Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Abbreviation: KW)
Park News - (12/31/2022) According to a Kennywood local, the park is in the process of repainting their Swingshot ride (S&S Screamin’ Swing). From what I’m told the former Blue arch with Yellow swings color scheme is being replaced by one featuring a bright yellow frame, orange lower swing arms, with the tops of the arms being blue.
(11/13/22) In the fallout from the shooting that took place at Kennywood in September, the local news reports that a teen (age 15) initially charged and apparently “wounded” at the event has had all charges against him dropped by a judge. According to the judge, there was not enough evidence to charge 15-year-old Darryl Pirl, who was also one of the three reported as being wounded at the shooting. The case against him argued that Pirl fired a gun hidden within his clothing and the resulting graze-wound was thus self-inflicted. They now believe two guns were fired at the time and that they are searching for a second suspect.
(11/6/2022) Pittsburgh's Home for the Holidays will kick off its 11th Annual Holiday Lights, showcasing the brightest holiday event ever at Kennywood Park on Saturday, November 19th. This year’s festive event will include over two million twinkling lights across the park, 20 family favorite rides, new festive culinary delights and the nightly tree light at the tallest Christmas tree in Pennsylvania.
Follow the link to see all the full details about this year’s Holiday Lights event.
(10/16/22) Kennywood will host a very unique event on Saturday, October 22 from 9:30am to 11:30am called Dogtober Fest. As the name implies, this is Kennywood’s first-ever fall event for your favorite four-legged friend, featuring the Dogtober Fest Halloween Parade & Costume Contest. The limited-time event allows dog owners to “bring their good boys and girls to the park for a festive parade, followed by a costume contest to recognize the Cutest, Creepiest and Most Creative costumes before the park opens for the day.” To attend, owners must register online and bring a five-pound bag of dog food to donate to “Who Rescued Who Humane Society”, so this is all for a great cause. Space is limited and each pet owner will receive a complimentary Phantom Fall Fest ticket to return to the park on any operating day between Oct. 22 and Oct. 30th.
(9/29/22) Good news, Kennywood has announced they are upgrading the security procedures at the park for Phantom Fall Fest. “For 124 years, it has been Kennywood’s mission to provide the finest in family fun and entertainment. As we continue collaborating with law enforcement on their investigation and get ready to open on Friday, we want to share about new and ongoing security enhancements that will be in place that evening and during future visits:”
Increased Police Support - “In addition to our security team, we are doubling the number of police officers contracted through local law enforcement agencies for each night of Phantom Fall Fest. There will be a more visible police presence at the entrance and throughout the park. Kennywood leadership will be more clearly visible in uniform red jackets, as well.”
Perimeter Enhancements - “Park teams have cut down trees along the fence line bordering Route 837 to improve sight lines. New flood lights and security cameras are being installed for better monitoring, and ongoing security patrols in that area will increase significantly.”
Chaperone Policy Updates - “Guests age 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age (with valid ID) to enter the park at all times during Phantom Fall Fest.”
Park Entrance Policies - “With the weapons detection system working as designed since its installation this spring, the park’s prior screening system has been removed to eliminate guest confusion. New signage is being installed to inform guests they are entering a security screening area. Though the new system is able to screen bags and individuals via cameras and metal detection to identify those in need of further inspection, we will implement additional spot checking of bags as a precautionary measure.”
New Bag Policy - “Only bags within the dimensions of 8” x 5” x 1”, as well as medical and diaper bags, are permitted.”
Facial Coverings - “Masks that cover some or all of a person’s face are not permitted to be worn by any guest after 6 p.m. The only exceptions are surgical masks or N95/KN95 masks as recommended as a precaution against COVID-19. If masks of this nature are worn, they must be free from additional coverings including but not limited to fake blood, makeup or coloring.”
“The Kennywood team keeps those injured Saturday in our thoughts. As we prepare to open this weekend, please know we are fully committed to enhancing our operations to allow guests to enjoy a safe, fun experience. We will continue consulting with law enforcement on additional safety measures to implement. We thank the Allegheny County and West Mifflin Police Departments, our Team Members, and our Guests for the continued support.”
So I have to applaud Kennywood for taking these steps to ensure that a visit to Kennywood is still a safe and fun experience for all families, now and into the future.
(9/25/22) A quick update on the shooting at Kennywood… according to a few messages from readers who were there, or had friends who were there, security was in full force at the park entrance with everyone passing through metal detectors and all bags being checked, so it would have been difficult to get a weapon through the main gate.
