Kennywood: A Guide For The Senses

paratroopers Kennywood: A Guide For The Senses

(Source: J. Olenik/KDKA)


Nothing says summer like making a day trip to Kennywood Park. Even though it’s one of the oldest amusement parks in the nation, Kennywood continues to offer new thrill rides, like the Sky Rocket roller coaster which debuted last year — along with old favorites like the Log Jammer, Thunderbolt, and the Merry-Go-Round. Visitors can also enjoy several last-of-their-kind rides, like the Kangaroo, the Turtle (one of two remaining), and the (16-car) Whip. But as many of us who grew up in Western Pennsylvania know, Kennywood is more than just an amusement park; it’s a great place to delight the senses!

Kennywood Park

4800 Kennywood Blvd.
West Mifflin, PA 15122
(412) 464-9931
Official Website

waveswinger Kennywood: A Guide For The Senses

(Source: J. Olenik/KDKA)

The Sights:

1. Probably the first view you catch of the park from a distance will be the too-high track of the Phantom’s Revenge. This may look serene enough, tall steel towers and arcs sketched against the sky, until you see a roller coaster train hurtling along the steel track.

2. The Wave Swinger, which sails its wicker-chair swings in centrifugal loops high over the park, offers a classic amusement park sight. And its pretty lights are definitely a reason to stay past nightfall.

3. The Racer, with its refurbished wood-worked facade and electric-lit sign that spells out R-A-C-E-R after dark, provides an old-time midway ambiance; while the sign at the top of the first hill warns creepily, “Don’t Stand Up!”

potatopatchfries Kennywood: A Guide For The Senses

(Source: KDKA)

The Tastes:

1. Potato Patch Fries, not far from the entrance to Lost Kennywood, and next to the Turtle, are highly sought-after sustenance. Definitely get them smothered in cheese sauce. And do not pass up the bacon topping, or you will regret it.

2. An ice cream cone, preferably a chocolate-vanilla twist with a quick dip-and-roll through crushed peanuts, is coolly refreshing. These are sold at the Pagoda snack building, behind the merry-go-round.

3. A free drink of cool water is available at water fountains throughout the park. Less cool, but more “cool”: the water one can slurp from the giant, retro mushroom fountain, behind the Grand Carousel and the Cosmic Chaos ride.

thunderbolt Kennywood: A Guide For The Senses

(Source: J. Olenik/KDKA)

The Feel:

1. There is an unmistakable sensation of excitement (or for the faint at heart, a little dread) as another safety bar falls into place across your lap and locks with a click, just before so many rides start.

2. The beyond-butterflies hidden drops while on the Exterminator, the semi-dark, “mad mouse” indoor coaster. The stomach-lurch which always catches one by surprise on the Kangaroo. Or the infamous “double dip” on the Jack Rabbit, which threatens to toss the unlucky right up and out of the train.

3. Pittsburghers of a certain age will recall fondly the no-longer-with-us Noah’s Ark whale, whose mouth provided the unique entrance across its giant, spongy tongue into haunted Noah’s Ark. The rickety freight elevator which replaced the whale as an entrance offers its own tactile thrills. And so does the deep-submersible craft which brings you wetly back from the depths.

merrygoround Kennywood: A Guide For The Senses

(Source: J. Olenik/KDKA)

The Sounds:

1. The clickety-track, wooden roller coasters that take advantage of Pittsburgh’s hilly terrain, especially the Thunderbolt and the Jack Rabbit, plunge riders noisily down ravines only to race them thunderously back up seconds later. This artificial thunder mixes with the screams of said riders, which carry throughout the park. It always sounds like somebody’s having way too much fun.

2. At the center of the Grand Carousel, which is a National Historic Landmark, a 1916 Wurlitzer band organ belts out good cheer all day and into the night. This Merry-Go-Round’s lights make it a sight to see at night, as well.

3. The frenetic blare of the horn on the Bayern Kurve will definitely catch your attention. Or maybe it will be the melancholic whistle of Noah’s Ark that follows you home.

