You have amusement parks, and then you have Knoebel’s Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. What is Knoebel’s Amusement Park? It has roller coasters. It has water rides. It also has a pool and waterslides. It is a family amusement with a difference. What is different about this amusement park? The difference is that this park has free admission. Yes, you have read correctly. Parking is free and admission to the park is free. The only thing you pay for is to ride the individual rides and food. (Multi-ride passes are available.) This makes it for those who just like to watch can come and do that. Knoebel’s Amusement Park is a great amusement park that everyone can enjoy.
Some of you are saying, “Wow! This is wonderful. An amusement park with free admission and free parking. It has roller coasters, water rides, shows, exhibits and all the stuff amusement parks have. There is one problem. There are no railroads here. Without trains, I must say that I will find that Knoebel’s Amusement Park is not amusing at all.”
So, you are not amused with Knoebel’s Amusement Park simply because there are no trains in the park. Those who say that there are no trains in the park have not visited Knoebel’s Amusement Park.
As you enter the park and walk past the big roller coaster on the right, you will come upon the Pioneer. What is the Pioneer? It is a miniature train with a replica steam locomotive. Well, steam do not rise from the stacks, but the locomotives do pull trains. You board the train, and it pulls away from the station. You cross one creek. Then you pass under a waterslide and then a wooden roller coaster. You enter the first tunnel. Then you are in the forest. You enter the second tunnel. You cross the creek, and you are back at the station. You then walk over to get your picture taken with one of the original Pioneer locomotives that serves one purpose: to have your picture taken with the Pioneer locomotive.
Some of you are saying, “Wow! That sounds like fun. That is a lot to visit this place just to see this one train.”
That would be a lot, but you time would not be wasted because the Pioneer is not the only train here.
Welcome to Ole Smokey. What it Ole Smokey? It is another miniature train like the Pioneer, but unlike the Pioneer, the locomotive has real steam coming out of its stack. Hence the name ‘Ole Smokey’. You board at the station. The train leaves the station, and you cross over the creek on a truss bridge. Then you cross another creek on another truss bridge. You cross a third truss bridge, and then you cross the same truss bridge you cross as you left the station. You have now returned to the station, but the train keeps going. You continue, and you go around a loop before you return to the station. As you leave the train, you come to the reality that this ride was really smoking.
Some of you are saying, “That is such a cool ride. Two great trains in one great park.”
But there is more.
Knoebel’s Amusement Resort Park is home to an anthracite mining museum. What is normally associated with mining? With most coal mines come coal trains, and although you do not ride on a coal train at the museum, there are a few mine cars on display to include a steam locomotive that was used to pull mine cars, and the museum displays how the mine cars and the railroad played a major role in the mining industry. It is also where you will find the Knoebel’s History Museum where you can see how this amazing attraction came to life.
Some of you are saying, “Amazing! I guess I need to make plans to visit this place.”
Another railroad feature you will see in this park has is an old railroad bridge that crosses on of the creeks. You cannot cross the bridge itself, but it can easily be viewed from nearby.
Knoebel’s Amusement Resort Park was built on what was originally ‘Peggy’s Farm’. The park was open in 1926 with a swimming pool, a merry-go-round and food stands. Through the years, the park added many attractions. In 1940, the Nickel Plate, now ‘Ole Smokey’, was the first train to run in the park. The Pioneer train begins its run in 1960. The park continued to add new rides and attractions to include the Nickel Plate Bar and Grill for the parks 90th anniversary.
Today, Knoebel’s Amusement Resort Park is the largest amusement park in the United States of America with free admission. It features the amusement park plus a campground and cottages for overnight stays.
Knoebel’s Amusement Resort Park is located outside of the town of Elysburg, Pennsylvania off Pennsylvania Route 487. Although the amusement park is only open from April to October, the cottages are available year-round. You can get information on the rides, park hours for the day, directions and read more into the history of the park at https://www.knoebels.com/.
Welcome to Knoebel’s Amusement Resort Park, a place where you can ‘pioneer’ your fun with ‘Ole Smokey’.