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7.12.2020

A Visit to Historic Knoebels Amusement Resort

Knoebels is our happy place. It has has been and always will be. When we saw that the park would be opening in July during this year of uncertainty, we just had to go. We ended up spending the July 4th weekend at the park, camping in the campground, and strolling over to the park. If this is something you have not experienced, we highly recommend it, especially in these tough times. In the midst of this stressful summer, visiting Knoebels was a lovely respite in the midst of devastation. For previous trips and more background on the rides, check out this prior article, and check out our own book on Pennsylvania's classic amusement parks, which is available through the dropdown menu at the top of the page. 

As far as safety and sanitization protocols in the midst of this pandemic, they did a wonderful job. They ensured that everyone properly wore a mask and they set out guidelines for guests to socially distance. For the most part, people cooperated well, knowing that if they did not, the park may not be able to operate. Rides were shut down every half hour or so for a deep cleaning involving spray disinfectants and wiping down. Every other row on the coasters was alternated each ride cycle. Markings were placed on the ground to ensure proper social distancing. Some carousel horses were kept empty to ensure proper distancing was achieved and the trains had alternating rows as well. Knoebels acted like the wonderful community citizen that it always has been, by acting responsibly and faithful to the needs of the community. This time is not optimal for anyone, but in the midst of a deadly pandemic, Knoebels has risen to the challenge to ensure that guests have a great time and that a safe environment is achieved. It is clear that Knoebels cares about its patrons and the overall safety of the community, which should not be news to anyone who has ever visited the park.
I love that the Lawrence Knoebel Covered Bridge welcomes you into the park from the camping area. 
Breakfast! Breakfast is served every day starting at 8:00AM in the International Pavilion, near the log flume.
Since we brought our dog CeCe along with us, our first ride was on the antique cars. The track that the ride travels on, weaving in and out of the structure on Phoenix, is easily the nicest that I have ever experienced. 
Heading over for a ride on Phoenix!
It was a terrific ride as always!
Next up was a ride on the Pioneer Train. I absolutely love the views you get of Twister's immense structure.
The carousel always looks so stately. 
Flying Turns is in the process of a big rebuilding project on the last half of the ride. The back half almost looks like a brand new ride!
Day 2! Here you can see Twister and Phoenix getting in their morning test runs while we go pick up some breakfast.
First ride of the day was the carousel.

CeCe did not know what to make of it at first, and then thoroughly enjoyed it. 
Both of the park's carousels are absolutely lovely.
Ole Smokey is the park's second, and shorter train, but it still has a really long course, and even crosses a classic iron bridge across the creek. 
Back to Twister!
The cutaway here frames the twisted nature of the coaster so nicely.
Now for a little afternoon swim with CeCe in front of the park's historic Lawrence Knoebel Covered Bridge.
Looking up at the helix after the end of the second lift hill is really impressive. Twister's structure is so enormous.
Derby Race time!
Closing out the evening with a ride on Phoenix!

And back for another morning ride on Twister.

CeCe loves taking in the coasters as much as I do!
Overall, I have to say I was very impressed with how Knoebels has struck a safe balance between doing too much and doing too little. In a time where parks could easily throw in the towel for the season, Knoebels has opted to open up, but with logical and safe precautions to protect us in this pandemic. The mask policies, the spacing methods in the queue lines and on the rides, the sanitizer stations across the park for guests and employees, and the frequent deep cleaning stops on the rides help ensure that this virus does not spread. Most of the visitors were following the protocols pretty well. The park struck a balance between doing too much and too little, and is taking the threat of this pandemic very seriously. 

As always, we are grateful and appreciative of what Knoebels is able to accomplish. When tough times have struck this 94 year old park, whether it be during the Great Depression, wartime, and the complete collapse of local industry, the park has not only survived, but thrived. Knoebels needs our support in these times, for it has always been there for us, including now with keeping our safety as their first motivation. The decent crowds over the weekend were very encouraging, but we need to keep it up.

If you are interested in more Knoebels history, and in learning about more of the amusement parks throughout the state, be sure to check out our book, "Great Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Road Trip." It is available through local bookstores, online, and through the drop down menu near the top of this page.

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