Pennsylvania has been home to more amusement parks than any other state. Over the past 150 years, over 400 parks have operated in this state. Most of these parks either started as picnic groves or trolley parks, sometimes both. Currently, there are 13 major amusement parks located in Pennsylvania, each with it's one story to tell and guests to entertain.
Listed below are the 13 major amusement parks in PA, for a better insight to the history of the amusement industry in the world and Pennsylvania, please read Jim Futtrel's amazingly written book 'Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania', published by Stackpole Books.
Opening in 1850, this small Mechanicsburg park is actually the 2nd oldest park in operation (in U.S.) but is not considered a big enough park for the title. It houses a few dark rides, the last remaining coaster, Cyclone, built by Oscar Bitler and a a miniture golf course.
This beautiful amusement park located in Ligonier is considered the 3rd oldest amusement park in the U.S., while it opened in 1878. The park was purchased by the Kennywood Park Corporation in 1983 and was launched into a major improvement span. Mist Roger's Neighborhood is a one-of-a-kind attraction, created just for the park by Fred Rogers himself. Other rides into a ferris wheel, a PTC carousel added in 1931 and a classic PTC 'Rollo Coaster'.
More of a theme park now, this 1884 trolley park in Allentown is home to some of the most advanced rides in the industry. In 1992, Dorney was bought by Cedar Fair and is continuing to add major rides and attractions while providing the 'little ones' with plenty of activities.
This lake-based amusement park in Conneaut is truly a special place. With its sprawling Victorian hotels and boardwalk, it's easy to see why this place is so loved. Unfortunatly, however, the park is in the middle of huge debts and troubled times. Rides at the park include a Paratrooper, the world's oldest Tumble Bug ride (1925) and plenty of water for everyone.
When Lakemont opened in 1894, it was 68 acres of thousands of trees, plenty of recreation and lots of picnics. Like Conneaut, Lakemont was hit with hard times. From the 1936 flood that destroyed it's 1927 Twister coaster to the Boyertown experiment which took away over half of the park's trees, among other things. Lakemont, however, is rebuilding it's attractions. Lakemont though, is home to the world's oldest roller coaster, Leap the Dips, which opened in 1902 with a top speed of 10 M.P.H. The park is also home to the Skyliner coaster and Island Waterpark.
This Lake Erie amusement park has been entertaining visitors since 1896. With its 24+ attractions, the park houses on of the best dark rides in America, Wacky Shack, which opened in 1970.
Claimed by many to be the best traditional parks in the world, this wonderful park began as a trolley park in 1898. Home of rare classics such as Noah's Ark, the Turtle, and Auto Race, the park also features 5 major coasters and plenty of flat rides to keep you going all day. Potato Patch french fries and chicken strips are favorites from this historic park.
Although the name of this park sounds voilent, this park, which opened in 1902, is a classic small park which is aimed to children. The park is also home to 2 very rare attractions: the old-fashioned 'Barl of Fun' walkthru funhouse is features a barrel and wooden slide; and 'The Pretzel' darkride is considered the oldest operating dark ride in the country.
Opening in 1907 as a 'getaway escape' for his employees and their families, Milton Hershey's park is now the largest amusement park in this state with 60 rides in 8 different themed areas. On of the most unique items at the park is their clever measuring system using candy as catergories.
This faboulous park located in Tipton (outside Altoona), is one of the cleanest, family-priced, and friendliest park in the nation.
This is one park where you can spend under $20.00 for a full day outing. Their food is freshly made, and sauce comes directly from the factory across the street. Grandma Murf's famous potato salad and crisp funnel cake are just 2 of the yummy items offered.
Before its offical opening in 1926, Knoebel's owner, Henry Knoebel, allowed visitors to bath in a creek he damed up each spring. The park is home to over attractions from over 50 different parks. Kneobel's gained nationwide attention when 'The Rocket' was moved from Playland, San Antonio, Texas to the park and renamed 'The Phoenix'. Other classic attractions include the Brass Ring machine on the carousel, Whipper, and Skooters ride featuring vintage cars by Lusse.
Opening as an attraction for families in the heart of Lancaster, this 1962-born park is quite historic in the matter that it houses the first coasters built by Custom Coasters (Sky Princess) and Chance (Joust). Other features include the a rarely found Bontanical Garden and the haunted swing 'Dutch Wonderhouse'.
The newest park in PA, this park opened in 1981 this park is 100% aimed for children under 12. Based on the PBS show 'Sesame Street', Sesame Place does have a few rides but mostly features a water park and playgrounds. This is the only park in the U.S. where you can meet Sesame Street characters.