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Family Owned and Operated Park in Rural Pennsylvania Is Home to the #1 Wooden Roller Coaster, Best Carousel and Best Food


Family Owned and Operated Park in Rural Pennsylvania Is Home to the #1 Wooden Roller Coaster, Best Carousel and Best Food

PR Newswire

ELYSBURG, Pa., Sept. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine an amusement park that makes you feel like you've taken a step back in time. Park your car, enter the park, reserve a picnic pavilion, and watch a show… For free. Yes, this exists. It's also home to the No. 1 wooden roller coaster, the best carousel and the best park food in the world. 92-year-old Knoebels Amusement Resort ( is home to these distinctions, and a host of other "bests."

Aboard the Showboat Branson Belle, Missouri, Amusement Today announced the 2018 Golden Ticket Award winners. The awards are calculated from an international survey, sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled park fans around the world, asking them to rate the "Best of the Best" in 23 categories.

"It's encouraging to see a family-owned business make such an impact on the industry," said Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator. "Even against global competition, Knoebels was a finalist in eight categories. No other park topped that. It's indicative of the commitment and passion the people behind this park have."

For the first time, Knoebels' Phoenix was named the #1 Wooden Roller Coaster in the world. It opened in 1948 as the Rocket at Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas. When the park closed in 1980, it almost made its way to the big amusement park in the sky. Then, the eyebrow-raising idea came to disassemble, move, and reassemble the coaster in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.

"In the mid 1980s, Knoebels needed Rocket just as badly as Rocket needed a new home," said Richard Knoebel, Knoebels' President. "We looked on with excitement as Rocket began to rise as Phoenix, still not fully realizing what this coaster would mean to us and generations of guests."

Phoenix opened to the public on June 15, 1985, and has been a favorite since. The name is ever so fitting, considering the ride was reborn like the mythical bird that rose from its ashes. The coaster's appearance is unassuming, but the design by Herbert Paul Schmeck has withstood the test of time.

"Phoenix is one of two wooden coasters that have made the Top Ten for 21 years," said Baldwin. "To see it finally reach #1 is astounding. The park maintains -and loves- that coaster. It's the quintessential wooden coaster experience."

Knoebel noted that Phoenix isn't the tallest, fastest or longest coaster, but it 'has heart.'

"It brings joy to riders without fail, some of whom enjoyed the coaster as a kid, and now enjoy it with their children," said Knoebel. "Our team meticulously maintains Phoenix, which is crucial in ensuring a classic coaster can survive."

Knoebels also received the Golden Ticket for "Best Carousel." The park purchased the now 105-year-old Grand Carousel in 1941, which is the only carousel to win the award.

"The Grand Carousel is the heart of Knoebels," said Knoebels' Vice President, Leanna Knoebel Muscato. "It's steeped in tradition and has a rich history of bringing people together, whether it's by parents teaching their kids how to catch rings, by grandparents singing along to classic organ music as they bounce a toddler in a chariot, or through the incredible team who tirelessly maintains the carousel's timeless beauty."

The third 2018 Golden Ticket awarded to Knoebels was for its food. Knoebels has captured the award for best food 16 times in 19 years. According to Knoebels' Public Relations Director, Stacy Ososkie, the park has more than 30 unique food locations.

"Our team excels at balancing longtime favorites and adding new items, while ensuring affordability," said Ososkie. "Some visitors dedicate their visit to the food. This year, a group made it their goal to find menu items spanning from 'A' to 'Z.'"

In addition to the first place awards, Knoebels was a finalist in other categories: #3 Best Park; #3 Best Halloween Event; #3 Best Dark Ride for its Haunted Mansion; #4 Friendliest Park; #5 Best Indoor Roller Coaster for its Black Diamond; and, #34 and #50 in Top 50 Wooden Roller Coasters for Flying Turns and Twister, respectively.


Contact: Stacy Ososkie, Public Relations
Knoebels Amusement Resort

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