Tour de Pennsylvania Parks

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 12:56 PM
This is a tour that I have put together for myself to tour all the parks in Pa. I have set forth the list of Parks for this summer. I did not include Dorney, Hershey, and Dutch Wonderland; since I work for HERco. and I will have a season pass to Dorney. I plan on Starting the summer off with a trip to Williams Grove. Then to Bushkill Park, Knoebels, Lakemont, and DelGrosso's. (all are day trips) I would like to know what you all think about the 5 parks that I am going to and give me any suggestions for the parks.

Also if there are any smaller parks i.e. Weona Park, that are within 50 miles of any of the 5, that are worth while to go to.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 1:18 PM
Dont forget Idlewild and kennywood parks.

Knoebels has two of the greatest wooden coasters that I have been on. And dorney park has hydra this year. There is also conneaut lake park. If you go to rcdb...right here...

http://www.rcdb.com/qs.htm?quicksearch=pennsylvania

There is a list of all the parks in pa, with all the web sites you need to get info/ directions to these parks.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 1:25 PM
I will be doing the other parks next summer. I have planned to do the 5 listed above this summer. I know all 14+ parks. All I am looking for is people's personal suggestions, or memories about these 5 parks.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 1:50 PM
Being small parks and only 10 miles apart, Lakemont and DelGrossos could be hit as a single Day Trip. Both worth it though. Pay close attention to Lakemont. They know how to run their flat rides... long cycles, top speeds... none of this "theme park mentality" abbreviated cycles at less than capable speed.

Knoebels (easily the biggest of the ones mentioned) is worth a day all by itself. Best wood coaster combination around. Great Haunted House, and you will get to see flyers run the way Flyers are supposed to be run (not like the Frontier Flyers at Hersheypark... so, since you work for HERCO it may surprise you that Flyers are NOT kiddie rides if they are run to their full potential).

As for Williams Grove... got an hour or so to kill? That's all you will need.

I will also second what Crazy Horse said about Conneaut Lake... though, with all of the problems that park has been having, I would do some changes and try and get this year... you never know if there will be a next year for this park. Kennywood's Thunderbolt, Knoebels Phoenix and Conneaut Lake's Blue Streak... three of the best wooden coasters around... in my opinion. *** Edited 3/23/2005 6:51:20 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 1:59 PM
You might like to pick up a copy of Jim Futrell's book "Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania." It has good travel info and a history of all of PA's major parks as well as many minor places like Weona.

Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with any of PA's parks. Lakemont and Delgrosso's are practically next to each other and are both pretty small so you shouldn't have any problem doing both in one day. Lakemont has the wooden coasters but Delgrosso's is the more attractive park (by far!) Be sure to arrange to have lunch at Delgrosso's some of the best (and most reasonably priced) amusement park food around.

Bushkill is a tiny park with just a handful of rides but is well worth a visit as the place looks like a freshly opened time capsule of a small town park from the 1950s. Be aware that they are still recovering from major flood damage and that some of the rides may not be operating. See pictures.

Knoebels is just an amazing experience with two of the best coasters around, a great dark ride, some cool vintage rides and quirky atmosphere. Pictures.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 2:00 PM
Weona Park? I've never heard of it and there's nothing in rcdb.com's database. DO you have details about this park?
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 2:06 PM
It's not really an amusement park. It's basically a city park with a carousel and *maybe* a kiddie ride or two. Weona is a play on words that is supposed to sound like "We Own A." I don't recall the exact story at the moment but years ago citizens of the town acquired a carousel as a centerpiece of the park and for community pride.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 2:51 PM
Definitely don't miss Bushkill. It's a survivor and we should all be thankful for that. Even if you make a quick stop, you'll be glad that you did.

The only PA park I haven't been to is DelGrosso's (hopefully this year) but as for the others, you really can't go wrong.

Dorney is pretty sterile (thanks CF) but has a classic Schmeck, a decent hyper coaster, a Schwarzakopf looper and two B&Ms. It's certainly not a bad park and if you've never been there, you could easily spend the day.

Williams Grove is a small little place, a little run-down but worth the trip anyway. I wrote a TR late last summer and it was pretty detailed... do a search and you should be able to find it rather quickly.

Idlewild is a gem. The Rollo Coaster is a fantastic little ride and the rest of the park ain't bad, either. Ditto for Waldameer... the Comet is a great small wood coaster and the rest of the place is immaculate. Don't forget they have an outstanding darkride AND walkthrough funhouse. Both can be done in a few hours but you really owe it to yourself to spend a day at each as half days will leave you wanting more.

Conneaut is something special- the lakeside setting, the classic rides... I could go on and on. Night rides on the Blue Streak cannot be described, nor should they be. Again, the park could be done in a few hours, but why?

Lakemont isn't the best park in the world (or the state, for that matter) but it's a neat little place and the Skyliner is definitely one of the most underrated wood coasters in the country. That ride alone is worth going out of the way for. One of the best "new" coasters I rode in 2004!

