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Photo TR: Knoebels 8/7/08


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After scoring the free hotel breakfast on the last day of the Behemoth/Flyer trip/first day of the East Coast Trip, I skipped the Sesame Place add-on and took my own side trip to Knoebels. This place was awesome! From old-school rides to a really great atmosphere, Knoebels is my new favorite amusement (not theme) park.

 

Anyway, the pictures show why. Enjoy!

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These, however, were awesome! Deep-fried brownies. They may not look like much, but they were full of chocolaty crunchy goodness on the outside... and the inside tasted just like warm chocolate pudding!

 

More pics to come shortly.

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Based on Elissa's positive experience with Pennsylvania Mexican food at Idlewild Park the day before, I decided to give it a try myself at Knoebels. Unfortunately, all Pennsylvania Mexican is not created equally, it seems. This stuff was pretty bad.

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Yes, apparently they are!

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What's all this about sauce? Is Knoebels trying to put DelGrosso's out of business?

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So many great puns....

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So much to choose from....

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Once the storm passed, it was time for food!

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And the train.

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The antique cars.

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The Ferris wheel.

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...AKA Skloosh!

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The onomatopoeia ride...

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Downdraft.

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This thing, the name of which I can't remember.

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The bench ride.

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Which is really just a whip, despite the extra "per."

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The Whipper.

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The Motorboats.

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The phallic slide (one of very few left operating in the United States, once so popular that Disney's California Adventure pays tribute to these rides with a neon recreation atop its Souvenir 66 stand).

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The Red Baron.

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Throughout the day, I took pictures of a number of rides that, though I didn't necessarily ride them, were neat because of their historic value or uniqueness. Things like the Roto Jets.

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This being Pennsylvania, smoking was not only permitted, it was encouraged!

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Right after I got off the Skooter, the big storm hit. It poured for about 45 minutes. I made it to the Fascination pavilion just in time to ride it out.

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This is what my Skooter looks like when it's bearing down on its next victim!

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And they were pretty amazing! Just look at all those Lusse Auto Skooters!

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I stuck to the "best bumper cars in America" instead.

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No way was I riding this thing right after three pierogies and three tri-taters!

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Paper goes here! Honestly, as an amusement park history buff, it was pretty fun to see a working vintage trash sucker.

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During lunch I got to see Kozmo and the Kozmo Dancers (really) sing selections from Disney's "High School Musical." It was every bit as thrilling as it sounds.

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The pierogies were great! The tri-taters... well, I could have gotten something comparable at Arby's across the street from my office. Tri-taters=fail.

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After the shooting gallery, I was ready for lunch. My friend Angela, who used to work at Knoebels, told me if I didn't try the pierogies and tri-taters, she would never speak to me again. So I figured I'd better give them a taste.

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Unfortunately, I was at the park by myself, so I couldn't ride the Looper. :(

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And just what makes it so awesome, you ask? Well, those are real 1930s-style metal targets, and you shoot at them with BB machine guns!

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Right next door is the world's most awesome shooting gallery.

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Our Doom Buggy awaits.

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"Warning to seizure sufferers: Don't ride this ride, or we'll have to carry you out in this."

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And some not-so-subtle ones, as well.

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However, they do give you some subtle clues along the way what to expect inside.

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From the outside it looks so innocent....

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Another Knoebels classic.

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OK, is there anyone here who doesn't know the insanity that is the Knoebels Flyer? Seriously, I thought I was going to DIE on this thing! You don't even have to TRY to snap it!

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Guess who.

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But that hasn't kept Knoebels from putting it on their menu!

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The Energizer Bunny is foreman of construction. It just keeps going and going and going....

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Knoebels has one other coaster, too. Sort of. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's called Flying Turns. It opens in 2009. Or 2010. Or 2011. Or 2012.

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And down. With insane amounts of airtime!

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Going up!

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Phoneix go in the hole!

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If ACE says it's good, it's gotta be, right?

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Of course, Twister's not really the coaster that springs to mind when someone says "Knoebels," now is it?

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Twister!

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After that afternoon's major storm, they couldn't decide whether they were running one train or two, so the put both signs up (for the record, they were running only one).

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...and No. 2.

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Nerd shot No. 1...

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This is so you don't accidentally associate the coaster with a bad Bill Paxton movie.

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While I've never been to Holiday World, this part of Twister reminds me a lot of pictures I've seen of The Voyage.

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Come to think of it, this also is how it looks today.

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And this is how it looks today.

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This is what Twister looked like under construction in 1998.

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And this is how it looks today.

