Knoebels is well known for both the variety and quality of our food. We've won the Golden Ticket from Amusement Today magazine for â€Best Park Foodâ€ 7 years in a row!
Listed here are the menus of some of our â€sit-downâ€ dining centers but this is only the tip of the iceberg. In additon to the listings here, Knoebels features a wide range of snack and dining opportunities ranging from the award winning Cesari's Pizza , to hand dipped Ice cream at the Old Mill, ice cream in a fresh made waffle to our own caramel corn. Many guests spend the day tasting their way around the park!
Family Reunions and Group Outings
Hi everybody! Looking to plan a PA family reunion or group outing? Well look no further! Just download the PDF of our catering book on this page and you'll have all the tools needed to get your group fed and ready to enjoy the rides at Knoebels in Elysburg, PA. It will be a family reunion you won't soon forget!
Download the Catering Book here and see what we can do for your family reunion!
During your special day at Knoebels we want you to relax and enjoy all of our Fun, Food & Fantasy. Our expert picnic planners can guide you through a family reunion or outing you can be proud of. We'll find the perfect combination of menu and ride packages, to fit your budget. Every picnic at Knoebels is custom designed to best suit your particular family reunion or group needs.
At Knoebels your family reunion or group be served some of our award-winning food - we've won the Golden Ticket Award for Best Park Food 7 years in a row from the readers of Amusement Today.
What better place for a FAMILY reunion? Knoebels has been voted Best Park for Families 5 years in a row by members of the National Amusement Park Historical Association.
You'll love our great selection of over 50 rides . Whether you're 6 or 76 there's plenty for you to do... Kiddie Rides, Family Rides, and Thrilling Rides including two World Class Wooden Roller Coasters. Bring your next family reunion or group outing to Knoebels in Elysburg, PA!
On March 7, 1775, John Penn, Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania, signed a deed in Philadelphia transferring 292 1/4 acres of land to John Salter for the sum of 14 pounds, 12 shillings, and 3 pence farthings. That land, known as "Peggy's Farm," was much of what now comprises Knoebels Groves.
The land passed from owner to owner until 1828 when the Reverend Henry Hartman Knoebel bought the land for $931. Before, and since that time, portions of "Peggy's Farm" were sold off and other parcels added.
The Reverend Knoebel had a grandson who bore his name. It was this younger Knoebel who first envisioned the land's recreational potential. Henry, better known as H.H. or "Ole Hen," farmed the land and pursued a lumbering business by operating saw mills at several different locations on the property.
At some time during the turn of the century, the Knoebel farm began to be visited by "tally-hos." A tally-ho was a Sunday afternoon hayride with a destination. On those tally-hos destined for the Knoebel farm participants would sit along the creek banks, picnic in the woods, and some of the more daring would even jump from the covered bridge to the swimming hole below.
Henry welcomed these groups and was even able to profit from their visits. He charged 25Â¢ to water, feed, and brush the horses that pulled the wagons. Picnic tables and benches were added and a life guard was hired to protect the swimmers. Eventually the sale of ice cream, popcorn, peanuts, and soft drinks was added to Henry's new enterprise. It is from these humble beginnings that Knoebels Amusement Resort arose.
This is the year that marks the formal beginning of what is now Knoebels Amusement Resort. Swimming had drawn the tally-hos and it was swimming that would continue to be the backbone of Knoebels. Construction of a giant pool began on November 1, 1925. A steam shovel together with horses and dredges began the massive chore of removing thousands of cubic feet of dirt and mud. Concrete was made on the spot and mixed by gasoline powered cement mixers. Little remains of the original pours, as the pool has since been made wider and deeper, but the location remains the same.
The pool was opened on July 4, 1926. The water still came from the same sparkling streams but now it was filtered. Instead of jumping from the covered bridge, daredevils leaped from the high dives at the north end of the pool and muddy banks and rocky bottoms were replaced by a "concrete hole." As with any change, some preferred the creek to the pool but in the end the pool proved to be enormously popular.
In addition to the pool, 1926 marked the arrival of the first ride at Knoebels. A steam powered carousel was operated as a concession by a Philadelphia man named Joe Gallagher. This Philadelphia Toboggan Company carved machine operated under a canvas roof on the same site as the current Grand Carousel.
That first year's line-up also included a couple of simple games and Knoebels first restaurant. The restaurant was located at the site of the current Alamo.
As noted earlier, Mr. Joe Gallagher brought his Merry-Go-Round to Knoebels Groves in 1926. At some time during its stay the merry-go-round was purchased by H. H. Knoebel and a permanent building was constructed to house the machine. That first carousel operated through the summer of 1941. In that year Henry purchased a four abreast machine from Riverside Park in Rahway, N.J. This machine is the current Grand Carousel which has operated at Knoebels since 1942.
The Grand Carousel was built in 1913 by George Kremer, who bought the carved wooden horses for his platform from wood carver Charles Carmel. It contains 63 horses and three chariots and weighs approximately 27 tons. Musical accompaniment is provided by two organs. The larger was manufactured in 1888 by Fratti and Company, Berlin. In the 1920's it was converted from a barrel organ to Artisan rolls. The smaller organ was built around 1900 by Gebruder Brothers, another German firm, and still uses the original style of folding cardboard music.
The two-abreast carousel in Kiddieland was carved by the firm of Stein and Goldstein. From their shop in Brooklyn, these two men carved carousel figures from 1912 to 1918. This merry-go-round was once owned by Lawrence Knoebel, one of Henry's sons. Lawrence took the machine to fairs and carnivals during the 1940's. It was sold in the early 1950's and changed owners several times. It was repurchased by Knoebels in 1975, and completely restored and returned to the park in 1976 for Knoebels' 50th year of operation.
