Tag Archives: Kennywood Park

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!

My 2021 in 21 Instagram posts

While I spent much of the year navigating the pandemic, I still got to experience so many things. Every year is filled with love and loss and great memories. Here’s a slice of what my 2021 looked like.

Kicked off 2021 with … cold brew coffee

This was the first cold brew coffee of 2021. The first of many!

Presque Isle Lighthouse in snow

I don’t know if I had ever walked to the lakeshore side when there was snow on the ground.

I walked on (frozen) water

This was my first time walking on Presque Isle Bay from the Presque Isle side! I watched people ice fishing, playing hockey and doing other ice-related activities.

I got vaxxed

Doing the neighborly thing.

Visited the Erie Zoo!

This little baby orangutan is adorable!

I visited Wawa. (Twice)

We all make mistakes.

Saw the White House

Pennsylvania Avenue was closed, so this was the closest I could get.

Swam in this natural spring pool

My first visit to Bedford Springs! I had this pool to myself for at least 90 minutes.

Got to see this Gulf station!

Finally! I’d wanted to see this building ever since WQED’s Rick Sebak shared it on a history program.

Visited the United 93 crash site

I was here a week shy of the 20th anniversary.

Our beloved rescue Kaci died


Visited Ellicottville

Took a stroll to see old buildings, sites in Ellicottville

Selfied with world’s largest pickle

It’s a big dill.

Watched fireworks be lit off of Pittsburgh’s City-County Building

That had never been done before!

I got to see NYC decorated for Christmas

This was such a highlight of my life!

Saw Macy’s Christmas windows!

Hello, Tiptoe!

Saw the Rockettes!

What a great show!

Made new friends

Best NYC tour guide!

Saw old friends!

I love these guys.

Saw Erie history light up!

The Warner Theatre marquee had not been lit in more than 40 years.

Rode the Jack Rabbit on Christmas Eve

In the 101-year history of Kennywood Park’s Jack Rabbit, it had never operated in December. I got to ride it on Dec. 24! I also ate Potato Patch fries on Christmas Eve. Yinzplosion!

A playlist for Log Jammer’s final day

Face it. Log Jammer’s demise is difficult.

It’s like when your best friend tells you they broke up with their long time love interest and you’ll never see that person again.

How do you get over a heartbreak? With music!

So, here is the Log Jammer Final Farewell playlist.

And check out the video I posted of my final ride on Log Jammer.

We’ll start off with a tear-jerker to get you right in the feels.

We don’t want the water to run dry, Kennywood. 😦

This is the song I thought of as I rode Log Jammer yesterday.

Log Jammer certainly is irreplaceable.

It’s the end of the road, Jammer.

Breaking up is hard to do.

How are we supposed to live without you, Jammer?

Now you’re just some Jammer that I used to know.

Don’t speak, LJ. I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t need your reasons. Don’t tell me cause it hurts.

Thanks, J Timberlake for helping me remember L Jammer.

Our hearts will go on, Log Jammer. And onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

I don’t mind the rain

I realized something today that I think I’ve probably always known: I like rain.

No, I don’t like flooding or monsoon-type conditions. But a nice, cloudy day with hit or miss showers and some thunder and lightning really are nice.

There’s something about hearing the rain pelt off a roof or windowsill that allows me to be at peace and still accomplish the day’s tasks. That pitt-pitt-pitt noise of the drips coming from an overhang help me to imagine that I’m sitting on a wraparound porch on a wooden lounge chair (sometimes a swinging chair) with a nice, soft cushion as a light breeze dances through.

Off in the distance, I can see a large body of water (at times, it is Lake Erie, and other times, it is an ocean) with constant waves marching to the shore.

I’ve always wanted a patio with a protective cover. My family has a nice deck on the side of our house that is fantastic for the summer sun. But when it rains, we scatter indoors as a few of our neighbors remain outside watching the rain fall.

At an apartment I once lived in, there was a front porch area where I’d often sit and take in the views the rain offered.

Lightning and thunder add to the views, too. And, while I know it is dangerous to be outside in a storm, I still can escape an opportunity to sit outside in a thunderstorm.

Of course, the muddy yard is a less than desirable after effect of a rain fall, but that’s to be expected, I suppose. Puddles always are fun unless you’re standing at a street corner as a car whizzes by. That happened once to me — I was waiting to cross when a car’s tire hit a puddle. From the waist down, it looked as though I couldn’t wait to use the restroom.

Probably, the only time rain disgusts me is during a day at Kennywood Park. There’s nothing more upsetting than to be in line for the Thunderbolt or Jack Rabbit and hear the ride attendants talk about an impending storm.

I’ve waited out the rain a handful of times at Kennywood. Those were the times you filed into the Penny Arcade or the cafeteria. Of course, so did everybody else.

No matter how long the rain lasts, I know it won’t be around forever. It’s just part of the constantly changing weather. Besides, come August, we’ll be longing for a good, steady rainfall to help the plant life grow.

If for nothing else, I finally was able to use a Christmas gift my friend Jim Lokay gave me — an umbrella with a fun map of Pittsburgh on the underside. Kept looking up when I should have watched where I was going!

I’ll need a few more rain falls to look at what other landmarks the map offers.