A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to venture up to Pennsylvania to check out a few amusement parks. One stop we made was at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg – a place that has been around for 90 years and doesn’t charge admission. Instead, you buy ride tickets or a ride pass that can be used for the day. Helpful for those who want to go and enjoy the park but don’t want to do the rides or check out their famous wooden roller coasters.
But us, we came for the rides!
The one we’re going to talk about in this post is one of the park’s two wooden roller coasters, the Phoenix. Interestingly enough, the Phoenix wasn’t original to Knoebles. It was built in 1947 for Playland Park in San Antonio Texas by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and went by the name The Rocket.
When Playland closed in 1980, The Rocket was purchased by Knoebles and painstakingly taken apart and reassembled – without blueprints! It’s said that the purchase and relocation cost $1.5 million.
The Phoenix rose again in 1985 and is considered to be one of the best wooden rollercoasters in the world. With such a history, we had to take her for a spin. For those who have never rode a wooden coaster, they offer up a much different ride experience than today’s modern steel coasters. You feel the bumps, you feel the track, you feel everything! But after all, that’s what makes these coasters so special.
You start off going up the rides 78-foot lift hill and then it’s off to the races as the train speeds down a 72-foot drop beginning the two-minute journey along the 3200 feet of track. Let’s just say the Phoenix is fast! At 45mph she provided riders with plenty of air time as the hills and valleys lift you off your seat giving you that rush that makes you want to stand in line and go again – which we did!
There’s something about these old coasters like the Phoenix. I guess it’s the fact that you get taken back to a time where rides were simple. No theming, no blaring music in the ride car, no over the head restraints to lock you in. These wooden behemoths are there for one purpose, to give you a thrill and the Phoenix delivered on that.
Check out this video of the Phoenix in action!
For more information on other rides at Knoebels, visit their website by clicking here.