge (the one right up the road from the park that leads to the Interstate) is under construction and they are recommending people take alternate routes to get to the park.

IMO skip Hershey it is expensive and the coasters arent that great. You will have more fun at Kennywood and Knoebels and save alot more money. You will also find them alot less crowded then Hershey is, which will make your day less stressful. Hershey is too much like a big corperate park and doesnt have the charm as the other 2, which i think are the best parks in the country.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

As official "Odd Man Out" I'd just like to point out that when we passed through the area last year we went to Hershey and Dorney.

I expect no one to endorse that route. :)

Jeff's avatar

Oh no, not a big corporate park! It's impossible to have fun at one of those!

Seriously, I love Hershey. Can't get enough of the place. Great Bear is one of the most underrated rides anywhere, Comet is a total gem of a ride, Lightning Racer is ridiculously fun, Storm Runner is what the Intamin launch should be... I could go on all day about that place.

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Mamoosh's avatar

Oh no, not a big corporate park! It's impossible to have fun at one of those!

Doesn't that belong in the misconceptions thread? lol

As for Hershey I gotta agree. And what kid wouldn't love the idea of visiting a themepark owned by a chocolate factory?

Hersheypark is fantasic, one of the best parks you'll ever get a chance to visit. Anyone that thinks it's just another corporate park likely hasn't been there to experience it for themselves.

RatherGoodBear said:

One caveat for everybody. I saw it mentioned on the Kennywood site that the Rankin bridge (the one right up the road from the park that leads to the Interstate) is under construction and they are recommending people take alternate routes to get to the park.

That was the case last year. The Kennywood website has mapped out an alternate route that is pretty easy, even if you're not from the area. Using the alternate route was no more difficult than using the regular route since Kennywood doesn't have simple access to any major highway.

Mamoosh's avatar

Don't you just follow the yellow arrows? ;)

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
Anyone that thinks it's just another corporate park likely hasn't been there to experience it for themselves.

Well, no. It's not as good as most corporate parks, but it's getting there.



:) ;)

True. I don't think Hershey has figured out how to charge people for the luxury of printing their own tickets ;)

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Actually, Hershey doesn't offer a discounted ticket price online and they charge a $1.25 convenience fee per ticket.

But yeah, there's no fee to print, so they have that going for them. :)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,

Hershey isn't a lesser park because its corporate. Last time I checked, Kennywood belonged to a chain, even one bought by a European company.

HP does have an excellent line-up of coasters, although I haven't been back since Fahrenheit debuted. But two things Kennywood and Knoebels have going for them are shorter lines and lower costs.

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