• If you’re driving north from Maryland and need a stop to give the kids a break and let them run around for a while, Knoebels Amusement Park might be an option.

    It’s about 25 minutes off of 81 about half way up Pennsylvania. A bit of a detour, and definitely not for a short break. But, we’ve gone there a couple times to break up a drive to upstate NY to visit my in-laws.

The Positives about Knoebels:

This is a place that won’t break the bank. You can pull off a lot for free or low cost.

  • Free parking!
  • Free admission!
  • Free playground!
  • Cheap kids rides!

The Rides

The kiddie rides range between $1.25 and $1.75. We spent $18 on the book that gives you $20 worth of tickets, and that lasted quite a while.

The Food

They have picnic areas outside the entrance, so if you want to bring your lunch, you can do that.

Inside, the food isn’t ridiculously overpriced. It’s a bit pricey, but they don’t gouge you like other places will.

Pro Tip!

They also have off-menu items in smaller sizes. We went to an ice cream stand that advertised a small for $4.50 and large for $5.50. We asked if they had a kid size, and they did – for $2.25. And it was pretty much the same size as the small.

Condition and Upkeep

It’s overall pretty clean. The grounds are kept up nicely, and most of the restrooms are clean enough. Some were a little rough, but not terrible.
There are water fountains all over, so no need to shell out money for water on a hot day.

The Not So Good:

The Crowds

It can get crowded. Given that it’s free to get in, it can fill up. We were there on a Friday, and it had a surprising amount of people. It still wasn’t crowded, and there weren’t any waits for the kid rides, but I’d imagine that on the weekend it’s a madhouse.

Middle of Nowhere

It’s out of the way. With no traffic, it took us 25 minutes to get there from 81. If there’s traffic, that can go up a lot. It will make your trip a few hours longer overall, but may be worth it to tire the kids out.

This is a rural area of central Pennsylvania. Politicians often say, “Between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is Alabama”. You not likely to come across a lot of diversity in the employees or clientele. It stood out to me, and my family blended in. I didn’t see any issues, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.


This is a great (extended) pitstop for fun memories on our way to upstate New York. It’s nice to find free entertainment when you need it most

Comment below below if you been or plan to go? What other gems have you found to break up trips?

Knoebels Amusement Park