A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Knoebels, Hershey, Penn's Cave (completed)
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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby ThemeParkJunkie51290 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:29 pm

Amazing report! =) Knoebels is a park I must visit one day! The "old charm" is what truly brings this park out and hopefully I can visit this park soon!

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby Rai Fox » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:46 pm

SharkTums wrote:Very interesting look at the cottage, thank you for sharing. Slightly too grandma jebus for me, plus one bathroom makes it hard to share with other people. In your research did you see any that had two bathrooms?

Yep, I had to call to ask about that. I don't remember for absolute certain but I'm pretty sure all of the larger cabins except the Glass House have two bathrooms. I know the Cedar Log does. I suspect that might be a big reason why the Glass House was the last one still available, when it's pretty good otherwise! (The Cedar Log also looks a bit more like Grandpa did the decorating instead of Grandma, so depending on your preferences...)

jynx242 wrote:They could have won some of the decor at the Fascination Parlor :lol:

They just might have! I took home a toaster from Fascination tickets last week, and we were all amused when we opened the box and realized it was the same toaster that was in the cabin!

robbalvey wrote:My thoughts exactly. I'm actually VERY HAPPY you posted this report because after being at Knoebels again this year we thought about our options for spending time "on property" there and we are just not "outdoorsy" camping people at all so staying at the campground is out of the question, and sadly that cabin would be outside of my comfort zone as well.

We really would love to do more of an extended stay at Knoebels, and I'm really hoping that someday Knoebels builds something more like what Cedar Point has with their Lighthouse Point cabins. Nice, newer accommodations that feel more like a more modern hotel, but in a small cabin with a fire pit! That's more my idea of "roughing it!" :Pr

Well, depending on what part is out of your comfort zone, take a look through what they have - they're all very different from each other. Not all look to have the same grandma theme. https://www.knoebels.com/stay/knoebels-cottages I'm not sure any really count as "modern" though - the Evergreen and Cedar Log might come a bit closer.

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby Philrad71 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:33 pm

SharkTums wrote:Very interesting look at the cottage, thank you for sharing. Slightly too grandma jebus for me, plus one bathroom makes it hard to share with other people. In your research did you see any that had two bathrooms?

Grandma jebus...love the Simpsons reference! :lmao:

This kind of reminds me of the hotel we stayed at in Indiana Beach. I swear that it was all straight out of the Starsky & Hutch era complete with the lime green bedspread, pink tiled bathtub wall and sink (and the obligatory 70's traditional rust streak/stain under the faucet and rotten egg water smelling/tasting water)...and of course, a tube television that was 2'x2' square and probably weighed 200 lbs.

This cottage is at least kicked up to the Michael Bolton era. :lol:

This comment is gold:

The decor in here was...interesting. As one of our group put it, it looked like someone let two grandmas into the place, lit their fuses, and ran. It was pleasant enough though.

Can't wait to see the rest of the report...a great start so far!

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby Rai Fox » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:50 pm

Okay, on to day two! The forecast for Tuesday was scorchingly hot and humid, the worst of the week in that regard, so we decided somewhere OUT of the heat would be a nice idea. Several of the group was interested in Penn's Cave, and underground seemed like a great place to be, so that was the plan!

But not before breakfast, and an excuse to wander into the park for a bit.

I love being in the park early to watch it wake up for the day

I've never noticed this guy before; looks like he's from the woodcarver in the back corner of the park! Pretty awesome!

I went with the creamed chipped beef on toast, feeling daring and wanting to see how far Knoebels' ability to make everything good could go. Got some weird looks for that, but it turns out that yes, they can even make really tasty creamed chipped beef. And then, off to Penn's Cave.

Driving out there seemed like we couldn't possibly be heading to a tourist attraction; even more so than Knoebels itself, this place is in the middle of nowhere. We literally passed three horse drawn carriages within a few miles of the place, and then had to take a road out behind a farm. No one was entirely sure they trusted my GPS, but then...

Yep, this looks more like it.


