Kennywood Park :: West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
In the 1800s before “motor cars” became widely available one of the more common modes of transportation between cities were trolleys. As passenger loads increased, entrepreneurial spirits came up with the idea of “trolley parks” which were amusement and recreation areas located at the end of the streetcar lines. This not only increased ticket sales but also brought economic viability to what were once small, out of the way towns. Some of the more famous of these trolley parks include Coney Island and Rye Beach Playland (located in Brooklyn and Rye New York respectively).
Not as widely known is Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania opened in 1898. It shares a distinction with Rye Beach Playland being one of the only two amusement parks to be honored as a National Historic Landmark. It earned this by being the best preserved of the few remaining trolley parks in the country still maintaining and operating many of its early 20th century rides including the 1919 “Whip” and the 1901 haunted house type ride Garfield’s Nightmare (originally called The Old Mill). The historic significance and turn of the century beauty at Kennywood belays the fact that there are a million and one things to see and do there.
Nicknamed the “America’s Greatest Traditional Amusement Park” and “The Rollercoaster Capital of the World” there are plenty of great rides for kids and adults alike. Their newest ride, the Sky Rocket, is a steel coaster that takes thrill seekers on 90 degree drops, upside down, and from zero to 50 miles per hour in less than three seconds. This is definitely not your grandpa’s rollercoaster. Speaking of, Kennywood has a fantastic program geared specifically to seniors. Because so many in the 55 and older crowd grew up going to Kennywood, they offer them admission for less than half price and if they come after 5:00 pm it’s only $9.99. Typically open until around 10:00 pm there is still ample time to get in all the fun stuff they remember and share new memories with the grandkids.
And it’s not just awesome rides that Kennywood offers (there are plenty, but you’ll discover them when you get there). Night time visitors are treated to a spectacular laser light show down by the lagoon. Day time guests can check out the park’s mobile rock bands “Party in the USA” and “Boys Rock”, see live acrobatics, and can even celebrate 60s or 80s style at the Kennywood Stage with classic hits by legends like the Beatles, Chicago, and Elvis. And if all that is too hot for you, jump on any one of their three water rides; you are guaranteed a thorough soaking and a great time.
Open May to October (check ahead for specific dates and times) Kennywood is a rousing good time for young and old. There is really so much to do and see there, you have to go for yourself and experience the exceptional service and excitement. This year marks their 113th season, so join in on all the fun and games that have been entertaining Pennsylvanians for generations down at Kennywood!
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