Kennywood: A classic amusement park


Sky Rocket

Immediately after the entrance tunnel, you will find the Sky Rocket rollercoaster on the right-hand side. The Turnpike vintage car ride used to be located here. As parts of the rollercoaster run far above the site, it could be assumed that the rollercoaster was originally intended to run above the Turnpike.

The Sky Rocket ride begins with a downhill left-hand bend. On the subsequent straight, we accelerate to 50 mph using LSM before climbing a top hat. Unfortunately, our descent on this is heavily delayed so that we are only slightly lifted out of our seats. After an overbanked turn, we go through a zero-G roll and then into a right-hand bend. We reduce our speed slightly on a straight before plunging into another very steep descent. Now we enter a tight left-hand bend and then the second roll of the ride. A right-hand bend then leads us into a section with several S-bends in a row. With great momentum, we then enter another right-hand bend, which leads us into two airtime hills. Shortly afterwards, we reach the braking section of the track.

The Sky Rocket is a really nice rollercoaster with a great launch and some pretty cool elements. Unfortunately, only one of the two trains was in operation on the day I visited and the handling and the rather slow speed of the train between the brakes and the station unfortunately led to a very long wait.

Old Mill

One of the oldest rides in the park is the Old Mill dark ride from 1901, which takes you through a narrow tunnel with small scenes to the right and left of the canal. Even back then, the darkness provided a certain degree of intimacy and the creepy scenes during the ride offered a socially acceptable excuse for physical contact. Today, the Old Mill is a eerily delightful family attraction that was known as Garfield’s Nightmare from 2004 to 2019 and was modelled on the famous comic strip. The attraction was redesigned again for the 2020 season. Now you can experience an adventure with the skeleton pistolero Harold.           

Jack Rabbit

At 102 years old, Jack Rabbit is the oldest roller coaster at Kennywood. The ride has a simple oval layout through which you ride two laps. The highlight is that you only reach the lift in the middle of the ride, by which time you have travelled through two dips. The highlight is the big double down of the ride, where the cars mercilessly try to throw you off. Unfortunately, the spectacle is already over after another drop.


Right next to the Jack Rabbit roller coaster is the Racer, where you can have a hot race against another train. It is one of the few roller coasters with a Möbius loop, i.e. the trains always have to complete two laps before they arrive back on the same side of the station.

The ride on the racing coaster The Racer begins with a curve before both trains enter the parallel lift hill. However, these are slightly separated from each other. After the first drop, the two tracks run directly next to each other. Here, the track first goes through a left-hand bend, with the left-hand track quickly taking the lead. The curved drop and the subsequent hill are travelled slightly offset by both trains. In a right-hand bend, the right-hand track then largely catches up. After another winding descent and an equally winding hill, another right-hand bend follows. Both trains then run parallel into the final downhill section of the line. After an incline, the final brake is reached, where the winner of the race is crowned.

The Racer really is a great roller coaster. Although the wooden roller coaster is neither high nor fast, it is characterised by very sweeping descents and hills that shape the wild race against the other train.

Steel Curtain

Since 2019, the Steel Curtain roller coaster has characterised the Steelers Country themed area dedicated to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The high-speed and, despite its height of 67 metres, very compact layout runs in a ribbon through the back of the park. Unfortunately, the ride was not in operation on the day I visited due to the low temperatures.

Aero 360

With its oversized Kennywood arrows, the Aero 360 somersault ride is one of the most visually striking rides at the theme park. The Zamperla Hawk ride offers a long and varied ride cycle.

Lil’ Phantom

Lil’Phantom is the park’s smallest roller coaster. The ride, built by Molina & Son’s, offers an oval layout with many small ups and downs.

Auto Race

One of the most interesting attractions in Kennywood is the Autorace built in 1930 by Traver Engineering. Here you drive in soapboxes on a wooden track. The vehicles are only guided by guard rails on both sides of the track.

Thomas Town

Kennywood is home to Thomas Town, a themed area built around Thomas and his friends. In addition to the small family drop tower, Cranky’s Drop Tower, and the two rides, Flynn’s Fire Training and Harold’s Helicopter Tour, there is also the Island of Sodor train station from which the Journey with Thomas departs. The ride offers the best views of the Monongahela River and Pittsburgh’s steel mills.