Kennywood Park opens for the season on Saturday, May 7th; but until it opens its daily summer season on May 19th, the park is only open on weekends. Admission costs $36.99 for a regular Funday pass ($17.99 for seniors aged 55 and older); Night Riders (admitted after 5 p.m.) pay just $21.99!

Comments

One Comment

  1. Patricia Cuban says:

    Kennywood Park is my favorite place to go.

    1. Deena says:

      Kennywood is the Happiest Place on Earth… I’m 41 now but when I was a kids we went at least twice a summer… Kennywood is my childhood… I love it, always will and I take my kids there every year at least twice a summer too… I’m the first one in line especially at the coasters. My favs are the Jack Rabbit and The Racers… my kids even have a hard time keeping up with me!

    2. Kaelee says:

      i really love kennywood so much!! My family goes every year in July and we always have a balst riding all the rides!!! I love kennywood so much !

  2. johnny69 says:

    it is mine as well, also my kids. We had season tickets last year and recommend getting them if you like to go. Unfortunately finances are just not there this year and we will be unable to do that, but if you can I do definitely recommend, it was a BLAST!

  3. Elliemae says:

    I remember the first time I rode a steel rail coaster. I felt let down, said to myself, “no this is not a real coaster”. Without the clickety-clack it is not a coaster to me.

  4. Dave says:

    Kennywood is just sad now. Ticket prices keep going up and the quality of the coasters aren’t getting better. I guess there new coaster would be that fix but there new coaster the Sky Rocket is just sad with a top speed on 50 mph.

    I would rather spend the extra money and go up to Sandusky, OH to go to Cedar Point which is filled with far better rides at a great cost.

    1. Breeana says:

      I agree with you I would rather go to Cedar Point too

      1. Justn Cornell says:

        YOU 2 SHOULD GET YOUR HEADS CHECKED! THE LINES ARE LONGER AND YOU SPEND MOST OF YOUR DAY WAITING AROUND FOR A 2 MIN. COASTER RIDE! KENNYWOOD IS UNMATCHED AND HAS ALL THE COMFORTS OF A REAL PARK! TICKET PRICES ARE UP BUT SO IS EVERY THING ELSE IN OUR WORLD!

      2. Sami PartyPoison Cromling says:

        Well, I agree Kenny wood is starting to become less fun but i still have so much fun there, Ive been going there my whole life and throughout all the changes and price raises i still love the feeling of being there, it always makes me smile to walk through the tunnel on my way to my favorite place! (:

  5. kimt824 says:

    Kennywood is a great local park and provides hundreds of summer jobs to high school and college students. The admission fees aren’t that bad if you go to even Giant Eagle to get discounted tickets or go after 6 p.m. We need to support this local park or we won’t have anything close by especially with the cost gas.

    1. Dave says:

      No doubt it provides much need jobs in the area but like you said there are discounted tickets after 6 P.M. and they are still more than half of the regular ticket prices. Now does that make any sense at all? Why would I spend 22 dollars for 4 to 5 hours when you can get the whole day for 37?

      That is just bad business on the part of Kennywood and is a big reason why the park is a complete joke compared to others around the country.

      1. Ron says:

        Yes, There are lots of jobs for younger folks but they don’t always treat their employees with respect or provide a safe work environment. They often make them work long shifts in the sun and although they have policies such as they are supposed to get scheduled breaks, often they are so short handed or have such poor management that employees sit in the sun baking without a break or enough water, I am sure a surprise OSHA inspection would turn up plenty of violations. It is a shame because it could be such a great place for High School and College students to work. (and it has been in the past). Some folks still have a good experience but most do not and being that these jobs are needed, our younger work force will have to keep putting up with what ever the park dishes out. Its a shame, when it was family owned it was a happy place for guests and employees.

        Hint Hint KDKA…..Would make a good investigation story

      2. Cool Cat says:

        i can get all day tickets at my credit union for 22.50 each, wow dint relize i was getting such a savings to come there.

