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Amusement Parks: Kennywood – a Potted History

Kennywood is an amusement park located in West Miffin, Pennsylvania, not far from the city of Pittsburgh.

The amusement park’s origins date back to 1898 when it was a trolley park for the Monongahela Street Railway Company. In fact, such is its long and fascinating history, including being the site of the 1755 Battle of Monongahela, that it is only one of two amusement parks in the U.S actually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The amusement park is owned by Kennywood Entertainment – the original idea for the park being Anthony Kenny’s who owned the farmland upon which the amusement park now stands. Up until 2007, the amusement park was run as a small family business that was owned by the McSwigan and Henninger families, but today, it is operated by Palace Entertainment, a much larger international amusement park company.

Since the 1970s, the amusement park has constantly added new rides including several thrill rides, roller coasters and water rides. Its thrill rides include the Swing Shot and Aero 360, whilst Phantom’s Revenge – just one of several roller coasters at the amusement park – travels at speeds of up to 85mph.
Another popular attraction at the amusement park is Jugglemania where visitors are entertained by award-winning local Pittsburgh juggler, Michael Karas, who is reputed to be one of the best jugglers in the world. His juggling feats include clubs, torches, knives, rings and balls. 

The amusement park has two official slogans – “America’s Finest Traditional Amusement Park” and “Make a New Memory”, although an amusing phrase – “Kennywood’s Open!” is often used by locals to politely inform somebody that his or her zip on their trousers is undone.

In addition to the rides and other attractions, the amusement park also sits in a beautiful landscaped setting and has several stunning features including the Lagoon, which plays host to paddleboats and the Skycoaster. There’s also the Windmill that stands at the front of the park and which, at night, sees its four spinning blades lit up with thousands of lights.

Although the amusement park has seen several mascots come and go over the years such as the famous cartoon characters, Garfield and Odie, its official mascot remains Kenny the Kangaroo who has been around since the early 1970s and who is still welcoming and entertaining visitors today.

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