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“I’m writ­ing about Ken­ny­wood” I told my hus­band, “what do you think I should title the arti­cle?” “You should­n’t write about it” he said, “tell your edi­tor you can’t write about it. The lines are pret­ty short right now, I don’t want more peo­ple going there.” My hus­band is under­stand­ably a lit­tle pro­tec­tive of one of our favorite fam­i­ly trip sum­mer destinations. 

Sit­ting just 20 min­utes out­side of down­town Pitts­burgh, Ken­ny­wood is a great des­ti­na­tion for all ages! You can prob­a­bly tack­le Ken­ny­wood in just one day, giv­ing you plen­ty of time to check out oth­er attrac­tions in Pitts­burgh

 

 

 

 

Pro Tip: You can pick up dis­count tick­ets for Ken­ny­wood at local AAA offices, and Giant Eagle gro­cery stores

 

 

 

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Kennywood is a great theme park for everyone from your train obsessed preschooler to grandma

 

 

For the Thrill Seekers

 

Have a thrill seek­er in your fam­i­ly? Then head straight for Ken­ny­wood’s newest roller­coast­er, the Steel Cur­tain, a roller coast­er with NINE inver­sions! That’s the most inver­sions in North Amer­i­ca! The Steel Cur­tain roller coast­er is locat­ed in Steel­ers Coun­try in Ken­ny­wood, the first ever theme park area and coast­er to be named after a pro­fes­sion­al sports fran­chise, specif­i­cal­ly the Pitts­burgh Steelers. 

 

 

 

 

Three pop­u­lar Ken­ny­wood roller­coast­ers, the Jack Rab­bit, Pippin/Thunderbolt and Rac­er have oper­at­ed since the Roar­ing Twneties and are named Land­mark rides by the Amer­i­can Coast­er Enthusiasts.

In fact, make sure you stop by the Jack Rab­bit and wish it a Hap­py Birth­day since it’s cel­e­brat­ing its 101st birth­day in 2021!! Just a heads up about the Jack Rab­bit though, it has a sec­tion that makes you feel like you are com­ing up out of your seat. I took one of my friends on it as her first-ever roller coast­er when we were kids and that por­tion scared her off roller coast­ers for a while! 

One of my favorite rides is The Rac­er, a roller coast­er with two trains rac­ing side by side! It’s actu­al­ly one large track, not two sep­a­rate tracks. You’ll notice that you switch sides at the end, if you start on the left, when you return to the sta­tion you’ll be on the right. 

 

 

roller coaster

Have you ever gone 45 miles per hour in a 100-year-old vehi­cle? Here’s your chance! Pho­to Cour­tesy of Kennywood

 

 

For The Sesame Street Set

 

There’s plen­ty of rides and attrac­tions for the preschool set at Ken­ny­wood! There’s a large area with sev­er­al rides devot­ed to Thomas the Tank Engine called Thomas Town. You can even ride Thomas him­self while get­ting a great view of the Monon­ga­hela Riv­er below. There’s anoth­er area called Kid­dieland, which is devot­ed to clas­sic attrac­tions for lit­tle ones like a mer­ry-go-round. There are lots of shad­ed pic­nic areas around Kid­dieland, it’s the per­fect place to set up shop if you have lit­tle ones! 

 

 

Noah's Ark

I used to be a lit­tle afraid of Noah’s Ark, I don’t know why. I guess it’s the Pitts­burgh kid equiv­a­lent of being afraid of the Haunt­ed Man­sion. Pho­to Cour­tesy of Kennywood

 

Don’t Miss! The Best Things To Do At Dollywood

 

And there are plen­ty of oth­er things for tod­dlers to do scat­tered around the park. Noah’s Ark is a walk-through fun­house attrac­tion that’s fun for every­one. (There are sev­er­al exits if your lit­tle one gets spooked). Make sure you check out the Auto Race, built in 1930, it’s the only ride of its kind still standing!

 

 

auto race

Some­times rid­ers will try to high-five each oth­er when they pass! My dad once got in trou­ble with my mom for not encour­ag­ing me to keep my hands with­in the ride vehi­cle. Pho­to Cour­tesy of Lar­ry Pieni­azek via Wikimedia

 

 

Why Is It Called Kennywood?