Ghostwood Estate

One of the park’s most modern rides is the Ghostwood Estate interactive dark ride. In a pre-show, we are invited by Lord Kenneth Ghostwood to drive the ghosts out of his house. Equipped with guns, we make our way through the eerie estate and experience a really nice ghost train with lots of animatronics. 

Raging Rapids

Like the neighbouring wooden roller coaster, the Raging Rapids water ride was also undergoing a lengthy renovation period at the time of my visit and was therefore not in operation. The Intamin Rapids ride offers a rather compact and winding layout here in the park.


At the time of my visit, the Thunderbolt roller coaster was still under reconstruction and was not due to reopen until the bank holidays in July. The almost 100-year-old wooden roller coaster shares the same slope as the Phantom’s Revenge roller coaster and covers a height difference of almost 100 feet.


Kennywood ist die Heimat vieler klassischer Fahrgeschäfte, darunter die einzige noch existierende Tumble Bug Berg- und Talbahn des Herstellers Traver Engineering namens Turtle. Die Bahn aus dem Jahr 1927 ist eher gemütlich unterwegs und bietet einen tollen Blick auf die Achterbahn Phantom’s Revenge.

Black Widow

The Black Widow swing ride is one of the first Giant Discovery rides from Zamperla. The ride is very varied and offers plenty of airtime. Be sure to try it out!

Pittsburg Plunge

I am a big fan of the classic Shoot the Chute rides, but on the day I visited I was very glad that Pittsburg Plunge had not yet started its season, as it was freezing cold. Here in Kennywood, the water ride built by O.D. Hopkins has a very classic look, reminiscent of the first rides of this type built at the turn of the century.


The Exterminator indoor rollercoaster is one of the highlights at Kennywood theme park. The Spinning Mouse from Reverchon surprises with its consistent and very detailed theming, which is something you won’t even find at Disney or Universal in this depth. At least not for an attraction of this size. Kudos!


Right next to the Pittsburgh Plunge water ride is another classic ride at Kennywood. Opened in 1919, The Whip is great fun thanks to the lateral acceleration at the two reversing points and the resulting high-speed ride.  

Swing Shot

In addition to the classic wave swinger Wave Swinger, there is also the large swing ride Swing Shot, which reaches its maximum deflection with just a few swings. You race through the station at high speed and experience plenty of airtime at the two peaks.

Noah’s Ark

One of the special attractions in Kennywood is Noah’s Ark. This is a crooked house where the eponymous ark swings back and forth as you walk through it. A similar attraction adorns the entrance to the English theme park Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but can no longer be visited there.

Musik Express, Cosmic Chaos and Pirate

A large square in front of the large drop of the Phantom’s Revenge rollercoaster is home to numerous classic flat rides. In addition to the Musik Express, you can also take a ride on the Pirate and the Disk’o Cosmic Chaos.

Phantom’s Revenge

In the race to be the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world, looping coasters have long been the favourites. The record was set by Arrow’s Steel Phantom in 1991 with a vertical drop of over 230 feet. After the big drop, the ride went straight into a loop, then into a batwing and finally through the final corkscrew back to the station. Just nine years later the ride was rebuilt by Morgan as Phantom’s Revenge.

The ride on Phantom’s Revenge starts with the lift hill, which takes us to a height of 160 feet. Once at the top, we take the first drop in a steep turn. This is followed by a long straight before we climb a hill and immediately plunge into the much bigger drop. On the way down we pass the Thunderbolt wooden roller coaster. We gain some height in a very long left turn. Instead of entering the inversions we follow the curve for a while. After another drop the track takes us through a right turn where we pass the Thunderbolt again. In several bunny hops the train tries to throw us off. After another right turn comes the final hop into the coaster’s braking section.

The ride on Phantom’s Revenge is short but still breathtaking. The coaster’s high speed and very smooth ride speak for themselves. The airtime on the many little bunny hops is also not to be underestimated. In short, a really great hyper coaster and the flagship of the park alongside the many classic rides.

Pictures Kennywood

Conclusion Kennywood

Kennywood is one of those really cool, classic amusement parks. Originally founded as a trolley park for the city of Pittsburgh, the park has been entertaining visitors since 1899, and with many of the rides almost as old as the park itself, it has an incredible charm. What’s more, the park has a distinct identity, with an industrial look that blends in with its surroundings. This is largely due to its location in West Mifflin, with the best view of the Edgar Thompsons Works, one of the oldest steelworks in the world.

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