Penn's Cave has three actual attractions; the cave tour (a boat tour of the underground river), a walkthrough maze, and a wildlife exhibit. We figured the first would be the big deal and the others were afterthoughts, but given that it wasn't too much more expensive to get a combo ticket for all three, and we had time to kill, we went for that. Good decision.

Heading down the winding path to the cave first...

The cave mouth is pretty well hidden from view until you come around and down the cliff

Rainbow trout! I found lunch! I wish. The tour guide told me I was free to try to go in after one, but the water is two to four degrees above freezing year round.

These are the flat-bottomed boats for the tour. Nice and stable despite being narrow, they seem to work well

It gets dark pretty quickly




The cave's "Statue of Liberty"





I forgot what they called this formation (bottom left of center) but it looks very much like a bunch of cloaked people up to something. Pretty cool.

Some of the chambers are quite big here


Closer look at that earlier formation



On the left, in the spotlight, their crouching lion formation

Foggy. Eerie.

Fellow travellers!

I'm not entirely certain what the point of this room was, except that they wanted to play with colored lighting underground. I don't blame them



Apparently in some seasons this room is FULL of bats. Not this time, sadly (for me, anyway. I'm sure some were grateful)


The cave opens up into this lake on the far side. Jurassic Park theme playing for anyone?

It's rather pretty out here

Okay, not quite dinosaurs, but at least they have distant relatives...


No idea what this was.

The boat turns around and heads back through the cave

Of course there's a ghostly legend

The closest I got to seeing any bats there.

We had a little while before our wildlife tour, so we hit the maze first. This maze is a little different than most; finding the exit is easy, but the trick is to find four checkpoints and get a card stamped at all four before you leave. It looks very small from outside, but it's far more confusing than it has any right to be, and quite a bit more fun too. It took each of in my group between 7-12 minutes of frantic racing around to finish, so not too bad for the $3 or so it cost!

We grabbed lunch at the Cave Cave afterwards; this was the only disappointing part of the place, I think. Their much-hyped bison burger could have been a school cafeteria burger; small, dry, and not particularly flavorful. I've had amazing bison burgers; this was not one of them. The one at the food court at Knoebels was quite a bit better, and even that's not up to most of Knoebels' food standards.

Fortunately we didn't have much time to be upset about the food, because it was time for the wildlife tour. I was fully expecting a few little animal cages and stuff. I wasn't expecting a bus to pull up to take us around a 1,600 acre wildlife preserve. They have a huge area with a lot of beautiful, well cared for animals, most of them with generous enclosures; this ended up being one of my favorite zoo type attractions I've seen! Incredibly nice surprise here.

Bison, first. Did I feel a little bad for just eating one? ...Nah. Bison are tasty.

Elk! Elk are also tasty, but these guys weren't on the menu.

And deer, which as we were told, co-exist very well with elk since they eat different types of vegetation, so they're fine with sharing space.

Piebald deer, very cute with their white markings

Cows. Well, how interesting are cows, compared to the other animals out here...

Well, these are friendly, curious cows...

Very friendly. They came up to try to get their heads into the bus and beg for treats. I missed getting a picture of the one that started licking the windows, sadly, since everyone in the front of the bus rushed to get that shot and blocked the view.

The wolves have a huge enclosure, a small forest to themselves. Because of that, we didn't see most of them, but one of them came right over to investigate us when our tour guide called her.

This is Chorro

And Chorro is a very pretty wolf. She didn't stick around for too long though, once she was sure she'd gotten all the treats she could convince the tour guide to give her.

The fox exhibit was next, but unfortunately, the foxes were having nothing to do with the temperature and humidity that day. We could just barely make out one hiding far back inside a log, but I couldn't get a picture of any. Of all the animals for me not to get to see...ah well.


The bears were the only animals there that seemed to have an inadequete space, but the tour guide told us that this was a temporary space only while their permanent one was being set up.

I forgot this guy's name, but he came out, according to our tour guide, to beg for Double Stuff Oreos. Bears, apparently, love Double Stuff Oreos. Yeah, me too, bear. Me too.



