West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, USA
“Amusement park with a classic, unique atmosphere”
Never have I ever… witnessed a solar eclipse while being in an amusement park. This was true until 21 August 2017, the day I visited Kennywood. Millions of Americans were watching the Moon slide right in between the Earth and the Sun, but I had other priorities: riding roller coasters. Kennywood can be found in West Mifflin, a town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A visit to this park can easily be combined with trips to Cedar Point and/or Hersheypark, as they both lie within a reasonable driving distance. Kennywood can’t be missed if you have a thing for old-school amusement parks. The park has been there for more than a century and it features some classic rides and coasters.
Have you ever heard of The Phantom’s Revenge? No? Well, that’s a shame because this is one of the most surprising roller coasters in the United States. Phantom’s Revenge used to be an Arrow Dynamics multi looper, but Morgan transformed it into a hyper coaster in 2001. Strange but true: the ride’s second drop is more famous than its first drop. That’s because Phantom’s second drop dives deep into a ravine and the top speed of 137 km/h is reached at the bottom of this drop. Besides, the coaster offers some of the craziest airtime you’ll ever experience. Just one ride on Phantom’s Revenge is worth the trip to Pennsylvania. Not kidding.
Phantom’s Revenge is the park’s signature coaster, but there’s more. Kennywood offers three great wooden coasters of respectable age: Jack Rabbit (opened in 1920), Thunderbolt (opened in 1924) and the Möbius coaster Racer (opened in 1927). The latter is super fun thanks to its dueling aspect and Jack Rabbit amazed me with its surprising amount of airtime. Thunderbolt seems to be even more amazing due to its drop into the valley, but unfortunately it was closed during our trip. It’s noteworthy that these wooden coasters run pretty smoothly, despite their age.
Kennywood’s coaster lineup is completed by an indoor spinning coaster, a kiddie coaster and a modern launched coaster called Sky Rocket. It was manufactured by Premier Rides and it provides an enjoyable ride full of snappy turns and intense inversions. It seems a bit of a misfit for this old-fashioned American amusement park, but it’s an excellent thrill coaster nevertheless.
Classic theme parks need classic attractions. Kennywood offers an incredible fun house, a ghost train, a Bayern Kurve, a shoot-the-chute and much more. My two favourite non-coaster rides are The Whip (a surprisingly fun flat ride) and Garfield’s Nightmare. This dark ride can be found near the park’s main entrance and it looks very tacky. The boats are worn and the actual ride is rather claustrophobic. The Garfield theme was only added in 2004, but the hardware of this attraction has existed since the 1920’s. That’s pretty unique, isn’t it?
WORTH A VISIT?
Never have I ever… visited an American amusement park with such an authentic atmosphere. Kennywood manages to combine the feeling of a classic seaside amusement park and the charm of a Scandinavian city theme park. You won’t find any earth-shattering rides or world-class thrills here, but don’t underestimate the value of this park. Those old wooden coasters are extremely fun to ride, there’s a good amount of flat rides and Phantom’s Revenge delivers pure awesomeness. Besides, the park greatly benefits from its location, food was delicious and staff members were friendly. So please consider an afternoon at Kennywood if you ever find yourself in Pittsburgh. You won’t regret it.
Photo Gallery 2017
Have you experienced the original version of Phantom’s Revenge? What’s your favourite wooden coaster at Kennywood? Do you enjoy old-fashioned amusement parks or do you prefer modern attractions? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.