The ride pictured above is called the Italian Swings, and this particular one is located at Knoebel's Grove, Elysburg, PA. Read more about the park below.
The Italian Swings are pretty darn cool, in my estimation. You start out going around in circles a few feet off the ground. Then you pick up speed, the whole roof telescopes upward (taking you with it), and then the roof tilts. You, in your swing, soar skyward on one side, then you plunge back down in almost a free-fall until you bottom out and start upward again. It's really thrilling. It's like soaring on the biggest swingset EVER, and when you drop down, you get that giddy feeling like your stomach is dropping out of your body.
Added bonus if you're a boy: the swing is decorated with vintage Italian art. Classical Italian Artwork. Which means topless Italian women. Very tastefully done, of course, but naked boobs all the same.
Like it. Love it. Couldn't wait to take my kids on it. When one of my sons was big enough (and brave enough), probably about age 4 or 5, we went on side-by-side. He loved it! I could hear him screaming and laughing with delight. And at one point, he called out, "I like this ride, Mom! It tickles my PEEEEEEEEEE-NIIIIIIIIIIIIIS!"
I've never heard a better endorsement in my life.
This is one of my favorite. memories. Ever.
Okay, on to Knoebel's.
They call themselves "America's Largest Free Admission Amusement Park." It may be true, I don't know; I haven't been to all of America's Free Admission Amusement Parks yet to see for myself.
This park is within driving distance of my hometown, and I've been going there regularly for as long as I can remember. I mean, seriously, as in pre-potty training memories. You can pay for a full-access handstamp, or go a-la-carte and purchase a book of ride tickets to spend as you please. It's very shady and cool (blistering summer days excluded), and the best thing (where should I start?) is you can come and go as you please, exit the park and re-enter at will, bring your own food and water bottles in and picnic in the park, bring your dogs, etc.
In my opinion, it used to be better before people outside the area got wind of it. Back then, you could let the kids scamper ahead of you, there were no "one-hour-from this point" line waiting signs, the attendants would let you stay on the rides longer if it wasn't busy.
Thanks to all the out-of-towners, those days are gone now, but for those other reasons it's still better than Dorney, HersheyPark, Six Flags, etc. You can even bring a camper, tent, or rent a cabin. Seriously folks, check it out. Of course, if you do, then I'll be complaining about YOU when you show up and make the place more crowded. Nowadays, the only times I'll go are before the school year lets out, after the school years starts again, and evenings when it might rain, because everybody leaves early on days like that and we once again have the place to ourselves.
Ever since our own kids were capable of sitting up and not trying to climb off the rides, we've been taking them, too. They start out on the Spanish Bambini, the boats, the Fire Trucks. Then they progress to the Kiddie Whip, Moon Walk, Turnpike. It's always a huge milestone when they're old enough to power their own Hand Car, drive their own Antique Car or go on the Bumper Cars by themselves.
Definitely click on the collage. Definitely. It's too small to see as is.