As for Kennywood, Knoebels and Hershey, what else can be said? They are parks all at the top of their game- amusement park perfection.

Hope that helps.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 3:12 PM
Here's the Pennsylvania parks (under my definition of 'park') that I've hit. Not too hard being a PA resident. :)

Still keep missing Pocono Play Park and their kiddie coaster and mad that I missed the kiddie coaster at Carousel Village (weird being as I spent a couple years on the eastern side of the state).

Lots of choices for a PA park trip :)

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 3:39 PM
Looking at that map it becomes clear that Scranton is the only major populated area of the state without an amusement park. There were several in the area not too long ago. Such a pity.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 3:51 PM
If I do hit Pocono Play Park the little yellow dot will go right about the intersection of 80 & 81 (more or less) - still not a 'real' park, nor really near Scranton - but it'd fill in that part of the map a bit.

PA really is covered when it comes to amusement parks.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 5:52 PM
Gonch, I had to chuckle at your map-- well, one thing at least. Right at the bottom corner of the Knoebel's label is a place called New Castle, which maybe has 4 houses still standing in it. It's an old mine "patch" that could probably fit within the footprint of Phoenix. Maybe it got confused with the OTHER New Castle (out near the Ohio line). I'm sure the handful of residents would appreciate the mention though.

If you showed the defunct parks in the state, now that would probably cover the map. You're correct, millrace. Scranton had Rocky Glen and Hazleton had Angela Park.

Between Hazleton and Pottsville were Lakewood AND Lakeside, practically across the road from each other, although Lakeside wasn't as much of an amusement park with rides, more of a swimming resort, although they had a huge ballroom that was just recently restored and is being used again.

Lakewood was known for the Bavarian Festival during the 70s, as well as its various other nationality days held on most Sundays during the summer. Those events would attract tens of thousands of people each year. Lakewood had the scariest Wild Mouse I ever rode. It was so rickety and rusty, you really did think you might just keep going over the edge.

They also had a ride called the Hey-Dey, which I've never seen anywhere else. It was similar to a Whip, except the floor had a few small humps in it, and the cars were able to totally pivot around themselves similar to a tilt-a-whirl, though not as fast. the cars also had a front and back seat. Anyone ever encountered a ride like that in other parks?

OK, enough for the trip down Memory Lane. I realized I'm sounding like MY parents now. YIKES!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 6:37 PM
http://www.visitpa.com/pathrills/parks/park_index.shtml
or PA Thrills, is a good site about PA's amusement parks. Have fun on your trip though, PA has alot to offer, as been said many times before. *** Edited 3/23/2005 11:38:15 PM UTC by P18***
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 8:39 PM
Bear - you forgot to mention the amusement area of Nay Aug Park. I used to visit that a lot and I remember it being pretty run down back in the 1980s. There was a mini train ride (I think by the Miniature Train Company) circling a NAD Jr. woodie, bumper cars, and a handful of flat rides.

No trace of the original park left although I think the City of Scranton has been contracting in some small kiddie attractions for the park.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005 9:14 PM
I was at Bushkill Park last year. I think it's about 2 hours from here, and there are only a few rides. Its a very small park. I recomend planning more than just that park for the day. The few rides that were there my family and I rode were fun though.
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Thursday, March 24, 2005 9:40 PM
Weona is a small little community park. It has the carousel, a kiddie jeep ride, a mini golf course as well as they typical small town park things, like a pool and band shell. It is very well kept and a real gem, I imagine it is much like what many of the old small parks were like.

The carousel is interesting in that the horses all have their original paint still on them. It was restored a few years ago and looks fantastic, and even has a ring catch.

Here are some photos of the park.

Edit: link

*** Edited 3/25/2005 2:40:47 AM UTC by Cyclonic***

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Friday, March 25, 2005 7:53 AM
I agree with Rob about the Skyliner. What a little gem that is. I love Lakemont, but then again it was my first amusment park. Now I would say you could do Del Grossos and Lakemont in a day.
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Monday, March 28, 2005 12:00 AM
Thanks for the additional info, millrace. I was never actually there, but my own recollection hearing about Nay Aug was about the zoo only. And it seems that at least once a year, we see on the local news about a rescue of someone involved in a hiking or illegal diving incident.

Another place that seems to be in the process of reviving itself is Twin Grove Park, off of I-81, west of Pine Grove. Right now, I think it's just the old carousel that's been restored, but there are a few other attractions including a campground and restaurant that are also open. I'm not sure of everything that used to be there, or what the ultimate plans are for the park. But it's always nice to hear of a grand old park being brought back. Just wish someone had been able to save Lakewood before it went totally to hell.

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Monday, March 28, 2005 8:47 AM
The word on the street a few years ago was that Twin Grove planned on bringing in some older classic rides including restoring the circle swing that still sits there covered in vines. I wonder if that is still the plan? Aside from the carousel and a couple other attractions nothing more seems to have come of this.
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Monday, March 28, 2005 7:37 PM
They have a Circle Swing still standing?
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