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The museum also included LOTS of old park pictures, including this one of the High Speed Thrill Coaster.

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Do as the sign says and no one gets hurt....

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Aaaay!

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And this was the clock from the park's skating rink.

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This bus came from an old German carousel that once operated at the park.

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This fortune telling machine greeted visitors at the museum's entrance. It was installed at Playland for 35 years, from 1950 to 1985, until the fortune cards finally ran out.

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But the mining museum did lead to the entrance of the Knoebels Museum, and that was all kinds of fun!

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And mining train cars wrapped in tape that said "Caution"... which apparently is Pennsylvanian for "Hey kids, come climb on me!"

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Other exhibits included an array of mining equipment laid out flea market style...

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...dinosaurs!

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While gathering coal, miners are always on the lookout for the No. 1 cause of mine deaths in Pennsylvania...

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Welcome to Knoebels. Here's a display of mining helmets. Bring the kids!

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Donkeys!

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The Anthracite Mine Museum!

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They even had a whole carousel museum! The best part was that it contained animals from two Maryland carousels I've previously studied. Unfortunately, signs posted warned that photography should be for personal use only, not commercial. And since I'm not sure whether the folks at Knoebels would consider TPR a commercial enterprise, and I don't want to get anyone in trouble (least of all myself), we'll just skip right on over to...

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Unfortunately, you weren't allowed to keep the rings.

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But the thing that makes Knoebels' carousel REALLY awesome is that it's one of the few left in the United States with an operational ring machine! I never had a chance at the brass ring, but I got plenty of non-brass ones.

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Knoebels even put its old non-functioning band organs and music machines on display for discriminating historic amusement park connoisseurs like myself.

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Om pa pa...

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Everything about this carousel is awesome, including the flat artwork.

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But let's move on to the rides, shall we? Like the historic 1941 carousel.

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This is a random caboose. Why is it here? No one knows! It's all part of the randomness that makes Knoebels so awesome.

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See?

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This is Kozmo. He's pretty much everywhere they have a flat surface or spare patch of ground in the park.

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In case you didn't read the topic on the forum page or the description above, all the photos you're about to see were taken here.

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Aah, another person who sees the greatness that is Knoebels. Too bad that you didn't hit everything..Cosmotron (which I didn't see mentioned at all) is like rave party: the ride, and some of those other flats you didn't hit were pretty cool as well. However, none can ever match Phoenix.

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^^^Ah, but I did hit Cosmotron! I just had to take a posting break for dinner.... Read on!

 

^^That sounds more like it. I thought the carousel seemed older, but I remembered 1941 from the sign.

 

^I think my expectations were probably higher than they normally would have been based on all the excellent things I've heard about Knoebels' food (which held up, for the most part). Plus I was spoiled, food-wise, on the Behemoth/Flyer trip, which had ended just hours earlier. I'm willing to give it a second chance (especially if I can have some more of those fried brownies at the end)!

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However, plans did still call for lunch. Angela had tipped me off to Cesari's pizza--and it was MUCH better than her tri-taters suggestion! This plus some kind of combination citrus drink (strawberry-orange? lemon-orange? I don't remember) was the perfect way to end my first (but hopefully not last) visit to Knoebels. Next stop: Hershey's Chocolate World!

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My plans all along had been to stop by Knoebels for lunch the next day on my way out of town. However, I still had a few tickets burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to venture out early and use them to re-ride Twister and Phoenix.

 

There were two trains' worth of people ahead of me at Twister (seen here). As the last train before I was to board rolled into the station, one of the ride ops started yelling for us all to stand back. Smoke was streaming from the train!

 

Turns out the wheels on the car I was about to board had locked up on the track. They closed the ride, but allowed those of us who were in line to stay. After some brief maintenance, the ops sent the orange train out empty for three consecutive runs while others prepared the blue train, on the switch track, just in case. Fortunately, the orange train passed muster, and on the fourth run, we were allowed to board.

 

When we reached the top of the lift hill, it still smelled strongly of smoldering wood. It was a little unnerving, to say the least! Unfortunately, the brief closure of Twister sent everyone to Phoenix, and by the time I got there, there was a 45-minute wait... too long for my schedule. I used part of my Phoenix tickets for an extra ring-grabbing ride on the carousel and pocketed the rest as souvenirs.

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My accommodations in nearby Danville. Pay no attention to the price on the sign. I got an Internet discount and paid WAY less than that. High gas prices=low hotel rates nationwide this year.

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Finally, as the Mahoney Brothers ended their set and the park began shutting down, I (and many others) did leave.

