Nostalgia is heavy in the air at Knoebels Amusement Resort, where the old-fashioned rides and secluded woodland setting evokes sweet memories of childhood. Knoebels Amusement Resort is America’s largest free-admission amusement park and offers free parking, entertainment and picnic facilities. While at the park, enjoy over 60 rides, award winning food, swimming at Crystal Pool, challenging games, gift shops, and Knoebels Three Ponds Golf Club, then stay overnight at one of two campgrounds. For more information, visit the park’s website.
In 2019, Knoebels was awarded several “Golden Ticket” awards from Amusement Today and was recognized as one of the top amusement parks in America. For the second consecutive year, Knoebels’ Phoenix was named the #1 wooden roller coaster in the world. Phoenix is one of only two wooden coasters that have made the top ten each year for 22 years.
Phoenix originally opened in 1948 as the Rocket at Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas. At that time, it was touted as the largest wooden coaster in the world. When the park closed in 1980, it was in danger of never thrilling guests again. Knoebels was hoping to add a wooden roller coaster, so the idea came to disassemble, move, and reassemble the coaster in the Pennsylvania park. This raised some eyebrows, but it happened. Phoenix opened to the public in June of 1985 and has been a favorite since.
While this year was only the second year Phoenix captured the #1 spot, there’s a 2019 award Knoebels has secured 17 times in 20 years: Best food. According to Knoebels’ Public Relations Director, Stacy Ososkie, guests often mention appreciation for the variety and affordability of Knoebels food. “We have more than 30 food locations for guests to choose from, and our food managers are always providing new reasons to come back,” said Ososkie. “Some visitors make special trips to the park just to enjoy the food.”
An award category in which Knoebels has always made a strong showing was recognized with a Golden Ticket “legend” award. The 105-year-old Grand Carousel, purchased by the park in 1941, has gone undefeated in the now-retired category of “best carousel.”
In addition to first place awards, Knoebels was a finalist in other categories:
- #3 Best Halloween Event
- #5 Best Dark Ride for its Haunted Mansion
- #33 and #45 in Top 50 Wooden Roller Coasters for Flying Turns and Twister, respectively
USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice has also ranked the park as one of the top destinations in Pennsylvania. Knoebels also offers swimming, camping, and an 18-hole golf course. The park is located directly off Route 487 in Elysburg.
Every year when the crisp fall winds begin to blow and Halloween approaches, Knoebels transforms into a spooktacular place for ghosts and ghouls of all ages. For the fall of 2020, Knoebels will be open during the Covered Bridge & Arts Festival (October 8-11) and other weekends in the fall for their annual Hallo-Fun Weekends.
Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania. Once slated to become a National Park, this large State Park is comprised of 13,050 acres in Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia counties.
Ricketts Glen harbors the Glens Natural Area — a National Natural Landmark. Hike the Falls Trail System to explore the glens, which boasts a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The full Falls Loop trail is 7.2 miles of moderate to intensive hiking and takes trail-goers past 21 stunning waterfalls. Adams Falls is the other named waterfall in the park, and can be found directly off PA Rt. 118.
The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of the 22 named waterfalls in the park. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the beauty of this natural paradise. The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Please contact the park office for seasonal information and specific hours of park operation. Proper footwear and advance preparation is required before planning to hike the Falls Trail System.
Top 10 Things to Do at Ricketts Glen State Park
Hike the Falls Trail System. Wear proper footwear. Sandals are prohibited.
Cool off on a hot summer day with a swim at the beach on Lake Jean and grab an ice cream at the concession stand.
Spend a winter weekend in one of the modern cabins.
Camp overnight in the campground. Scouts and other groups can try the rustic Organized Group Tent Campground.
Explore the waters of Lake Jean via boat. Boat rentals are available during the summer.
Enjoy fishing on Lake Jean through all seasons. Ice fishing is popular from November through March.
Have a picnic by Lake Jean.
Visit the park in winter to snowmobile, cross-country ski, and snowshoe.
Enjoy 10,144 acres of hunting within the state park and additional acres in the surrounding state game lands.
Enjoy the view from the Grand View Trail, especially in mid-June when the mountain laurel blooms.
Contrary to its name, Bill’s Old Bike Barn is not simply a motorcycle-lovers haven – it is an experience for everyone young and old. Experience an overwhelming array of antiques from around the world. Enjoy pristine collections of motorcycles and bike memorabilia, military displays, rare posters and signs, special collections, and MANY more items spanning a jaw-dropping 50,000+ square feet of world antique history and bike memorabilia. Visitors could easily spend an entire afternoon in Bill’s Old Bike Barn and still have plenty yet to see.
