Monday, March 11, 2013

Aerial Antics: Kennywood Updated

It has been over three years since we covered Kennywood from an aerial perspective, and with some nice new images from both Bing and Google - plus some fun additions to check out - I think it's a wonderful time to have another go around.
One of the largest changes in the past few seasons is the addition of Sky Rocket, a Premier Rides launched coaster.

The coaster replaced a beloved set of antique cars, but often a ride removal is necessary for a park to stay current and relevant in its market.  Such was the decision to add Sky Rocket - and I believe most fans of the park love the new coaster.

Sky Rocket also doubles as a gigantic billboard for the park since it sits right next to the road.  The coaster launches into a top hat, followed by an eclectic mix of elements including a "cliff dive," corkscrew and undulating, wave-like track.

I love seeing Kennywood's rides interact with the dramatic hillside that borders the length of the park.  In this shot you can see the sprawling Phantom's Revenge, which plummets directly into the ravine, and the Thunderbolt which also takes full advantage of the elevation changes.

The park has many gems, one of which is the Auto Race ride.  The ride dates back to 1930 and was created by Harry Traver.  The Auto Race uses electric cars that zoom around the track seen here - and is the only of its kind left in the world.

The Racer is another very famous ride at Kennywood.  As its name would imply, the coaster has two tracks on which the trains race each other.  It looks like when this photo was taken the coaster was getting some love, a tent is set up on the first turn for track work to be performed in cooler temperatures.

Kennywood's Mill Ride, currently hosting a Garfield theme, is the world's oldest operating of its kind.  You can see the tangle of covered channels that the boats float through in this image.  When we visited the park in 2009 we were told that a plan was in place to completely retheme the ride within a couple years... sadly that hasn't happened yet.  I've got my fingers and toes crossed that they still move forward with it!

We were all sad to see Pittfall leave the park, but its 2012 replacement, Black Widow, is equally impressive.  The new ride sits perched on at the start of the hillside, and swings and spins riders high up into the air.  I'm not sure any ride could have replicated the views from the top of Pittfall, but Black Widow sure does give it a try - it gives similar views from nearly upside down!

To check out Google's images of Kennywood, click here, and for Bing's, click here.