The best rides at Kennywood include a water ride, a new spinning disc thrill ride, and steel, wooden and indoor roller coasters. The amusement park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh, has been entertaining children of all ages since 1898 and is home to some of the nation’s most popular roller coasters and thrill rides. Kennywood received National Historic Landmark status in 1987.
Let’s count down the best rides at Kennywood from five to one.
Best ride at Kennywood #5: Thunderbolt
The Thunderbolt is an old-time wooden roller coaster that began as the Pippin way back in 1924. It was expanded and erected as the Thunderbolt in 1968, and by 1974 the New York Times was hailing it as one of the nation’s best coasters.
The Thunderbolt features a 90-foot drop and it feels a bit rickety as you’re traveling along the old wooden track, but that’s part of the coaster’s appeal.
Best ride at Kennywood #4: Cosmic Chaos
One of the park’s newest attractions, Cosmic Chaos is a ride that’s way more fun than it looks. A large UFO-shaped disk holds 24 riders who face outward with their feet dangling, while the disk travels back and forth along a concave track and spins on its axis. Because of the spinning, riders feel like they’re going to fly off the disc as its reaches its highest point. Cosmic Chaos opened in 2007 and is likely to stick around for quite a while.
Best ride at Kennywood #3: Raging Rapids
Opened in 1985, the Raging Rapids was an immediate hit. This is a near-perfect raft ride except for one thing: The huge waterfall towards the end. Riders want to get splashed and sprayed; they don’t want to take a shower with their clothes on. Aside from that excessive waterfall, the Raging Rapids is still the park’s best water attraction.
Best ride at Kennywood #2: Exterminator
The Exterminator is a small, indoor coaster that is often overlooked, but riders consistently rate it as one of Kennywood’s best. Why? Because the entire ride is in the dark so you can’t see what’s coming. The drops and turns appear without warning. And you ride in individual cars (that can seat a maximum of 4 people) that spin on their axis, so when you go around the unexpected turns, your entire car spins around.
It’s quite a rush to be spinning around in different directions while having no idea what’s coming because of the dark. This simple coaster is actually one of the best in the entire park.
Best ride at Kennywood #1: Phantom’s Revenge
Phantom’s Revenge began as the Steel Phantom in 1991, but that ride left lots of riders with a sore neck or back from the whiplash, so it was reworked in 2001. The new ride kept the huge, slow lift to the first steep hill, but the second drop is actually the biggest at 230 feet. The coaster travels as fast as 85 mph, and though it lasts less than two minutes, the ride is consistently ranked the most fun attraction at Kennywood.
Best rides at Kennywood: Honorable mention
Other great attractions at the Pittsburgh amusement park include the Pittfall, a 152-foot freefall that reaches 65 mph, and the Racer, a tame set of two wooden coasters built in 1927 that race each other on parallel tracks.
Best rides at Kennywood: Sources