Campsite Review: Knoeble's Amusement Campground
The Phoenix at Knoebles
What is Knoebles
Knoebles is the largest free admission amusement park in the world. While driving though the forested mountains of central PA one would not expect a world class amusement park to be hiding around the next mountain top.But it is there, and worth the drive. Knoebles is a nostalgic old fashioned amusement park the repeatedly makes the top 10 lists of best amusement parks. Even without a single large looping steel coasters it currently #2 on the Travel Channel's "Top 10" list. It beat out Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom which is #3.
So what makes it special? Knoebles has a few unique things that blend together for the perfect mix. For starters there is no admission. Everything there is ticket based and priced very affordably. So Moms, Dad and Grandparents do not get their wallets emptied paying for admission only to ride a few things if anything at all. A family of 4 can easily spend the day with Rides and food for less than $100. Camping is huge part of the knoebles experience, at Knoebles you camp right on the amusement park grounds. Freely moving from campsite to amusement park as you wish. Apart from classic carnival favorites, Knoebels offers a mix of Restored world class old fashioned rides. This includes one of the best wooden roller coasters ever built. There is a relaxed casual atmosphere in the park you never feel rushed or over crowded. Our family has visited a few times and has always left feeling relaxed, happy and talking about what a fun trip we had. Priceless!
Campground at Knoebles
Camping at Knoebles
Knoebles offers two campground to choose from. The main campground is directly on the amusement park property. Lake Glory is an expansion campground about 3 minutes away that offers shuttle service to the park. Having never stayed at Lake Glory I can't comment to much on it in this review other than I have heard it is nice.
The main campground offers options for everyone. They offer cabin rentals, individual and group camping sites as well as many nice RV slots. There is electric at all the campsites, but there is no water or sewer for RV. So you will have to carry your water in and hit one of the many dumping stations on the way out. The campsites have always been clean and well maintained.
Layout: The campground is quite large and it does sit on a hill. There are two main sections. The first closes to the park entrance and camp store is laid out in a grid of streets named for US states. It is easy to navigate and the hills are not too bad to walk up and down. The second area is in the upper back corner of the campsite. The streets are named and themed for Canadian Provinces. To get to this section you do have to cross over from the top of the campground to get to this section. While a longer walk with hills we have done it with kids and stroller in tow for a few day without problems.
Fun Bus: Starting at park opening the camp grounds runs a shuttle service from the entrance to all areas of campground. The "Fun Bus" loops every 20 minutes until park close. While walking the campground is pretty easy, it is nice to have the shuttle option available.
Comfort Stations: There are large clean comfort stations across the campground. The ones we have used have all had additional private family restrooms and showers on the outside perimeter. They are cleaned frequently and have always been pleasant to use. Each of the comfort stations also has external wash sinks for clean up.
Registration Area: When you first pull into the campground you are greeted with impressive sight of Twister, a wooden roller coaster, roaring along it's tracks. There is a pull off area for registration and check in. As well as a water filling station should you want to top off your water on the way in. Also in this area is the firewood shed, $5.00 a bucket and childrens sand and playground area.
Camp Store: The camp store is on the small side, but well stocked with sundries, clothing and souvenirs. Prices are fair and the staff is friendly. As expected it can get crowded at the end of the night as people retire from the amusement park and stop to pick up S'more Supplies.
Stratus-Fear at Knoebles
Attractions at Knoebles
Attractions at Knoebles
As I mentioned above Knoebles is an interesting mix of classic carnival rides and recovered top notch thrill rides. There is something for every age group and they are pretty generous with the height restrictions. I have found that my kids can ride rides here that they have been turned away at other parks.
I will touch on a few highlight rides below.
StratusFear: - Opened in 2013: StratusFear is a magnetic brake free fall type ride. Riders are raised 14 stories then dropped. The ride is gravity powered, using magnetic braking to quickly and smoothly bring the car to a stop in the last three stories. It is 100% pure adrenaline rush.
The Phoenix: A true world class wooden roller coaster. Phoenix consistently make top 10 lists for best coaster. The Phoenix is a classic out and back style coaster built in 1947 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It operated as "The Rocket" in San Antonio Texas until 1980. At that time it was the largest roller coaster in the world with 3200 feet of track and a 78 foot first drop. It was restored and reopened at Knoebles in 1985 as the Phoenix. While not the longest or the tallest by todays standards the Phoenix offers a consistently fast ride with more airtime than any coaster I have ever been on. You feel like you are out of your seat on the return run more than you are in it.
Twister: The twister is a recreation of the famous Mister Twister from Denver Colorado. The Twister is a mirror image of the original Mister Twister and slightly compacted. It features a double lift climb which raised the car in two stages before the first drop. The highlight is the central double Helix which wraps around the rides central station. The Twister always makes a respectable ranking in the coaster ratings top 100 in the world. It is a great companion to the Phoenix offering a completely different ride style.
Skloosh: So you want to get wet? Skloosh, it's Swedish for you will get Wet! It is a boat style flume ride that generates a wall of water timed perfectly to fall back down on you as you pass underneath it. The wall of water is do dense that you can not see through it. If for some reason you happen to stay dry on the ride then wait for the next boat on the observation deck, The force of the water wall you will be hit with is enough to knock you over.
Haunted Mansion: Is a classic rolling dark ride haunted house and considered one of the best in the genera. While more campy than scary by todays standards it remains a timeless classic. It still generates enough scares to get you jumping out of your seat.
Grand Carousel: Built in 1913 by Kramer Carousel works of NY. The Grand Carousel features 63 Hand Carved Horses. It is one of the few remaining carousels with a working ring dispenser. If brings back all the nostalgia of riding an outer horse and trying to snag a ring for as you go around.
Flying Turns: Opened in 2013 after years under construction. The anticipation for this ride with all of it's bobsled like turns is that of a white knuckle thrill ride. In reality it is a great family friendly ride with just enough thrill of the adults. The cars rill freely down the turns climbing the walls a little higher each turn.
- Flying Tigers - Plane theme whip type ride
- 2 Trains
- Jest Fighters Ride
- Panther Cars
- Classic Cars
- Fire Trucks
- Bumper Cars
- Kozmos Coaster (Mini Roller Coaster)
- Classic Umbrella Ride (Cars)
- Classic Helicopter Ride
- Ball Crawl
- Red Baron Planes
- Many More
The Phoenix Coaster
Pricing and Tickets
There is no park admission fees at Knoebles. Rides are ticket based. It is a little more complicated than just number of tickets. At Knoebles tickets have a value. $.10, $.25, $.50, $1.00. The rides have a ticket cost per rider. So a for a ride that costs $1.50 you would hand the attendant $1.50 in tickets.
Knoebles often offers Friday night special where a bracelet can be purchased for $10.00 that allows unlimited access to almost every ride. However even with the bracelet certain attractions like Phoenix will still cost tickets.
As a family of 5 for 2 days we will spend about $150-$175 for rides for a weekend.
Tip: Check with main office for bulk ticket discounts. We often by $150 in tickets for $125.
Where is Knoebles
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