Sean: The second park on our 10-park tour was the classic Knoebels Amusement Park and Resort located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania! This hidden pay-per-ride park has some of the world’s best classic rides and wooden roller coasters, including the infamous Flying Turns!
– Over the years, many of our images have popped up on other sites and forums, awesome that our coverage spreads, not so awesome that not everyone mentioned where they got the images from. We are totally fine with our audience using our images, BUT ONLY IF credit is given to californiacoasterkings.com. Thank you! –
Flying Turns took a grand total of 7 years to build and is a unique wooden bobsled coaster that is loved by the masses. The first half of the ride is simply a helix and didn’t entertain me too much. The second half on the other hand is much longer and faster and the trains really fly high into the turns. Thanks to its uniqueness it’s one of my favorite coasters I’ve ever ridden, and it’s certainly worth the long lines. Alex from Cabin Crew Coaster Kings agrees with me, or perhaps that’s just because the ride is aviation themed…?
Oh hey it’s me, Sean! Excited to try out the next ride we headed too after getting some Knoebels Birch Beer. Black Diamond is a very unique PTC steel coaster that was reconstructed at Knoebels in 2011 after closing at Dinosaur Beach in 1998!
The ride is incredibly long and has a wide array of different and unique scenes. All coal-mining related. Imagine a slow moving roller coaster with several drops and tight turns, and combine that with a classic haunted house ride. That’s what gets you Black Diamond. I had no clue what to expect, and I will be honest the ride much impressed me. Due to both length and scenery. The ride is tucked away (almost as cozy as we were tucked into the mine cars) in the back corner of the park next to their food court and log ride!
Speaking of log rides…. THEY HAVE AN AWESOME LOG RIDE! The ride is appropriately named “Giant Flume” and is a mid-sized log ride with two drops. The ride is beautifully situated in the forest, utilizes a natural tunnel, and though it is not very long, has two major drops.
Of course we’re the type of people to get stuck on everything including log rides. The Knoebels staff is just too funny and so laid back. A certain employee had to get off a smoke break to help with the ride break down and was quite verbally upset he didn’t get to finish his cigarette. I hope he got to light one shortly after. 😛
The Phoenix originated in Texas as Rocket at Playland Park and opened in 1948. It operated ’til 1980, after which Knoebels moved the ride to their grounds to open reopen it to the public in June of 1985. The move was quite expensive at the time, costing over 1.5 Million USD. Every piece of wood was numbered and over 34 trucks were needed to move the ride to the Pennsylvanian woods. It was all worth it though! The ride is in incredible shape, as Knoebels is also a lumber company, and the ride is one of the smoothest wooden coasters I’ve ever been on.
Wonder what REALLY makes this wooden coaster so popular among enthusiasts, and why it is my favorite classic wooden coaster? The answer is some simple airtime. Or rather a whole lot of it! The ride’s layout features plenty of drops, a double up that immediately becomes a double down, and a ton of small airtime hills. In addition this coaster runs classic 6-seater PTC trains with buzz-bars, and no seat belts, resulting in out-of-your-seat intense airtime the entire ride through, where even my 6 and a half feet tall self was able to stand up on. If there weren’t a million reasons to visit Knoebels already, the Phoenix should be your reason to go!
Students at a local school recreated the Phoenix for a project, which is now appropriately on display next to the ride, where guests will also find a car of the train, and one of the classic ticket booths for the ride!
Another very classic ride is the park’s Motor Boats. Which are wooden boats hot from the engine running inside. The line was moving slow, much like the boats themselves, but once we were on we had a great time.
Of course we took navigating the small river around the kiddie area very serious. Or perhaps it was just the fact that the clearances for the bridges are so little I could literally hit my head if I did not watch out…
OH HEY IT’S KOZMO’S KURVES! The park’s 2009 E&F Miler kiddie coaster addition! Like Freeway Coaster at Adventure City in California, the trains have individual lap bars and are actually quite comfortable. The ride layout however throws you around! (Also, look at the clearances for the boats!)
