Monday, July 15, 2013

The K Is Not Silent




The danger in visiting your childhood is that you can very easily get lost. Things change over time which can leave you confused when memory isn’t in sync with your present reality. Fortunately, my recollections were not met with such challenges this past weekend when I returned to Knoebels for the first time in about 15 years.

Early Friday afternoon my wife and I packed the car, stopped by the front desk (more on that in a later post), and started off on our 3 hour tour. After stopping by the Holiday Inn Express in Selinsgrove (highly recommended by the way) to check in and unload the car, we punched in the directions in the GPS and made our way to the tourism oasis in Elysburg. It didn’t take long before we pulled into the parking lot (free parking) and strolled through the main entrance (free admission) and headed straight to the ticket booth.


While the insistent drizzle kept some away that evening, I didn’t let it stop me from walking throughout the park recalling my skinnier care free teenage days. Whereas this trip was a completely new experience for my wife, this was a two day tournament of match game for me where I was doing my best to flip the memory cards and match them with reality. The Phoenix roller coaster and Gasoline Alley were my initial attempts. The experience on both rides was also how I remembered them.


Being that the park is heavily wooded, it didn’t take much to stay out of the rain. However, there were other ways people were getting wet and some of them didn’t even ride a log.


Mostly our initial evening at the park was a time to walk around and explore what was either new or nearly forgotten. We walked past the children’s stage…


…over the canal numerous times…


…and over to the haunted house were we couldn’t resist the old school cheesiness.


As it approached closing time we turned in the direction of the parking lot, passed the Ferris wheel, and headed to the hotel.


Day two was one of observation and finding new ways to look at the park. By spending some relaxation time together on the Ski Lift and the train, we were able to capture many images unseen from the usual pedestrian pathways.


In comparison to the picture of the Phoenix above, here is the view from the ski lift…


However, this is best demonstrated by sharing the perspectives we saw throughout the trip of the Twister roller coasters. First, from out front you can see into some of the tracks as you walk up to the line.


As we approached the roller coaster on the train you get a much better appreciation of the wooden construction and supports.


And as you pass through the roller coaster, you can feel free to wave to the riders (although I’m pretty sure they’re not going to wave back).


While on the ski lift you get a completely different view from above…


…much like the view an eagle would have (which we saw in the park later that day).


Of course, you get a complete view of the park from the ski lift, more so than the train, which allows you to see everything…


…including the classic pendulum pirate ship…


…the swings…


…and, from the train, you can get a peek at the water park in the middle of all the amusements.


Once we finished riding the train and the ski lift twice (it was a nice respite in the middle of the day) we explored another part of the park where wood and metal artists were creating unique (and very affordable) souvenirs. The first store or booth, whatever you would like to call it, was full of interesting signs, planters, and other items created with a chainsaw.


Across the walkway, the fire drew us in…


…and the rhythm of metal hitting metal was surprisingly pleasant on the ears.


Whether a fire poker is being hammered out or a horseshoe is being stamped with your name…


…it is something that adds to the personal and individuality of this rural island of entertainment.

With our time coming to an end and a long drive ahead of us, we dodged between the multitudes of families making their way to the balloons…


…passed the Iwo Jima memorial replica…


…got in the car, and headed home.

It is an amazing place to visit and allows for the transportation to a different world with just a few hours in the car. The prices can’t be beat (you can even find nice items in the gift shops for 50% off), the location provided for both amusements and natural beauty, the park is kept very clean (to the point that someone in the maintenance staff or management must have OCD), and all the rides are fat man friendly (when the lap bar starts clicking as soon as you start pulling it down you know it can accommodate the fluffy crowd). I don’t know when we will be back but we will definitely be returning in the future and I look forward to nothing changing.