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I really was about to leave an hour before park closing (I was still immensely tired from the Behemoth/Flyer trip), when I heard music and stumbled upon a very happy surprise. One of my favorite Beatles tribute bands, The Manoney Brothers, were playing on the free concert stage!

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And finally, more Kozmo.

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Petrified stump (take that, Disneyland!).

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Random clown (I wonder if he and the Waldameer clown are cousins).

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Iwo Jima reproduction statue.

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Kiddie train to nowhere.

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Building shaped like a loaf of bread.

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Building shaped like an apple.

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Legless soldier.

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Old wood.

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Chainsaw sculptures (all bears).

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Two-century-old White Oak stump (or "Wye Oak," as we call them in Maryland).

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Creepy anthropomorphic food telling bad jokes.

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...which made the top of this pavilion rotate. Just because it could, apparently.

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...which turned these gears...

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Snack bar with a waterwheel...

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Santa's sleigh (with his picture on it so he knows it's his, I guess).

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Santa Claus and the North Pole.

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Themed electrical building in the middle of nowhere (the path from the rest of the park to Twister).

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Locomotive for kids to climb on.

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Western show that I forgot about and didn't get to see (again particularly random because as far as I could tell, there was no other western theming in the park).

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1875 covered bridge (you had to cross this to get to Twister from the park's main section).

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Pirate ship gift shop (especially random considering a.) it just kind of sat by itself as an oasis in the walkway and b.) there was absolutely no other pirate theming anywhere else in the park).

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1933 summer cottage turned into a candy store.

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Swans.

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Awesome defunct ticket dispenser.

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Church directory.

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Every time I thought about leaving, I found some other awesome random thing I had missed or some new section of the park I hadn't before traversed. I got there shortly before noon and ended up staying until closing. And now, a series of photos I call "The Most Random Things Ever That I Found at Knoebels," starting with the park's birthday cake (with candles) pavilion.

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After Cosmotron, I re-rode both coasters a few times (nearly everything was a walk-on all day) and then stopped by Playland before going around to various shops to purchase some souvenirs for myself and others. Unfortunately, I guess some of the unique arcade games I found on the Behemoth/Flyer trip spoiled me because I didn't find much to excite me at Playland.

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For those who have never ridden it, it is indeed similar to a rave party (or what I've seen of them on TV), as Reon states. For those who were on the Behemoth/Flyer trip, it's the same principle as Space Odessey at DelGrosso's... only with a Matterhorn base instead of a Caterpillar, no black light ninja kitties, ride cycles that last less than a full song, non-surly ride ops and no "Tainted Love." :(

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Cosmotron seemed like a good ride to follow Mexican food....

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But that hasn't kept Knoebels from putting it on their menu!

 

So, if I order the Flying Turns Ravioli, how long will it take them to make it?

 

I'm just joshing. Actually, I applaud them for trying to recreate a classic ride, and I hope it works out for them sooner rather than later. In any case, Knoebels looks awesome. Thanks for the photos.

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I am glad you pointed out the randomness of that dinosaur in the museum. I am sure there was a purpose of it being in there, but I made up my own little story as to why it was there. (Pretty much the same as your caption)

 

Great TR. I missed a lot of the stuff you covered, so it makes me want to visit again.

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1875 covered bridge (you had to cross this to get to Twister from the park's main section).

The main bridge to twister is the next bridge down, which isnt a covered bridge. The covered bridge is the main entry way to the campgrounds.

Also if you ever get to make it to knoebels again, you can use your tickets that you have left, there good anytime.

The Loaf of bread building used to be a bakery years ago, but i do not recall what all they made in it.

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It appears that Angela forgot to tell you to get the "Cheese on a Stick" with Blue Birch Beer.

 

The Mexican food, while not traditional is at least tasty and cheap.

 

Personally I'll take DelGrosso's pizza (the best at any park) over Cesari's any day.

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Awesome trip report, it looks like you really spent some time capturing the details of this really unique park. I always thought the most random thing in the park was the owner's house sitting right off the midway (actually I think there may be more than one house within the park - can't remember). It's been a few years since I've been up there, and those pics really brought back some of the details I had forgotten. Thanks for sharing.

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Very entertaining TR.

 

That is Knoebels' theme-- random and eclectic. And they carry it quite well. When it comes to random, you can't omit the lemon shaped stand (you showed the apple, you have something against citrus fruits?), the lighthouse, the Arabian ride with the German name, and the most random ride of all... the Spanish Bambini.

 

http://www.knoebels.com/images/rides/SpanishBambini1.jpg

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