 

Found­ed in 1898, the Monon­ga­hela Street Rail­way Com­pa­ny leased a pop­u­lar pic­nic site, Ken­ny’s Grove, from Charles Ken­ny in order to open a trol­ley park to encour­age peo­ple to use the com­pa­ny’s trol­ley cars. Rail­way share­hold­er Andrew Mel­lon named the park Ken­ny­wood in hon­or of the Ken­ny fam­i­ly and pic­nic area.

The Monon­ga­hela Street Rail­way Com­pa­ny turns Ken­ny­wood into an amuse­ment play­ground for mill work­ers and their fam­i­lies. Vis­i­tor favorites includ­ed row­boats on the lagoon, ath­let­ic com­pe­ti­tions, pony rides, and find­ing a date in the Dance Hall – a bit dif­fer­ent from the theme and amuse­ment parks of today.

 

 

For Grandma or Adults Who are Chickens

 

In 1987, Ken­ny­wood was des­ig­nat­ed a Nation­al His­toric Land­mark and fea­tures plen­ty of great his­tor­i­cal rides to vis­it. The Old Mill, built in 1901, is the old­est oper­at­ing dark water boat ride in the world! The Mer­ry Go Round at Ken­ny­wood is almost 100 years old, the hors­es, tigers, and lions were hand­made. There’s plen­ty of rides scat­tered through­out the park that are chick­en-friend­ly. And if Grand­ma wants to come along, you can get her a dis­count­ed senior ticket. 

 

 

My par­ents have been tak­ing me to Ken­ny­wood since I was a kid. We love Ken­ny­wood! I rode my first coast­er at Ken­ny­wood, I still remem­ber my dad check­ing my height and acci­den­tal­ly bang­ing me on the head with the bar. Ken­ny­wood is the kind of place that grows up with you, as I got old­er and braver we spent less time in Kid­dieland and start­ed spend­ing more time rid­ing coast­ers. Sor­ry Dad, I don’t think I’ll ever be old enough or brave enough to ride the Steel Cur­tain with you though. 

 

 

Kenny Kangaroo

My dad and I posed with Ken­ny Kan­ga­roo my senior year of high school.

 

 

Where to Eat

 

It’s prac­ti­cal­ly a Pitts­burgh tra­di­tion to get some Pota­to Patch Fries while in Ken­ny­wood. Try to get them dur­ing non-meal times, the line gets crazy at lunch! Most of the oth­er food at Ken­ny­wood is stan­dard theme park fare, from cot­ton can­dy to piz­za, to cheeseburgers.

If you want to save some cash, or eat some­thing that isn’t deep-fried, Ken­ny­wood is one of the few theme parks that will let you bring out­side food into the park! So pack your cool­er! You can bring in food and drinks. We usu­al­ly bring some sand­wich­es and sodas. There are numer­ous pic­nic table pavil­ions in the park, and you can grab a table and leave your cool­er there. Some peo­ple even bring table­cloths. I would­n’t leave any valu­ables, but we’ve nev­er had our cool­er disappear. 

 

 

Potato Patch French Fries

The Cheese Sauce and the Gravy at the Pota­to Patch are to die for! Pho­to Cour­tesy of Kennywood

 

 

Where to Stay

 

If you want to stay near the park, there is a Hol­i­day Inn near Ken­ny­wood. The Hamp­ton Inn Water­front is also a great choice, and has an indoor pool, a per­fect way to beat any rainy days on your trip! If you’d like to stay clos­er to down­town Pitts­burgh, the Fair­mount is arguably the nicest hotel in Pitts­burgh, that’s actu­al­ly where celebri­ties usu­al­ly stay when they are in town film­ing movies! Tom Cruise even stayed there when he filmed Jack Reacher.

Check Tri­pAd­vi­sor for more reviews or click around on this inter­ac­tive map with the dates you want to vis­it, to find accom­mo­da­tion options around Kennywood.

 

 

 

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Kennywood is a great theme park for everyone from your train obsessed preschooler to grandma