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 is America’s largest free admission, free parking amusement park and features top-rated roller coasters, more than 50 rides and attractions, and a delicious variety of foods.
In September 2017, Knoebels was awarded several “Golden Ticket” awards from Amusement Today and was recognized as one of the top amusement parks in America. Knoebels received honors for having the top Grand Carousel in the world. The “Phoenix” retained the #2 spot in the “Best Wooden Coaster” category. USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice has ranked the park as one of the top destinations in Pennsylvania.
The park was also recently named the “Favorite Traditional Amusement Park” in the country and the “Best Park for Families” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association’s (NAPHA) annual Amusement Park and Attractions Survey. Roller coaster enthusiasts love the iconic wooden coasters as well as the park’s newest thrill ride – The Impulse. “Flying Turns” is another must-do ride, as it is the world’s only wooden bobsled roller coaster. Go freewheeling around hairpin turns and feel the wind whipping though your hair!
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 2017, Knoebels will be open during the Covered Bridge & Arts Festival (October 5-8) and also October 13–15, 20–22, and 27–29 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.
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 Life is an outdoor, animatronic dinosaur adventure, and Parakeet 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.
Enjoy a day of horseback riding at Brace’s Stables in the beautiful northern stretches of Columbia County. Visitors can choose from the “Creek Ride”, “Mountain Ride”, or “Falls Ride”. The Creek Ride is a beautiful four-mile ride lasting over an hour to Fishing Creek and back, shaded by trees on the trail. The Mountain Ride is their most popular ride. Take this hour and a half trail ride through the mountain, with some of the most scenic views available in the area. The final option, the Falls Ride encompasses an exciting six-mile ride to nearby Sullivan Falls. This popular 2-hour scenic ride is only available once a day at 9:00am. Four or more people are required.
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, history and the arts.
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.