While visiting home before Christmas in Western PA, I always make a stop to legendary Kennywood Park. Until this December, past visits basically included walking around the park, bothering the owners and managers, and seeing what is underway for the next season.
However, for the first time ever, we saw ‘Holiday Lights at Kennywood’. One million lights greet guests, who have been coming here since 1898. The arcade, located on the park’s oldest midway, is now home to a photo stop with park mascot, Kenny Kangaroo, and a special area for children (and adults) to write Letters to Santa. Inside the classic Racer coaster station, photos with Santa Claus are available in a Santa-sized coaster car!
Kennywood was careful to open some rides that families will love. The beautiful 1927 Merry Go Round is re-lit in red and green, playing faithful holiday tunes, and the nearby Paratrooper, Kangaroo (yes, that’s the name) Cosmic Chaos, and the Grand Prix (bumper cars). Overlooking the Monongahela River, guests can ride the one of a kind Auto Race and have a cookie of a time on the Gingerbread Express, which in the summer is the Old Kennywood Railroad. Kiddieland is open with 10 rides including the Lil Phantom coaster.
Inside the park’s giant dining room, guests can warm up and decorate their own cookies, listen to live Choir singers, and explore a massive Lionel train layout with boxcars and scenes from legendary Pittsburgh institutions like Heinz, Isaly’s and the Steelers. Several retail shops are selling official park logo merchandise ranging from much needed sweatshirts to exclusive Linda Barnicott artwork featuring scenes from Kennywood and surrounding Pittsburgh landmarks.
If you like Christmas music (and I do) you can stroll around the park and hear classic tunes, and along the lake there is a show at regular intervals that features lights that blink and dance in sync. A petting zoo in Kiddieland contains all the stable animals including camels. Remember those one million lights? This classic amusement park is known for large stately trees, and Kennywood has wrapped them in LED lights that create an incredible atmosphere in this National Historical Landmark.