WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. – Wooden roller coasters clacking. Merry Go Round band organ blaring. Children claiming ride partners and shouting through Kennywood’s iconic tunnel on a school picnic day. These sounds that were sorely missed during May and June 2020 will burst back to life starting Saturday, May 8, when Kennywood begins its 123rd season of fun.
“We can’t wait to begin a new year that brings us closer to the typical Kennywood experience,” says Mark Pauls, General Manager. “The 2021 season offers a lot to be excited about, and we’ll keep the safety of our guests and team members as top priority as we welcome everyone back to the park.”
The first full season after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic features the return of favorites, from the record-setting Steel Curtain (2019’s Best New Roller Coaster) to attractions like the Gran Prix, Black Widow and Raging Rapids reopening this summer. They’ll be joined by The Old Mill, which was reborn last season after a 17-year nightmare. 120 years since its dimly lit channel first floated wooden boats through to witness not-too-spooky scenes, riders will find the Old Mill is now more closely themed to the historic stylings of Kennywood’s oldest operating ride.
Opening Day will begin with a centennial celebration 101 years in the making: a ceremonial first ride on the legendary Jack Rabbit roller coaster, the fifth-oldest operating coaster in the world. Winners of last year’s 100 Years, 100 Memories contest honoring the iconic ride will take the first spin to mark the start of the season.
Along with rides back online, popular events like early-season school picnics, community and heritage days, Celebrate America, and the Fall Fantasy Parades return in 2021, along with Kennywood’s new Bites and Pints Food Festival during the month of June. Collaborating with renowned regional Chef Brian Pekarcik, guests can sample different dishes paired with specialty drinks and live entertainment on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in June.
“With Bites and Pints, Kennywood thrills are no longer limited to riding – they’re coming for your taste buds too!” says Pauls. “Chef Pekarcik developed a dynamic menu celebrating cuisines of various cultures that will pair perfectly with a day of fun.”
While Kennywood regains some sense of normalcy in 2021, safety and cleanliness remain essential to protecting guests and team members against COVID-19. Guests can expect safety signage and pathway markers to remind of social distancing, required facial coverings, and sanitizing stations throughout the park.
Per state regulations, Kennywood attendance will be limited to 75 percent capacity, and the park will also limit capacity within indoor facilities such as restaurants and retail shops. To better monitor attendance, the park will have an optional, online reservation system. Season Passholders and guests with date-specific tickets (such as those visiting with a school or company outing) do not need to RSVP.
New this season, Kennywood is introducing a Chaperone Policy for guests age 17 and younger. These guests must be accompanied by an adult chaperone at least 21 years of age beginning at 4:00 p.m. daily. Each adult chaperone must be present at the time of entry and remain within the park for the duration of their party’s visit.
With a 2021 Platinum Season Pass, Guests can enjoy a whole summer at Kennywood, plus sister parks Sandcastle and Idlewild and SoakZone.
For more information on Kennywood’s 2021 schedule, Season Pass and single-day admissions and discount opportunities, and details on COVID-19 safety measures or the chaperone policy, visit Kennywood.com or contact the park at 412-461-0500.