  6. Paul J. Arthur says:

    Oh what great days I remember. June 1st and the Munhall school picknec. This was the greatest thing in a kids life in the 40ties. Catch the yellow and red 65 streetcar in the “Park”. Change cars in Homestead and you were at Kenneywood. You have never ridden a coaster untill you rode the “Pippen”. Of course the Jack Rabbit was the next and then the Racer. Every year as now was a new ride…. Remember the thing that used to spin around, hold you to the side and then the floor droped down. Of course, as a young lad, I could not understand whay all the older guys liked to watch the girls with “Poodle” skirts on slide down the wall as the ride stopped. Or why they liked to watch Old Noha, when the air shot up from the floor… And I have to tell you the swimming pool was the best. Bring a basket, have great Pittsburgh food , stay till they kicked you out .. Disney can only dream of being as great as Pittsburgh’s Kennywood Park in the summer…..

  7. JIM says:

    I REALLY THINK THE PARK HAS GONE DOWNHILL SINCE THE NEW OWNERSHIP GROUP TOOK OVER. PRICES ARE HIGHER, ALOT OF THE GAMES, RIDES AND FOOD STANDS DON’T OPEN WHEN THE PARK OPENS, OR THEY WON’T OPEN AT ALL. THE PARK LOOKS A LITTLE DIRTY, THERE USED TO BE SO MANY FLOWERS AND HANGING BASKETS, BUT I SEE THATS BEEN CUT BACK. SOMETIMES PAYROLL AND CUTBACKS HAVE TO TAKE A BACKSEAT FOR CUSTOMER SATIFACTION, WE ARE AFTER ALL HELPING TO PAY THE BILLS.

  8. KENDALL C. says:

    I think the new ownership feels that as long as they are the only park in the area they will get a certain attendance and they will always be able to fill the summer jobs whether most people have a great experience or not. But – for my part the price only warrants a single visit a year. We used to plan on attending several times a year but no longer. I can live with the lack of new rides every single year or even the price increases – but the food, cleanliness, landscaping and game selection have gone downhill also.

    1. RON says:

      CEDAR POINT is too crowded and expensive ! Most of you probably never heard of KNOEBELS GROVE PARK off I-80 near DANVILLE. It is about the size of KENNYWOOD and ride-all-day price is the same, HOWEVER, the PARKING IS FREE ! FREE ENTRY IN THE PARK ! You can PAY-AS-YOU-RIDE, or just walk around and enjoy great shops, museums and EXCELLENT FOOD ! Three great coasters too ! CAMPING, SWIMMING and SENIOR FRIENDLY !! SENIORS can go FREE to watch their grandchildren have fun and ride. HINT HINT–KENNYWOOD !

  9. MsPittsburgh says:

    Kennywood is freakin awesome. For you naysayers, I lived in California for 20 years and nothing compares to my favorite historical theme park, Kennywood. I’ve visited parks all across the country and I love Kennywood the best. The nostalgia, ambience and food just doesn’t get any better anywhere!!!

  10. Nancy Dalena Elsesser says:

    Idle wild park has it all small a water park prices are good, no real long rides the shows are great! We do the water park durning the day an rides an show evenings,
    Very clean

    1. RON says:

      BEAUTIFUL PARK ! The $8.00 fee to rent a locker for swimming is totally off- the- charts OUTRAGEOUS ! The food concessions aren’t all open for some reason. Perhaps business isn’t so great there. TOO EXPENSIVE for seniors as is KENNYWOOD ! For some unknown reason, KENNYWOOD CORP doesn’t want seniors in their parks. Knowing seniors are on a fixed income, you’d think they would cut them a break, considering most seniors can’t and / or don’t ride most of the rides ! HOWEVER–they do spend money of food and drink !!