Tour a real coal mine and take a ride on an old-fashioned steam locomotive! Pioneer Tunnel is a horizontal drift mine that runs 1800 feet straight into the side of the Mahanoy Mountain in Ashland, PA. It is located just over the border of southern Columbia County, in Schuylkill County.
The mine, which ceased operation in 1931, was reopened in 1963 as a place where visitors could experience the history of a real anthracite coal mine. The Tunnel affords visitors an entertaining and educational opportunity to learn about the history of anthracite mining in the area. Visitors ride into the Tunnel on mine cars rebuilt to carry passengers; the motive power is provided by an electric mine motor. Deep inside the Tunnel, guests follow guides as they give an explanation of deep-mining methods. Guides are experienced miners; they will point out the numerous coal seams and describe various configurations of passageways, some cut from solid rock.
The temperature inside the mine averages 52 degrees, so a sweater or jacket is recommended. The tour lasts about 35 minutes. It is handicap accessible and is appropriate for people of all ages. No pets are allowed inside the mine.
The other featured attraction at the Pioneer Tunnel is a narrow gauge steam train ride on the Lokie Henry Clay. Henry Clay is a 30-ton steam saddle tank engine, used years ago to haul coal cars. Now, it pulls passenger cars along the side of Mahanoy Mountain.
The Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine souvenir and gift shop offers a unique variety of gifts, jewelry, clothing and collectibles. Many of the souvenirs are handcrafted by local artisans. Unusual items featured are beautiful coal and gem trees along with miniature pewter animals, figurines and trains which are mounted on pieces of coal, amethyst, pyrite, and agate. There are also many unique pieces which feature mining scenes and trains which are mounted on “fool’s gold,” amethyst and geodes.
The Rolling Hills at Red Deer Farm raises over 400 red deer on their farm, which is located south of Bloomsburg between Catawissa and Elysburg. During the summer months and early fall, hayride tours guide visitors through over two hundred acres of rolling landscape to hand-feed the deer and snap pictures. A trip to the Red Deer Farm is always hands on and educational for both adults and children!
Pellets are sold in 1 lb buckets for $1 in the gift shop and apple wedges are free depending on the season. The deer are eager to be fed by hand and to eat the leftovers on the ledge of the wagon. Tours take place starting in May each year. From the beginning of May until the 3rd week in June, the farm is open for tours from 10 AM – 5 PM (or by appointment) on Saturdays only (last tour leaves at 4 PM). Starting the 3rd week in June until the end of August, the farm is open Monday – Saturday from 10 AM – 5 PM (or by appointment). The farm is still open in September and October on Fridays and Saturdays only by appointment. The Farm also has a gift shop that sells t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, antler keychains, handcrafted knives, antler chandeliers, and more.
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland is a world-class specialized zoo offering an educational adventure for the whole family.
Exotic reptiles and amphibians from around the world await discovery. Visitors will be introduced to the “less-loved” members of the animal kingdom. Explore the world of mambas, cobras, vipers, pythons and other rare and beautiful snakes, and experience giant alligators, gentle tortoises, curious lizards, colorful frogs, and much more on this zoological journey.
The indoor exhibit gallery at Reptiland houses more than 40 species in specially created natural habitats, perfect for a year-round experience. During the warmer months, tortoises and aquatic turtles live in outdoor habitats, and seasonal exhibits make for an even more exciting family destination.Dinosaurs Come to Lifeis an outdoor, animatronic dinosaur adventure, andParakeet Landing offers an immersive experience surrounded by hundreds of colorful birds.
The average Reptiland visit takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours, but there is no limit to the length of a visit. Exhibits are self-guided, and it’s generally best to arrive just before a show.
The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum began as a spark of imagination in 1985. Thirty-five years later, the Museum is welcoming over 25,000 visitors a year and is still bringing out the imagination of every child and the child in every visitor!
Little ones are invited to use their imagination and make new discoveries through hands-on learning at The Children’s Museum. The Children’s Museum hosts a variety of camps, clubs and classes for all ages at its Seventh Street location in Bloomsburg. It also showcases over 50 hands-on exhibits, games and activities for visitors to explore science, art, history and culture.
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00AM – 4:00PM
Admission: $6.50 per person, children under 12 months of age are free
*Groups of 10 or more are $5.50 per person; please call to schedule a time for your visit*
Let your worries fade away at the Art of Floating in Bloomsburg. With five individual tanks, the Art of Floating provides a complete period of relaxation without sensory distractions. With close to 1,000 pounds of epsom salt mixed into 10 inches of water, your body floats effortlessly and relaxes completely. The tanks are a unique environment, completely dark and away from phones, computers, the media, and everyday noise.