dog friendly amusement park
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Dog Friendly Amusement Park and Safe Travels Getting There

dog friendly amusement park

A dog friendly amusement park sounds like a dream, right? It’s summer in full swing, dog lovers, and that means family getaways. Millions of families visit amusement parks each summer, yet very few actually allow well-behaved leashed dogs to enter their premises. Fidose of Reality has the scoop on a Pennsylvania amusement park that not only allows dogs in, they welcome them as the full-fledged family members they are.

Of course, a trek to the amusement park means safety matters en route to the fun. A new study has emerged, and we are amongst the first in the nation to report the three stand out products that passed the 2015 Crate and Carrier Crashworthiness Studies – a collaborative initiative to examine the effectiveness and safety of pet crates and carriers in the event of a crash.

Dog Friendly Amusement Park

Knoebels is a free-admission dog friendly amusement park for families, with roller coasters, classic rides, award-winning food, campgrounds, a golf course, and a pool. The amusement park is not Disneyland and is not super duper high tech. It feels like yesteryear where life was simple and fun. It feels like the amusement parks of my childhood. Located in a small wooded valley in central Pennsylvania called Elysburg, it has been America’s largest free-admission park for 89 years of operation.

Ask me why we played this game 😉

Here’s the official pet policy: Knoebels insists that all pets be on leashes and kept under control, and all pet owners are required to clean up after their pets. Check, we got that. If you go to an amusement park and it’s summer time, use common sense: Dogs should be well hydrated, have paw protection, and kept in shady areas without having to walk excessive amounts. And if it is too hot out, don’t take a dog to an amusement park. Pets cannot go in gift shops, on most rides, nor in any restaurant. Okay, got it: So here’s how you deal with it.

Walking dog at amusement park
Dexter taking in the sights at Knoebels.

Food: Most of the food you eat at an amusement park comes from walk up stands where covered tables are nearby. Dogs are welcome at those tables, so we eat any number of foods at the park. They have everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to tacos and pizza. One of the most fun elements of an amusement park involves the not-so-fat-free foods: From cotton candy to kettle corn and everything in between. If you want junk food, sweets, and yummy summer treats: Knoebels has it. There are also healthy items like salads and fruits.

Rides: I would not recommending taking a dog on an amusement park ride, and most rides are off limits to pets. There are over 60 rides for those who want to have some fun on them.

amusement park ride
Dexter says, “Hey Mom, do I measure up?”

Shops: Peppered throughout the park are shops galore: From my personal favorite, the Christmas Shop, to little souvenir shops, a general store, airbrush shop, and old time photos. We take turns with the dog so we can shop, and it is never a problem for us. There also plenty of games to play throughout the park.

christmas shop

Wi-fi is available, by the way, throughout the park.

What to Pack When You Go: Do you know 10 items to take for a trip like this? Click here to read our Ten Safety Items For Dogs piece along with other tips to rock a road trip with your dog. The park is huge, so take comfortable walking shoes!

Doggie Dive: On Sunday, September 13, 2015, Knoebels will host a Doggie Dive for people and their pets to come out and have fun at Crystal Pool on premises.  This event was organized as a fundraiser for local Animal Rescue organizations, and 100% of the proceeds are donated.  There will be swimming, a Chinese auction, a bake sale, visits from some rescue organizations, food and much more fun! You can register at the gate the day of the event.

You can rent pavilions and have private parties, too: Pet friendly!

Visit the Knoebels website for complete information at

Safe Travels with a Dog

We use a car harness to restrain our dog while traveling.  If a pet is unrestrained, or the structural integrity should fail, the dog can potentially strike and injure a human passenger. Many pet parents choose a pet carrier or crate to keep the dog inside while traveling. While many crate and carrier manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested and safe for use in a vehicle, there are currently no test protocols or performance standards in the U.S. to substantiate these claims.

Subaru of America, Inc. and Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit research and consumer advocacy organization, announced the results of the 2015 Crate and Carrier Crashworthiness Studies. Here are the three products that passed the test:

(1) Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie Down Straps, a sturdy travel device that was able to withstand the most significant forces generated in CPS testing with a combination of strong structural support and integrity.

dog kennel for CPS safety

(2) Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier used an innovative ISOFIX-Latch connection, to snap the carrier firmly into place and fully contain the test dog throughout the crash test.

dog kennel

(3) Sleepypod, was also recognized in the carrier category for the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock, a product that snugly straps into the seat and showed no evidence of damage after crash testing.

crash test
They really crash the items full force into the wall to test them.

