Kennywood Park – A Blast from the Past

I’m Nathan, and this is how I roll.

Every once in a while – or for some of us, myself included, somewhat frequently – it’s fun to be nostalgic. It’s fun to look back at our past or perhaps even further back into years long before we were here. I think that’s why I love Kennywood Park so much.

Kennywood has been around since 1898, when it started as a picnic spot due to its scenic views of the Monongahela River. But I’m not really writing this as a history lesson. You can go to Wikipedia for that. (Speaking of Wikipedia, most of the pictures I use in this article came from there, so thanks!)

What I love is that, while many parks insist on constantly updating, having the latest and greatest, Kennywood chooses to preserve its past. Most of its rides have been around for a while. The park itself is a designated historical landmark, as are some of the rides, such as the carousel.

Kennywood is an old-fashioned amusement park, so many people probably overlook it, opting for thrills instead of fun.  It’s important to recognize the difference; I liken it to the difference between shock humor and things that are actually funny. Though Kennywood offers some thrills – Phantom’s Revenge (a hypercoaster), Exterminator (an indoor “spinning mouse” coaster), and Pitt Fall (a drop tower) among others – most of its rides are calmer but still remarkably enjoyable. Its three wooden coasters – Thunderbolt, Racer, and Jack Rabbit – have stood the test of time. The Pirate, which just happens to be my favorite ride, may not be wild, but it produces what my cousin Stacey so accurately describes as that “whee” feeling, that tingle in your stomach that you get when you hit that sensation of weightlessness. And you don’t come off of it feeling sick (unless, as I discovered at my last visit, you are already feeling a bit nauseous before you get on – getting old sucks).

And don’t even get me started on the food. There’s just something about amusement-park food, isn’t there? Perhaps most popular are the Potato Patch French fries, which aregenerally considered a staple. I get them every time I’m there, though I admit, I’m starting to prefer other treats, such as the pizza, over them (which may be Kennywood sacrilege tantamount to three days in the stocks).

Kennywood is a trip into the past, to a time when families spent more time together, teens had fun that didn’t involve getting wasted, and the most exciting thing was running from one ride to the next. As I get older, I find that I appreciate it on a wholly different level than I did when I was a kid, but it hasn’t lost any of the fun, charm, or aesthetic nuances that make it my favorite summer hangout.

Enjoy the video of Stacey and me riding Racer, and if you like what I write, be sure to share my blog. And, if you didn’t notice the link over there on the right, you can follow me on Twitter @howirollblog. Once I get a few followers, I’ll start tweeting.

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