The organ playing at this ride was originally made by the Bruder Firm of Waldkirch, Germany. It came to Knoebels with the original carousel in 1926. It was converted to play American-made pinned cylinders by the Wurlitzer Company. In storage for 50 years, it fell victim to vandals, theives, and countless squirrels and rodents.
After years of watching for band organ parts, serious rebuilding began in 1983. On March 7, 1986 the organ played again for the first time in 50 years.
On a beautiful summer's day, the sounds of Roaring Creek and Mugser's Run rippling through the park add a beautiful, natural touch to the hustle and bustle of the park. But on Thursday, June 22, 1972 these streams took on a more threatening character. Rains from the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes drove the creeks beyond their banks.
Water spilled onto 24 of the park's 25 rides. 200 electric motors were submerged in muddy flood waters. Six cottages were destroyed, another dozen were no longer usable from the water damage. Nearly everything at the park was covered with mud. Six feet of it covered the bottom of the Crystal Pool. At the roller rink the hardwood floor, waterlogged by the flood, buckled.
Through the efforts of park employees and many friends and neighbors who volunteered their help the park opened nine days later with 11 of the park's rides operating. Although many people volunteered their time, no one went unpaid.
The cleanup statistics: 11,000 manhours; 3,600 tons of fill recovered and redistributed; and 210 truckloads of debris removed. All of this was accomplished without government loans or grants. Although Knoebels qualified for government assistance, the decision was made to rebuild without it.
While the basic recovery from the flood was quick and exciting, there was still much to be done. In response to the tragedy, the decision was made to come back stronger than ever in 1973. Something spectacular was needed. The Knoebels staff put their heads together and designed and built the Haunted Mansion. The ride opened in 1973 to rave reviews and has since been named in several publications as one of the best dark rides anywhere.
Knoebels also suffered floods of smaller impact in 1975, 1996, and 2004. Each caused substantial damage but at least the 1975 and 1996 floods occurred during the off season. The January 1996 flood cause substantial damage but the worst part may have been that as soon as the waters receeded, everything froze making cleanup and repair even more difficult. The September 2004 flood was only a half day affair and Knoebels staff had the park operational by mid-afternoon but by then picnics had been called off and the day was lost.
On June 28, 2006 a flood second only to the Agnes flood struck Knoebels. About 90 percent of the park was under water just prior to the July 4th weekend. As the waters began to recede Wednesday morning, Knoebels staff jumped into action. Expending over 11,000 man hours in just a few days the park was able to reopen over 60 percent of its attractions by 6:00 pm Friday. By Sunday evening over 90 percent of the park was operational. The Crystal Pool took 10 days to get back in business. Over 100 tons of mud had to be dug out of the pool. The last ride to return to operation was the Kiddie Panther Cars. The entire track for this ride had been undermined and was a twisted mess. Repairs took almost three weeks.
The addition of the Phoenix Roller Coaster marked the culmination of many years of hard work by the Knoebel family and their staff. The addition of a large wooden coaster was the most eagerly anticipated and largest project ever attempted at that time.
The Phoenix was originally built as the Rocket at Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas in 1947. At its opening it was hailed as "the largest roller coaster in the world." The first hill measured 78 feet and there was some 3200 feet of track.
Playland Park closed in 1980 and in 1985 Knoebels undertook the huge project of dismantling the ride and moving it to Pennsylvania. Knoebels' staff began taking the ride apart late in January 1985. The dismantling proceeded smoothly through February and March.
Just three months later, on June 12th, the Phoenix's orange train made the first successful trip around the reborn coaster. It opened to the public on June 15th to rave reviews and has been consistently ranked as a top 10 coaster ever since.
In 2001 Knoebels celebrated its 75th anniversary. While the celbration lasted the entire season, the highlight was a series of special ceremonies held on July 4th of that year. A history book, "Knoebels, An Amusement Park With A Heart" by Harry J. Deitz, was also published that year.
Kozmo's Play Pool was added to the Crystal Pool complex in 2003 when Knoebels determined that the addition of an interactive kiddie play area would make the pool a more attractive destination to families with small children.
Rides continued to be added on an annual basis leading to Knoebels' next major project, the Flying Turns. After years of research, Knoebels began construction of the Flying Turns in the spring of 2006. Again, the recreation of this classic ride is a complete Knoebels' project. Working with a John Fetterman design, Knoebels again brought Leonard Adams on board and hired local carpenters and craftsmen. The flood of June 2006 backed the project up but it is expected to open in 2007. The Flying Turns is a ride of largely wooden construction first built in Dayton, Ohio in 1929 by a company formed by visionary Norman Bartlett and legendary coaster builder John Miller. There were 7 Flying Turns rides built by Bartlett and either Miller or Philadelphia Toboggan Company between 1929 and 1939.
The appeal of this style ride is that the â€trackâ€ is less restrictive than a regular roller coaster in that the train rides in a trough with no further guide than the curved walls surrounding it. The cars are allowed to freewheel to wherever in the trough centrifugal force guides them. The effect is not unlike that of a Bobsled ride. It is also similar to the sort of daredevil barnstorming carried on by aviation pioneers.
People camped at Knoebels long before there was a formal campground. There were campers in the groves as early as the 1920s. The establishment of nine sites in 1963 marked the formal beginning of the campground. Approximately two years later 25 sites were added and the first designated campground restroom was constructed.
Over the years more and more visitors to the park wanted to extend their visits and it became necessary to add to the campground. Today the main campground features over 550 sites and 36 log cabins.
After the January 1996 flood, Knoebels purchased and the restored the Lake Glory campground about five miles from the park. Today this facility features over 150 sites and a dozen log cabins. Shuttle service to and from the park is provided.