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Family, Food and Frustration

This past weekend, my whole family got together in Central Pennsylvania. My brother, his wife and two kids came down from Vermont, and my sister and her husband came in from Bellefonte. Together with my Dad and Mom, we took a family outing to a favorite location, Knoebel's Amusement Resort.

The Giant Wheel
The Giant Wheel at Knoebel's Amusement Park.

There was a much longer wait to get into the park than I'd ever seen, with traffic backed up for several miles. That, unfortunately, was a premonition of the day.

We began in Kiddyland, as my niece and nephew rode the kiddie rides. I figured that Kung Fu Panda would be hungry and tried to feed him in a shady area, using a privacy cover-up, but he was too tired to eat, still drowsy from the car ride.

Nice on the Bumper Cars
My niece rides the bumper cars.

It seemed packed in Kiddyland, but it didn't occur to me that it was unusual, because the rides are closer together there, and it often feels more dense. Kung Fu Panda, of course, was way too young for any rides and simply lounged in his stroller.

Kung Fu Panda at Knoebels
KFP saw most of Knoebel's through his eyelids.

It was difficult for us all to stay together, so my sister, her husband, The Gryphon and I decided to split off and walk towards the adult rides. On the way, we got a little sidetracked, buying fudge-covered apples and then seeking out the "Baby Aid Station" to feed and change Kung Fu Panda. This is a little building with a changing area, a chair, and a crock pot full of water to warm bottles in.

Meanwhile, my sister and her husband were going to ride a ride and connect up with us afterward. They came back much sooner than we'd expected, telling us that the lines were ridiculously long, longer than we'd ever seen them. The Gryphon told us why: while asking about baby changing stations at the main park office, he learned that at least two very large corporate pic-nics were taking place in the park that day, in addition to a couple family reunions and other gatherings.

The lines were so long for any of the rides that they spilled out far past the line control barriers, so that the line for the Phoenix, for example, stuck out into the fairway, blocking traffic.

With the prospect of an hour wait for any ride, we decided it simply wasn't worth it. Instead, we sought out the park's two carillons for me to get more video footage of them (the first time I did so, it got a lot of hits from music box enthusiasts on YouTube). We also tried out some of the park's food offerings. Namely, my sister's husband got a banana split that was so big we had to share it.

Banana Split
My sister's husband enjoys a banana split.

After playing phone tag for a little while, we managed to reconnect with my brother and his family, along with Mom and Dad. They had just put the kids on the Merry-Go-Round in Kiddyland. As we talked about what to do afterward, my nephew befriended another boy, who had the same idea of climbing up on a cut log.

My nephew makes a friend in Kiddyland.

By this point, it was actually getting close to dinner time, so my brother and his family headed back to Dad's house. The kids were starting to get tired, anyway. The rest of us didn't stay much longer. Everyone but The Gryphon (who stayed below with Kung Fu Panda) rode the Scenic Skyride, which is basically a ski lift that takes you up into a nearby mountain for a view of the valley.

Ski Lift
My sister and her husband, along with Dad, on the ski lift ride.

Dad, my sister and her husband headed back to his place, while the Gryphon and I got something to eat, along with Mom. We ate at The Oasis, which has cafeteria-style food. I had the barbecued chicken with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. It was basic food but hit the spot.

As we made our way back to the car, I realized that this was the first time I'd ever come to Knoebel's where I only rode one ride. Hopefully, the next time we go, it will be less crowded.

Don't try to visit an amusement park when there are big company pic-nics going on.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 17th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
Never been to Knoebels...
...but I do know of it, considering my mom lives up in that neck of the woods (well, if Luzerne County counts for anything at least). Also, my dad's wife (she's mental health sociologist at the state hospital) apparently took some resident clients up there for some overnight camping getaway last weekend or so.

Granted, it seems like Knoebels is probably the last of its breed anyway considering that they're like the only amusement park that doesn't have blanket entry fee to get past the front gate. Which can maybe attribute to more and more attendees choosing that for a getaway location rather than something like Dorney Park or HersheyPark.

Yeah, I blame the recession. :-/
Aug. 20th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
Re: Never been to Knoebels...
You might have a point there. My husband tells me the park has also been featured on a couple Food Network specials, which probably also has driven interest.
Aug. 18th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
I hate when parks are so crowded that you can't enjoy them. :(

On the other hand, I might've been willing to make the journey JUST for that banana split!! It looks delicious!!
Aug. 20th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
The banana split was almost worth it. And the fudge. Oh, the fudge.
Aug. 19th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
That banana split looks INCREDIBLE!
Aug. 20th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
It was pretty yummy. And it had fruit in it, so it's good for you!
Aug. 21st, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC)
Fruit AND dairy! ;)
Aug. 22nd, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
And chocolate, an antioxidant!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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