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Knoebel’s Preserves Old-Fashioned Family Fun

Nostalgic amusement park allows for an affordable and memorable day trip.

Slippery metal slides, electric bumper cars, shooting ranges and hand-peddled carts may seem archaic in an age of high-tech rides and electronics, but sometimes it’s not about technology.

With many of the existing rides installed in the early 1940s, a day trip to Knoebel’s Amusement Resort is like taking a trip back in time.

For one, you walk right in without paying an admission fee. To top that, the parking and entertainment are free too. Unimaginable!

Want to experience what Knoebel's touts as "America’s Best Bumper Cars?" Make sure to take a ride for a jarring-good time. They are the real deal and worth every cent of the $1.25 ticket fee.

A ride down the metal Sky Slide is more thrilling than one might think. That woven carpet adds some "umph' as children and parents race around the lighted tower, flying out at the bottom with huge smiles.

The 110-foot Ferris wheel is claimed to be the tallest in Pennsylvania. And trust me, it’s a long way down when you’re peeking out from the top.

And don’t forget the Haunted House, considered by locals to be one of the best in the country. Each darkened turn holds a new surprise, or not so new if you’ve visited the park in the past 40 years. It’s cheesy spooks are often more laughable than frightening, but you might be surprised in a few spots.

There are two options if you want to ride. You can pay for an ulimited ride pass and have the ability to enjoy the rides throughout the day. Or, for those who are only looking for a thrill on the Phoenix or Twister (the two wooden coasters in the park), you can pay per ride – usually $1 to $2.25 in tickets.

Many of these rides were around when my grandmother worked at the park in her teens in the 1950s, which shows their longevity and likability.

The food is also affordable. Freshly spun cotton candy is $2.50 per bag. A doughy, sweet funnel cake is $2. Drinks are $1.50. And the burgers and fries are juicy, filling and delicious, well worth the $5 cost.

The best part of Knoebel's is its character. It's a pleasure to simply take a walk around the park, which is filled with tall pines and mature shade trees.

Groves line the perimeter of the amusement park, offering shaded pavilions for picnickers.

The Roaring Creek meanders through much of the park, where crossing to the other side requires a trip over one of several quaint pedestrian bridges. One is a covered bridge.

If you’ve never taken a trip to this nostalgic amusement park, make sure to put it on your calendar. In a day’s time, you’ll enjoy the simple joys of yesteryear.

Plus, the pickle on a stick is to die for.

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