There was one main thing on my summer bucket list and that was to visit Kennywood, one of the oldest and most beloved amusement parks in America that’s located just outside Pittsburgh. Founded in 1898, Kennywood is home to several wooden rollercoasters and was even designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
I lost count of the number of times I’ve visited the park, but the last was back in 1999 the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. Since then a few rides have said sayonara while others have taken their place. I was anxious to reacquaint myself with the place.
So a few weekends ago me along with eight members of my family headed to Kennywood for the day! Naturally it was one of the hottest days of the summer, which seemed appropriate. We baked in the sun – under our sunscreen, of course – from 11am until the park shut down for the night at 10:30.The carousel above is over 100 years old, the wooden platform and hand painted horses make it beyond magical.Not everyone was able to ride every single ride (back injuries, inner ear issues, fear of heights – the list goes on), so we spent a good part of the day separating and regrouping. My ride partner was my 29-year-old cousin who was just as ride-focused as me (yeah, you can tell we’re related).I made sure to make a stop at my favorite eatery for some cheese-smothered Potato Patch Fries, one of those foods that’s become an institution within the park. And then I ate them so fast I didn’t even snap a photo – the HORROR.
We rode the fastest coaster in the part in the front seat. My mom was seated directly behind me screaming the entire time, as one does on a rollercoaster, and I laughed so hard that I had tears streaming back to my ears! My eyes were even closed because I thought my contacts might slide right out.
I was brought up on county fair and amusement park rides, both of my parents love them. Whenever someone is freaking out in the middle of one I’m usually the person sitting next to them, it must be some sort of unspoken law of nature. While riding the Black Widow (above) the teenage girl seated next to me lost it so bad that tears and snot were pouring out and her long hair was plastered to her face. She kept telling her friend she was going to pass out, while her friend held her hand and said that everyone was looking at her. Yeah, she totally didn’t care and bolted as soon as the ride was over and the harnesses lifted.
Amusement parks at night are ten times better than by day, and I was immediately taken back to walking around Kennywood as a teenager with whatever boy I liked at the moment. Those were the days, man.
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