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Knoebels Amusement Park – a Vintage Retro Must-Do, Elysburg PA Elysburg, PA

Posted on: August 14, 2010

If I wasn’t so busy getting ready to go on vacation with RetroRoadhusband, today looks like a perfect summer Saturday to jump in the RetroMobile and head to Knoebles Amusement park, nestled in the hills near Elysburg, PA. We went there 2 summers ago with the Retro Roadkids and their parents and I just could not let this summer go by without strongly encouraging you to go to this wonderful almost historic amusement park.

You Are Here

The Wikipedia page for Knoebles Amusement Resort sums up all the good stuff nicely when it notes “Knoebels Amusement Resort is a family-owned and -operated amusement park, picnic grove and campground, located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. Opened in 1926, the park has more than 50 rides, free admission, two wooden roller coasters, a 1913 carousel and a haunted house dark ride that was featured on the Discovery Channel.”

One of the many great things I loved about this park was the free admission policy, as I am not as into riding the rides as I once was, so I don’t have to pay for a wrist band I’ll never use! This make the park a great place for extended families, and we saw many reunions and parties setting up in the picnic grove as we walked from our free parking into the park.

Once we got in I was thrilled with the amount of vintage signs, buildings and rides, all well kept and looking great surrounded by the welcomed shade trees.


The Loaf

Another wonderful thing that made Knoebels stand out in my mind was their food offerings- not just typical fried food, but more varied and healthy options from their cafeteria, full service restaurant The Alamo and even gluten free menu options- check out this link to see the menus, so many options! . Just pick up your tray from the pile, and get in line!

Lunch Trays

They also have one of my favorite amusement park snacks – cotton candy, or as this great vintage neon sign calls it – Candy Floss!

Candy Floss

And they’ve even got some old fashioned treats like birch beer and ice cream waffles, served under some wonderful vintage structures:

Ice Cream Waffles

A couple of more wonderful things about this place – before I get myself really wanting to head there! For the roller coaster fans they’ve got 4 roller coasters, one of which is the Phoenix which is a wooden coaster originally built in 1947 for Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas. While that coaster is the first one RetroRoadGirl rode, I was more happy with the sedate pace of the classic carousel, complete with brass rings. RetroRoadgirl seemed to like that part too.

Grab The Brass Ring

This carousel was built in 1913 and still uses original organs – not recordings – to play that classic carousel accompaniment!

There is a great kiddie area in the park, with rides for the small kids, and don’t worry they still have many modern rides for those more adventurous types. I can tell I’m getting old when I realize I’d rather tell folks about the Anthracite Museum located in the park, which gives a history of coal mining in the area, and also houses a great selection of memorabilia from Knoebels past, like this great sign:

Sady Hawkins Day

I really loved the dining area – perfect for parties- that was shaped like a giant birthday cake, replete with candles atop and being held aloft by peppermint sticks. So wonderfully old timey, I wanted to have my birthday celebration right there.

Best Birthday Cake

And they even have that classic game Fascination that I totally remember from Nantasket Beach (I wonder if that’s still there?). There’s also skeeball, my favorite sport!

The Knoebels website does a great job of showing all of their rides, attractions, foods, camping areas, pools and more, and once you see all the place has to offer, you’ll be putting this place on your list of summer must visit attractions too. I’m posting this early on a Saturday morning, get out there and go!

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  • Mare

    We take the neices every year and LOVE it! The wooden rollercoasters are a must…but they’re major back breakers. The girls love the hand peddle carts, giant slide, and sky lift, too. Such a great day for tha park! Have fun!!

    • Mare- aren’t nieces so handy as an excuse to go someplace fun and silly? Thank God for the Retro Roadkids or people would think Cliff and I were odder than they already do 😉

  • hk

    I went there at least 2 or 3 times a summer growing up. Amazing. It used to be free admission – open to the public, you only paid for the rides.

    Conneaut Lake Park in northwestern PA, is another amazing place if you get the chance to check it out.

    • HK- yep it’s still free admission, one of the many things I love about this place! I’ll put Conneaut Lake Park on our map for sure- thanks for the tip!

  • What a great post! I want to go. I just did a post on my blog this week all about “Trolley Parks” and my favorite one called Midway Park in Western New York! I love these small amusement parks. So many memories…Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos!

  • John

    Does anybody have pictures of the tree house that was next to the Crystal Pool? I remember spending all day at the pool and then going on all the rides on “hand-stamp night” circa 1974.

  • Being a railroad buff, I’m wondering if this was a “trolley park.” If so, does anyone know what the name of the railroad was?

    • Hello Tom,

      From what I can tell from online this wasn’t your standard trolley park- as its out of the way location would also indicate, but it appears that the recreational use of the land started back at the turn of the last century, where it would be a destination for “talley-ho’s” = A tally-ho was a Sunday afternoon hayride with a destination.

  • Jessica

    I live in a neighbooring town, and never miss a summer at knobles. I have been going there for years and it has never changed. It still has the same guy running the bumper cars. Amazing.

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  • Bess

    Best bumper cars in the entire world are at Knoebel’s Grove!

    • Good to know, can’t wait to check the place out again now that the Retro Roadkids are that much older – thanks Bess!

  • Kelsey Styles !!!!
    My mom shared this with me and I had to make sure it was on the map! We go almost every year.