Family Fun is Back at Kennywood Park!

By Emily Papa August 17, 2020

For the past four years, if you asked my daughter where her favorite, happy place to be is, her answer has been the same. 


If you grew up in Western Pennsylvania, it is likely that Kennywood Park is one of your favorite pastimes too. With over 40 rides and attractions including its seven roller coasters, Kiddie Land and Thomas Town, there is sure to be fun for everyone!

But what happens when a devastating pandemic sweeps the nation and changes our daily living and how we have fun? What happens to our traditional summer visit? Will my daughter still be able to claim her thrills at her favorite summer spot?

I am happy to report that my family just experienced a whole new side Kennywood under their COVID-19 safety measures and guidelines it might have been our best Kennywood day to date! Keep on reading for your chance to win 4 Kennywood Tickets to share in the fun for yourself!

Before our visit to the park, I had been in contact with management who informed me that Kennywood was dedicated to providing the same level of family fun as it has since 1898 but would be taking extra measures to ensure the safety of all as their top priority. In accordance with CDC guidelines, Kennywood is requiring guests to wear masks and maintain a social distance from those not in your party. They also encourage frequent hand washing and sanitizing. Knowing that from the start, I had an idea that our visit to the park was going to be a little different than times in the past but honestly I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

Arriving in the parking lot with our lunches and water packed in a cooler, we headed toward the entrance and noted our first obvious difference. On both sides of the entrance, there were large white tents covering rows of turnstiles. The pavement was marked every 6 feet as a guide for keeping a social distance. Instead of hundreds of people stampeding towards the gate, we stood single file while we were first screened to be wearing a mask and then had our temperatures taken with an infrared thermometer before even walking up to the ticket booths. If someone didn't have a mask, they were selling really cute Kennywood and Pittsburgh themed cloth ones along with some disposables before you were allowed to enter. The line to get in didn't have a lot of people in it but seemed really long because we were all single file. I thought for sure based on that there was going to be a decent crowd in the park. When was the last time you walked into Kennywood park and saw this??!!

Eager to get on some rides, we parked our cooler in the Pavillion located behind the Steel Curtain (side note, one of my husband's favorite things about coming to Kennywood is that they let us pack food & drinks to keep our family nourished and hydrated throughout the day). We quickly became aware of what "Limited Capacity" meant in terms of Kennywood. With all the acres of land the park spans, it literally seemed like no one was there in spite of the crowd we saw coming in the entrance. I'm not going to lie, I know the limited capacity is to be able to maintain social distancing, but I'm thinking next year Kennywood needs to have a "Social Distance Day" with limited ticket sales and that's the day I plan on coming! It was actually really nice not having a crowded park! Even under COVID conditions, I would go ahead and say it was one of the nicest days I've experienced at Kennywood!

Here are some things you can expect during your next trip to Kennywood:

You can count on having clean hands! Hand Sanitizer is located all over the park and it is mandatory that you sanitize before getting on EACH ride. If you forget, an attendant will be sure to remind you before you walk by. If you're like me and want to sanitize after getting OFF the ride, there are dispensers at every ride exit as well.
Anticipate shorter, longer lines. Limited capacity means fewer people to begin with but each line for the ride has been redesigned to hold people at a social distance while waiting. So while the line may appear to be long, it's the illusion of the 6-foot space in between guests. Prep your kids before-hand so they know what the blue markers mean and that they are to stay on their dedicated marker to give appropriate space between parties. We played some games of who could stand on the square the longest to keep the kiddos occupied.
Do expect to wear your mask at all times, including while on rides. There will be places in the park where you can remove your mask for a breather, eating, or drinking but for the most part, you WILL be wearing a mask all day AND on rides (with the exception of water rides). I suggest bringing a ziplock bag or pouch if you'd like to keep your mask dry while on the Pittsburgh Plunge. Kennywood staff was incredibly consistent and professional, but polite when asking guests to please make sure their mask was covering their mouth and nose. I thought it was going to be AWFUL wearing a mask all day but it surprisingly was not. We were having way too much fun and the mask was an afterthought.
Be prepared to practice patience... It's for your safety. Periodically throughout the day, rides would close down for 5-10 minutes while the Kennywood staff would perform a deep cleaning of the entire ride and surroundings. The cleaning efforts on their behalf were noticed by us as we constantly saw staff picking up garbage, wiping down tables and benches, and cleaning bathrooms. I've never seen the park cleaner.
Know that there will be some limitations. Limited guests also means limited staff and operations. The thing I noticed most was food establishments that were closed. Most of the staples were opened, but there was maybe one of one type of vendor per food type. Let's use Dippin' Dots stands for example- there was only open instead of all 4. The same held true with arcade games. However, I'll take less food and arcade options any day over fewer ride options. I was actually surprised that there were only a couple of rides that were not operating when we were there. We were able to ride everything that was on our list and more!

Overall, our trip to Kennywood under COVID conditions was a huge success! I said it above and I'll say it again- it was probably the best time we've had there. Ever. It was really nice to slow down and enjoy the park. We felt less rushed because we didn't have to hurry from one ride to the next to cram them all in. We weren't bumping into sweaty, random people all day long and in spite of wearing a mask all day, you felt like you could just BREATHE with all of the space you had. My kiddos gave the day a 10/10!

Have you had your Kennywood fix yet this summer? It's not too late!!! In honor of National Roller Coaster Day, Kennywood and Macaroni Kid have partnered up to give away FOUR 2020 FunDay Ticket's to one lucky Macaroni Kid South Hills subscriber! Contest ends tonight at midnight so be sure to get your entry in now!

➡️➡️➡️Sweepstakes is now closed. See below for contest winner.  ⬅️⬅️⬅️


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Thank you to all of our readers who participated in the contest!!! Congrats to our lucky➡️➡️➡️winner Jaclyn Lewis⬅️⬅️⬅️!!!