Last Updated on January 23, 2021 by Jeremy
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As far as day trips from Pittsburgh are concerned, perhaps the most popular of all is visiting our regional theme park: Kennywood!
When the folks at Kennywood invited us out for a visit during the 2016 season, we jumped on the opportunity. I am a roller coaster enthusiast who loves the most extreme experiences imaginable and Angie, well, she agreed to join me with the promise of potato patch fries- something she has been craving since her last visit several years prior. So on a gorgeous July day we made the trip out of the city to take in as many flips, dips, spins, and fries as possible.
But why should you make the trip out to this park? We share our favorite reasons below.
A Great Mix of Attractions for All Interests
One of the things we love about Kennywood is that there is a great split of attractions that is sure to make any theme park visitor happy.
Those who love thrill rides can check out the selection of roller coasters which includes Sky Rocket (a launching coaster with several inversions), The Phantom's Revenge (a traditional steel coaster), The Exterminator (an indoor wild mouse style coaster), and historic wooden coasters including the Racer, Thunderbolt, and Jack Rabbit- the latter of which has been opened since 1920!
Adrenaline junkies have even more options with a wide array of swinging rides, including the Aero 360, our personal favorite. In this one you complete full, 360-degree spins on the iconic Kennywood Arrow which nearly stops when upside down! It may not seem like much from the ground, but this one is sure to get your heart pumping. (But don't worry about us, we had our potato patch fries after riding this one.)
The park is also home to many family friendly attractions including the dark rides of Garfield's Nightmare, Ghostwood Estate, the fully remodeled Noah's Ark attraction, and a rather large children's section- making Kennywood perfect for visitors of all ages and interests.
Visit Kennywood in the Morning to Beat the Crowds
As with most theme parks, it is often best to visit first thing in the morning before the crowds descend upon the park for the day.
We arrived to Kennywood about 30 minutes after opening on a busy (and beautiful) Saturday and were met with a near empty parking lot and roller coasters going out with just one or two riders on them. We managed to enjoy this relative calm at the park for well over an hour and walked on some of the most popular attractions like the Sky Rocket and The Phantom's Revenge almost immediately. By noon the park had picked up steam and the crowds were in for the day.
It is worth noting that since Kennywood is a smaller theme park, the term crowd is relative here because the lines move relatively fast for its size. Even when it felt like the park was reaching its peak capacity we were still able to walk on many rides within one or two cycles- something I certainly cannot say happens at larger parks around the country.
When it comes down to it I'll take shorter waits over more attractions any day of the week, and Kennywood strikes a balance that is truly hard to come by at theme parks these days.
We'd like to thank Kennywood for inviting us out to enjoy the park. As always, all opinions are our own.
Kennywood is located in West Mifflin, PA, approximately 30 minutes away from downtown Pittsburgh.
For more Kennywood attractions, why not visit during Halloween for the Kennywood Phantom Fright Nights or in Christmas for the Kennywood Holiday Lights? After, head over to Brew Gentlemen in Braddock for a delicious beer!
For frequently asked questions about Kennywood, check out the following!
Is Kennywood worth visiting?
Kennywood is the most popular of the amusement parks in Pittsburgh as it has a number of rides for guests of all ages.
Is Kennywood popular for thrill-seekers?
Kennywood has several rollercoasters including the historic (Jackrabbit, built in 1920) to the extreme (Steel Curtain, built in 2019). While the park doesn't have as many roller coasters as other parks in the country, it has enough to entice all thrill-seekers.
What should you not miss at Kennywood?
Potato Patch fries are one of the most popular food items at Kennywood!
How long do most guests spend at Kennywood?
Depending on the crowds and your ride interests, you could spend a half-day to a full-day at Kennywood.
Does Kennywood charge for parking?
Kennywood has a preferred parking lot (paid) as well as free parking. Most guests will find that the free lot is quite close and an easy walk.