HOWEVER… the way Kennywood was built the only thing between the main road in front of the park and sections of the midway is a simple steel fence. One that does not appear too tall or imposing, and looking at Google Map’s StreetView you’ll come across a chain-locked gate in this very fence that has a gap between the doors big enough to pass a small backpack through. Ironically enough, this gate is located just 80 feet from the Musik Express ride, which is where the altercation was said to have taken place.
I’m sure you see where I’m going with this, because it wouldn’t have taken much planning for a pedestrian on the outside to pass off a weapon through this gap to the waiting attacker on the inside of the park. Unless, of course, this entire fenceline is patrolled by security for the entire duration that the park is open.
(9/25/22) In a scary turn of events the terror became real at Kennywood last night as an unknown guest was somehow able to get a gun into the park and shot three people on Saturday night near the Musik Express ride. This was the opening public night of “Phantom Fall Fest” and the park has opted to stay closed today and will not reopen until Friday, Sept. 30th.
Thankfully no one has died, but a 15-year old was shot in the leg, a second “juvenile” reported for treatment for a “graze wound’ and a 39-year old was also shot in the leg. Police were also able to recover the handgun used in the park and were reported to be still searching for the suspect described as a “teenage black male wearing a black hoodie and a COVID-19 style face mask at the time of the shooting”. According to reports given, they believe the shooting took place as part of an altercation between two groups inside the park.
On another serious note, all guests and employees are said to pass through metal detectors and undergo bag searches while entering the park, so it isn’t clear how anyone would have gotten a gun into the park unless there was a breach of security protocol somewhere. What drives this incident a little closer to home is the fact that Screamscape was invited to be at the park last night as well, but due to other obligations I was not able to make it.
2023 - Spinvasion - (12/30/2022) For anyone wondering exactly what kind of ride the new Spinvasion coming to Kennywood is, it appears to be a Zamperla creation called the Gryphon. More video footage showing off the Gryphon in action can be seen below.
(12/23/2022) Due to some family medical issues that were taking place at the time, I still can’t believe I forgot to post that Kennywood announced their new ride for 2023 would be called SPINVASION! They say that Spinvasion will be the first ride of its kind in the United States and located into a new “alien themed” revamped section of the park that they are calling Area 412.
According to Kennywood’s General Manager Mark Pauls, “This extra-terrestrial thrill ride is the centerpiece of the all-new alien-inspired Area 412 section of the park. Featuring a massive themed ride backdrop, along with a fresh new look to the Cosmic Chaos and an improved retail shop, this is one giant leap for all Kennywood fans and Season Passholders.”
Spinvasion casts you as daring pilots in the middle of the Battle for the ‘Burgh. “Riders will strap into their solo manned aircraft and prepare for a classic swing experience after takeoff. Next-level fun quickly begins by crisscrossing with other pilots, flying sideways at certain points parallel to the ground. Spinvasion thrills with every revolution while gliding along the giant waves. The illusion of close encounters with the rider in front fuels the excitement and energy while in flight. The whole experience is enhanced by a spectacular, colorful light display that makes riders feel as if they’ve entered the fourth dimension.“
(11/15/22) It looks like the announcement for the Battle For The Burgh and Kennywood’s new attraction will take place on Nov. 15th at 8:30am. Look for info on their social media platforms about how guests can climb aboard to a new intergalactic vehicle to save the city, and Kenny Kangaroo who has been abducted apparently.
(11/2/22) While Kennywood hasn’t revealed what the new attraction for 2023 is just yet, they’ve now adding a themed paint job to the building behind the attraction area, that includes images of flying UFO’s and the words, “Battle for the Burgh”.
(10/17/22) A reader dropped into Kennywood yesterday and reported that the same walls are still up around the former Volcano ride, but nothing seems to have been updated about what the new attraction for 2023 will be. Nearby the Cosmic Chaos ride, which already has a UFO theme, seems to be getting repainted, and two photos were sent in of that project.
(9/11/22) So what’s going on at Kennywood on the site of the former Volcano attraction? Blue walls are now up around the site, with weird yellow banners asking about alien sightings, “Aliens are Real!” warnings and so on. So is this a hint about a new alien themed attraction coming next season?
I’m pretty sure it is, because if you can scan the QR code on the wall it will take you to a page on the Kennywood titled as “UFOTracker” that features a distorted aerial image of the site in the park labeled, “Site 1122 Image #2023” along with warnings that “All Systems Are Currently Down” and that more information will be coming.
As for the Volcano, the old Huss Enterprise that was previously located here was removed after the 2020 season along with three other classic rides: Kangaroo, Paratrooper and the Bayern Curve. Fortunately the Kangaroo was updated, saved and returned for the 2022 season, but I believe all three of the other rides are gone for good, so there is no telling just what may be on the way.