This is a working wildlife preserve and farm; they grow a lot of plants to feed their animals here, or to sell and trade for what they can't grow.

This area is a Monarch Butterfly waystation

Fake kitty

Real kitty! This is Apache. Such a gorgeous cat.

And this is Seneca. You can just see her hiding in there. I don't blame her for wanting nothing to do with the sun.

And over at the bobcat exhibit...this is Tom.

Tom's sister Kit was in the airconditioned indoor part of their area, but Tom came to hang out with us.

Bighorn sheep; apparently a carefully bred cross of four types that can survive Pennsylvania weather

The farm's breeding horses have their own pen here

The tour ended up being somewhere between 90-120 minutes, and while they don't have some of the exotic animals you might see at a zoo, the animals they do see are active, well cared for, and for the most part seem curious and interested in coming over to see visitors too. The tour guides are knowledgeable and fun, and see to love what they do. Everyone in my group agreed that this was one of the big surprises of the trip, and I'd absolutely recommend a stop there for anyone in the area.

Once we were done, we needed food and air conditioning. Sounded like a good night to try the new (as of last year) Nickel Plate Grill at Knoebels' golf course! Reviews are good, and...well, it's Knoebels, so how bad could it be?

It's fantastic. As good as all of Knoebels food is, Nickel Plate absolutely tops it all. This ended up being the first of three times we ate there this week. This first time, I went for their spicy Firebox burger.

Well, not that spicy by my stanards, but juicy and perfectly cooked, soooo good. Tasty fries, too.

Everyone in our group had something different, and from salads to tuscan ravioli, everyone raved about their meals. Several of the group got drinks; I didn't that night since I was driving, but those that did gave theirs top ratings too. On top of all that, it's incredibly inexpensive. The majority of the meals are under $10, drinks are mostly under $6...it's pretty much just...well, Knoebels. Affordable, delicious, and of course the service was flawless. If you're going to be anywhere near Knoebels...absolutely make sure to stop in here.

And then back to the cottage to rest up and get in a little time hanging out and playing Jackbox games with friends.

I wasn't technically lying when I said we didn't use the TV...one of my friends brought a nicer one that we used for this. Gotta have something to do after the park closes!

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby operative_me » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:59 pm

Cool report so far. When I first saw you were staying a week I thought, as amazing as Knoebels is, that might be a bit much. But clearly you found lots of other things to do.

I'd be cool with the cabins, if they threw a hot tub on the patio. I've gone done to Hocking Hills here in Ohio a number of times, a lot of the remote cabins have hot tubs. It's a fun experience, especially during a winter snowstorm!

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby Rai Fox » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:02 pm

Yeah, the cottage at Knoebels was just a nice central location for a lot of stuff we wanted to do. As it turned out, we ended up spending more time just hanging around Knoebels than we planned, and didn't get everywhere else, but...that wasn't a bad thing at all!

And thanks!

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby Philrad71 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:06 pm

Penn's Cave could be an awesome themed dark ride called 'The Descent'...it looks a lot like the movie set. :lol:

That burger looks great! I remember looking at the price of the golf course for an 18 hole round a few years back and thinking that either the golf courses are super cheap in rural PA - or this course really sucks.

I'd like to check it out myself one day to see!

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:58 pm

I completely endorse including a cave tour and an animal safari with your theme park visit.

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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby larrygator » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:17 pm

1) Thank you for creating a new thread. If someone can type the words Knoebels and cottage correctly, this will be the only post to show up if they search by topic heading.

2) I think people have already been decorating the the cabin with merchandise won at Fascination. I guarantee that clock is a Fascination prize.
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Re: A week at a Knoebels cottage!

Postby Nrthwnd » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:29 pm

Maybe there's something stuck on or behind the clock, something secret that nobody knows. ;)

Beautiful shots of your cave tour. Although at first, I might find myself a touch nervous
about being in a narrow flatboat, treading c-c-c-cold water, into darkness, even with spotlights etc.

Still, they're beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing them.
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