Kennywood Park nearing 125th anniversary

What began as a trolley park in the late 1800s is now one of America’s top amusement parks.

Nestled above the Monongahela River, Kennywood Park has remained a constant as the world around it in the Mon Valley — sometimes referred to as “the valley that built the world” — changed.

The park sits across the river from a still-in-operation steel mill — one of a few left in a region that prospered in its heyday of steel works that provided jobs and also polluted the region.

Most of the steel mills are gone, the cities dotting the region that flourished during the time now struggle, and the area’s population continues dwindling.

As the region around it changed, Kennywood Park solidified itself as Western Pennsylvania’s amusement park, with annual school picnics, celebrity guests, ethnic celebrations and thrills for everybody in the family.

In 2022, as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lifted and people navigated a new world, Kennywood Park management ushered in the start of a major celebration: The kickoff of the park’s 125th anniversary.

With it came word of the return of one of four rides the park removed, plus other park improvements — long overdue cosmetic enhancements to spruce up the park.

Sadly, with the great changes came a rollback in operating hours. The park, where legend has it that the coasters run faster at night, and where thousands of lights sparkle when the sun goes down, closed before the sun was even at the horizon, marking regular closings at 7 or 8 p.m.

It seems, more big changes are in the works in 2023 for the park’s 125th anniversary.

Kennywood is teasing at least one themed area improvement.

Little details are available but, apparently, aliens speak Pittsburghese!

The QR code takes fans to a site on Kennywood’s page.

Looking carefully at the site, these are some clues:

  • The site title says “UFOTracker.”
  • The image shows the number “1122,” which could mean the park might use Nov. 22 to reveal more information.
  • The image also shows “2023,” so that seems pretty obvious.

The Cosmic Chaos, which sits next to this area, was added to the park in 2007. It was manufactured by Zamperla, where the generic ride is called the Mega Disk’O.

The new ride is rumored to also be from Zamperla. Kennywood has some other Zamperla rides, including Aero 360 and SS Kenny (in Kiddieland).

Could any of these rides be coming to Kennywood in 2023? Hmm…

Of course, before then, the park will hold its Phantom Fall Fest (you know it as Phantom Fright Nights but now with daytime fun for everyone) and Holiday Lights!