  11. johnny69 says:

    They closed early on 4th of July and canceled the fireworks…WHY? Kennywood ALWAYS stays open…

  12. john says:

    kennywood rocks. i go at least 4 or 5 times during the season and 2 times during the fright night and i cant wait for christmas.ive been going all my life to kennywood 54 years,and i still go to ceaderpoint once a year.i love both parks and i take my children to

  13. johnny69 says:

    I just found out that they do not pay the seasonal workers overtime over 40 hours. Make them buy their shirts and shorts, make them buy their water bottle, make them buy a Kennywood clear purse or bag, and work them 16 hours in the hot sun. Not the happiest place on earth for these poor workers. You would think that the outrageous admission price would be enough.

    1. mark tornits says:

      its always been like that though-

      and they still get 100’s of kids to work there every year-

      if people refused to work there, then things might change but the kids are still lining up to work there….

  14. Mike Cook says:

    I moved to Philadelphia 11 years ago, and one of the few things I miss about Pittsburgh is Kennywood Park. What great memories of school picnics from Colfax, Linden and Allderdice! Now I go to Knobel’s Grove which still has FREE admission, which is great for those of us who can no longer ride as much, and a huge swimming pool (like the one I remember at Kennywood) in addition to all of the rides, great food, and beautiful surroundings. Dorney Park and Six Flags are fun too, but the great memories of Kennywood are irreplaceble!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Kennywood is great, but whatever you do, DO NOT go on the Thunderbolt! Unless you want whiplash, scrambled eggs for brains, and a heinous headache! I get that they want to keep the Thunderbolt because of nostalgia and because of its history, but man oh man! What they need to do is suck it up and take the Thunderbolt out and replace it with a new rollercoaster. It’s not like they don’t have the money to do that!

    1. Anonymous says:

      The Thunderbolt is THE BEST ride in the whole park!!! Can’t take the heat? Get out of the kitchen. Can’t take the rides? Get out of the park. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean others don’t.

  16. Haily says:

    Haily : Kennywood is the best plase on earth when you come to pittsburgh be sure to drive by or even come for the day i promise you will love it❤ :)!!!!

  17. jessica says:

    kennywood is the best place to be

  18. Barbara says:

    Still have to see Kennywood every summer. Can’t ride as much as before, but really enjoy my children and grandchildren having fun. I’m content to sit, watch and feast on Potato Patch fries and all the other goodies.

  19. me says:

    have not been to kennywood in 6 years and have no reason to go back. I live in McKeesport and nothing has changed or invited me back. I guess I have outgrown Kennywood? I do have family out of state and I tell them I Have not been there and they want too Know why? Give me a reason I have family coming in August and would love to come to Kennywood tell me why I should?

    1. Cool Cat says:

      Wish I could give you some inspiration to go but I can not..I was there on July 30th and I was shocked.. Neither the clothing or smoking policies are being enforced.. There was trash everywhere… Normally we go to Kennywood 3 to 4 times during the summer months but have only been there once this year with no intentions of going back…

      1. Dave says:

        Wow that is really sad to hear Cool Cat. I’m actually going to Kennywood tomorrow and if I see someone smoking in non smoking areas I will freak out and demand management do something or else going to the news with heavy evidence.

        As for the clothing policy it is simply a joke anyways. Except for hateful speech on a shirt, that is uncalled for. I wear a political shirt all the time and no other park in the country seems to have a problem with it nor should Kennywood or any person in one of these parks.

  20. ROSIE S. DIVENS says:

    WHEN YOUR KIDS HAVE SCHOOL PICNIC DAYS JUST BUY EXTRA TICKETS FOR THE SUMMER IF YOU HAVE FAMILY COME FOR VACATION. THIS YEAR THE TICKETS WERE $22.00 EACCH. IF YOU DON’T HAVE KIDS THAT ARE IN SCHOOL YOU CAN GO ON CERTAIN DAYS AT YOUR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION OR IF YOU’RE 55 OR OLDER YOU CAN PAY THE SENIOR PRICE OF $17.49.EACH.

  21. avg. Joe says:

    Yeah such a great place they’d rratherr pay a fine than pay overtime to workers.

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