The Motor Boats layout is essentially a circle passing by some kiddie rides and Kozmo’s Kurves, but the ride takes a while since the boats move at a rather slow speed. It gives you plenty of time to appreciate how classic the majority of this park’s landscaping and rides are.
Let’s talk about Twister! The ride runs 4-seater PTC trains and has a significantly twisty layout with lots of small and large turns, and is clearly not as airtime oriented as Phoenix is. Meaning that it nicely balances out the park’s wooden coaster line-up. Most significantly is the fact that this wooden coaster is glass smooth while having a layout that would be expected to be hellishly rough.
Impulse is the park’s newest coaster and opened in 2015. I was very unsure what to expect from this coaster, and my first ride on the edge of the train was a bit rough, the middle seats were absolute bliss on the other hand. It is a wonderful ride with some great forces, and hang time through the barrel roll. In addition this ride perfectly compliment’s the park’s line up of coasters and flat rides by adding color, thrill, and inversions. The park also seems very proud of this coaster as their largest collection of merchandise is most definitely for Impulse!
The next ride is where I just died of excitement. All day long I had been saying that Knoebels was real-life Roller Coaster Tycoon but with Amish people, and then there it was… The 4-square affordable ride all of our RCT parks had… the SKYSLIDE! It was such a fun experience to walk up the spiral staircase inside and sliding down the wooden spiral slide!
Knoebels is not only a place with classic rides, but also a park that has a large amount of craftsmanship going on! Which is seen back in their reusing of carousel pieces for dining areas and for the pierogies roundstand! Mind you that the red carousel awnings in the dining area actually move!
On the topic of classics, of course Knoebels also has a beloved Tilt-A-Whirl. Believe it or not, I had actually never been on one prior to our trip to Scandia Ontario, California!
One of the very few attractions that is not included with any tickets or wristbands is Knoebels’ Haunted Mansion. Which has its own little ticket booth on the front lawn of the mansion. This ride is a very classic haunted mansion dark ride, and since it was not haunt season yet I did get a ton of little jump scares out of it. It is definitely one of the park’s hidden gems, much like Black Diamond.
But this crazy old-school and unique hamster wheel ride was open! You need to put in quite some effort to invert, but with two tall dudes we made that happen quite quickly! Looper gives you a nice work out!
Among many rides, the park also features a Carousel museum with lots of awesome information and ride vehicles (many different types of horses and other animals). I highly recommend everyone checks out this museum while they’re at the park!
Okay, it’s time for our second miniature train! The Ole Smokey is the original little railway at the park and can be found in the children’s area of the park. The cars are incredibly small and adorable!
Another amazing and unique thing about Knoebels? Guests can bring their pets! You see mostly dogs around the park, but as we happened to get ice cream waffle sandwiches I spotted 2 cats very close and just HAD TO RUN OVER AND PET THEM! THEY WERE SO CUTE! Another 100 points for Gryffind… I mean Knoebels!
We wanted to get a front seat night ride on Phoenix, but as we were about to board the ride closed for the night as a giant thunder and hail storm was nearby. So instead we hastily made our way over to the parking lot on the other side of Knoebels, and just HAD to snap a picture of this classic Knoebels sign!
Thank you for following along with California Coaster Kings & Cabin Crew Coaster Kings‘ latest adventure: An American Northeast trip through Maryland, East Pennsylvania, Up-state New York, and Ontario, Canada!
Here’s the park’s we’ve visited and will launch reports for! The names will become links as soon as they are live!
- Adventure Park USA – Part 1
- Knoebels – Part 2
- Dorney Park – Part 3
- Hershey Park – Part 4
- Dutch Wonderland – Part 5
- Seabreeze Amusement Park – Part 6
- Darien Lake – Part 7
- Fantasy Island – Part 8
- Canada’s Wonderland – Part 9
- Marineland Canada – Part 10