A Brief History
On July 4, 1926, Knoebels Amusement Resort opened in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. One of the few amusement parks that allows you to bring your dog, it is a particularly comfortable place with ample shade and excellent food. This great old amusement park is just one of several in Pennsylvania, and is among the many reasons to visit the state. Here we list only 10 of the many attractions, the ones that interestus the most. Perhaps some of the other museums, resorts, historical sites or parks is what interests you.
10. Laurel Caverns.
The largest cave system in Pennsylvania, the private owners offer a 3 hour guided tour that will take you 46 stories deep! It is located 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
9. Mack Trucks Historical Museum.
Located in Allentown, the boys (including adult ones) will get a charge out of the old trucks and see how they have changed over the years. Mom and the girls will like it, too, and larger groups can be scheduled for tours. The term, “Built like a Mack Truck” certainly has a basis in fact, and you can see why for yourself.
8. Philadelphia Museums.
For an educational and entertaining vacation, Philadelphia has a host of museums for adults and children. The African American Museum (self-explanatory), the Insectarium (also self-explanatory), The Mutter Museum (medical, health and biological displays, a must see), Philadelphia Museum of Art (one of the nation’s finest), and The Franklin Institute (science education and development). Our sincere apologies to all those not listed in the interest of space. You could spend many days just visiting the museums, and while you are there, get a Philly Cheesesteak.
Another Erie attraction, this great amusement park will not bankrupt Mom and Dad. Located conveniently close to the other Erie attractions, it is a great park with less of the mass production feel of some of the bigger amusement parks. The 10th oldest amusement park in the US, Waldameer also has a water park.
6. Independence National Park.
Located in historic Philadelphia, along with the Liberty Bell you can lose yourself in wonder at the wisdom and foresight of the founding fathers of the United States. A pilgrimage there should be mandatory for Americans.
Located adjacent to Pittsburgh, this park dates back to 1898 and is one of 2 US amusement parks on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite its age, Kennywood is a modern park with modern attractions, while amply shaded and somehow retaining an intimate feel similar to Knoebels and Waldameer.
4. Lake Erie.
Presque Isle State Park gives you access to the best fishing lake in the world. Enjoy all the normal forest and water activities, and maybe stop at the nearby Erie Maritime Museum or Tom Ridge (Nature) Center. There is even a Bicentennial Tower that provides a great view of the area. (See #7)
As described in the introduction, this is an older park out in the country, and is America’s largest free admission amusement park. Check out the 1913 Carousel Like the other parks listed here, it is much more quaint than the massive parks. The food in the park is rated the best of all American amusement parks.
2. Gettysburg Battlefield.
The place where as many as 51,000 Americans gave their lives for the cause they believed in, to visit the hallowed ground is humbling. This battle marked the turning point in the Civil War, and tour guides help recreate the events for you. As with many Pennsylvania locations you get a real sense of history there. The cemetery says it all.
1. Hershey Park.
Seriously. It is the center of the chocolate universe, how much more do you need to know? Rides, entertainment, aquatics, and shows, and did we mention chocolate? Open since 1906, the park has kept up with the times and is a premier resort. Do not forget the Chocolate Center!
Question for students (and subscribers): Feel free to tell us which attractions you would put on the list in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Lake, Matt, Mark Moran, et al. Weird Pennsylvania: Your Travel Guide to Pennsylvania’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets (Volume 10). Sterling, 2009.