Kennywood: A Trip to America’s Favorite Amusement Park
You think I’m kidding right. Kennywood? America’s favorite amusement park? Don’t believe me, check the sign…
See…told ya so. Since 1898 Kennywood has been a Pittsburgh family tradition. I put emphasis on family. It is a great place to bring the kids and share a heart warming experience. It is not like those big parks such as Cedar Point or a Six Flags, Kennywood is better than that. It has this vintage feel that can not be duplicated. The park is relatively small and easy to navigate. Just like any other amusement park, Kennywood brings out all the bells and whisteles. There are roller coasters, kiddie rides, water rides, and midway games. Put it all together and you have a recipe for success. This week me, my cousins, my brother, my aunt and my mom had quite the successful day navigating our way around Kennywood.
My brother joked with me before our trip saying “You aren’t going to write a blog bout this are you” I laughed right back at him and said “Yes Zach, yes I am”
“But its not about baseball,” he responded. I simply replied, “It is called the Pitssburgh Peas, not just like baseball Peas.” (btw Kennywood is located a mere 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh)
But Zach had a point I had to find a way to make a day of amusement and turn it into a day of baseball. Zach and I decided that we would pay close attention to other guests at the park and study what they were wearing. We were going to count how much Pirate gear we saw compared to that of the other Pittsburgh sports teams. I was kind of mad at myself for not wearing anything Bucco during the day, but pride was still on the line.
You can see me on the far left wearing my “BEAT PITT” shirt. I was carrying on a family tradition started by my father from his day as a WVU student. He would make the trip from Morgantown to Pittsburgh with his buddies when he was my age to enjoy the rides at Kennywood. He proudly wore his “BEAT PITT” shirt everytime he entered through Kennywood’s gates. From his experiences he said it wasn’t always the best idea because it ticked off some of the locals. From my experience I recieved some jeers, such as “Not in the last two years buddy.” and a handful of “Go Pitt” cheers. But WVU got the last laugh on this day. Zach and I both agreed that there was a considerable more amount of West Virginia garb than that of the Pitt Panthers. Blue and gold ran through my veins. I was however dissapointed by the turnout of the Bucco faithful.
The day started by giving credit to my younger brother for wearing this Pirate hat shown on the right. He was number one on the couning ticker. I was hoping to see alot of Pirate hats considering most people wear hats when it is hot out and we are in the middle of baseball season. I was surely mistaken. Tens of thousands of people flock to Kennywood each day. Considering that number Zach and I both counted just 22 pieces of Pirate paraphernalia. Hats and T-shirts included. While there were probably more than that, from our naked eyes we could only spot 22 people wearing the Bucco black and gold. There were authentic 59 Fifty caps and thorow back pill box caps. A majority of the people wore the free giveaway caps that are given away on promotional days. I am not a big fan of these caps. I believe they are junky and I really don’t care for the sponsors logo that is always on there somewhere. Only one guy I saw had on a complete head to toe irate outfit. He had on a Roberto Clemete T-shirt with a black “P” hat.-a true fan indeed.
I was also dissapointed that I did not see many current player T-shirt. I saw countless numbers of Crosby and Malkin T-shirts. In fact I even saw Talbot, Fleury and Gonchar shirts. (All Penguins players for you non-hockey followers) I only saw two current Pirates players on the back of people’s t-shirts. Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson. The funny thing is, with the way talks are going around Pittsburgh both of these players can soon be gone. It really does make me sad all the turnover that happens with Pirate players. It is really difficult for teh casual fan to embrace a player with the uncertainty that he will possibly be traded withing a couple of years. The Penguins are so successful because they have cornerstone players and market those players to the general public. It is hard to be a casual baseball fan in Pittsburgh when the casual fan can’t even name 5 players on the team.
The real sports king in Pittsburgh is without a doubt the Steelers. I was hard pressed however to see and Steeler jerseys in teh crowd. It was a 78 degree day so that may have held people back form wearing their Roethisbergers or Palamalus, but still I expect to see a Steeler jersey in Pittsburgh at any time.
All in all the real winner was the Pens. We lost count in the 50s for the amount of Hockey gear seen. The hats, player t-shirts and Stanley Cup commemorative shirts were overwhelming in the sea of people at the park. The Pens even ruled in the park’s decor.
These posters were hung on the platform of the roller coaster “Thundebolt”. In the 1960s the Thunderbolt was called the “King of Coasters” in 2009 the Pens are clearly making a run for “The Sports Kings of Pittsburgh.”
To conclude my sports memorobilla and such talks I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Pirate
things I have ever bought. Me and my brother spotted this hat at the Monroeville Mall near Pittsburgh and couldn’t pass it up. It is the vintage Pirate logo from the 80’s and early 90’s situated on a bright yellow hat. It is very comfortable and fits my head nicely. I wear it proudly.
Kennywood really is not a place for the roller coaster enthusiast. As I said before it is more geared towards families. That being said it is still a destination for adrenaline junkies. There are four coasters in the park. The Thunderbolt, The Jack Rabbit, The Racer and The Steel Phantom. The Steel Phantom is the only newer coaster with a steel track. It is my favorite because it rides smoother and reaches speeds of up to 70mph. the other 3 are older but still very fun. I enjoy the Jack Rabbit because it is quick. It also features a pair of double dips with back to back hills. Your butt will jump out of the seat when the car goes ove rthe bumps. The Racer is cool because two cars run at once, in a racing fashion. It always fun to compete with the other car even though you have no control over how fast it goes. I really do not like the Thunderbolt at all. I can tolerate alot of wooden coasters but the Thunderbolt is down right nasty. I rode it with my brother and he was squished up against me the entire time. It wasn’t comfortable at all. And the fact that I was being thrown around the whole time gave me a headache.
My favorite ride is this beauty.
I was proud of my brother for riding all of teh roller coasters with me. My little cosuin Jacob, isn;t a big fan of the intense ride so he sticks to the tames ones.
We took a nice spin on the cars. He also enjoys getting wet. It was refreshing on a nice hot summer day.
Him and Zach got front row on the Pittsburgh Plunge water ride. They were completely drenched afterward.
They also came away with these sombreros after winning the weight guessing game. Not really a big feat because come on, who doesnt win at that game.
It was another fun summer day in Pittsburgh with my family. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that there is nearly nothing that I enjoy more than that.