The full product performance report studies can be found at

Do you have any dog-oriented trips planned for this summer? Let us know in the comments below! Does Knoebels sound fun for you?

(Note: We were not compensated to tell you any of this; we just believe in sharing health and wellness fun and tips for dog lovers of the highest order.)


  1. We always wear our German Autobahn approved seat belts no matter where we are going in the car. How fun to go to an amusement park, but I’m sure to be far to short to go on the rides. It would be fun, though. It is so neat it is admission free, amazing!

  2. I wish it was a little closer as that Amusement Park sounds great. Maybe we’ll make a road trip in September. Thanks for the tips on what to bring. I will pass the crate suggestions to a friend. She was in a car accident and the crates and back of the van broke open and the dogs were thrown out. Her adorable puppy was killed on the highway- so tragic. I think I may get the Sleepypod for Kilo.

    1. That is terrible, and I am so sorry to read that. We use an in-car harness and I sit in the back seat like Driving Miss Daisy.

  3. I wouldn’t think there would be any amusement parks that would allow dogs. Interesting. I like the rides, so wouldn’t want to take my pup, even if he was okay with lots of noise and people, which he’s not. He’d rather stay home in peace

    1. Yeah it can be noisy but it is also fun and is laid back when kids are not around and on weekdays. Dex is fine with it – we’ve been traveling with him since puppyhood and he has his Canine Good Citizen title, too 😉 We also like it to people watch, relax, and hang out. You can just go and avoid the less congested areas of the park.

  4. This amusement park sounds like a nice relaxing day of fun with your family and dogs. It’s such a great idea! People don’t necessarily need all of the high-tech gadgets, just an excuse to hang out together. I don’t really have any pet-friendly ventures planned for this summer as my cats are not fond of travel. If they were, places like this amusement park would definitely be on my radar!

  5. That sounds like a really cool place! We’ve taken our dogs to crowded market places like that before and while they weren’t that thrilled about it they are just happy to be with us rather than being left at home.

  6. If I lived anywhere nwar PA, I would definitely check out Knoebels! Though it’s getting better, so many businesses are not pet-friendly let alone pet-welcoming, so I always try to support those that will have me and my entire family!

  7. A Dog friendly Amusement Park sounds like fun for the entire family. The Safety Tip is definitely pin worth.. I always wondered how they are able to safely put the Dogs on the Plane

  8. Dog friendly amusement parks! That is awesome! I’m not sure if our dog would enjoy this type of park. She likes just the good old fashioned parks lol!

  9. A dog friendly amusement park – that’s a first! What a fabulous idea, I’d love to go. And I have to say that I LOVE Christmas stores so that Christmas Cottage looks wonderful! Great info on crate & carrier crashworthiness, I hadn’t thought much about that! We are planning a few days out in the Hamptons, Long Island NY with our dogs and in the Fall we’re traveling to Nappa Valley with them to attend a wedding. The dogs won’t actually be at the wedding, but we plan to spend a few extra days out there with the dogs. Should be great! We love PA so maybe we’ll be able to visit Knoebels some time.

  10. I’m so jealous! I wish we had a dog friendly amusement park here! I shouldn’t complain too much since Arizona is super dog friendly and dogs are welcome pretty much anywhere. However, OMG Christmas shop?!?! Yes please!

    1. I know they had so many cute shops, Amanda, and we love going there. We are planning on going again next month since it isn’t far from us. Now I cannot wait to see you and visit Arizona next year!

  11. Being from an area with very few dog-friendly areas I always love to hear of activities to enjoy with your dog. Very important dog travel tips too!

  12. Thanks for sharing this. We recently got a dog and hate having to leave him behind when we go out as a family. Wish more places were dog-friendly!

  13. I had no idea there was such a park in existence, I couldn’t even imagine how much of a mental workout going to a place like that is for dogs. I love that it’s not super high tech either, that’s the sort of park I absolutely love. The sights, smells, sounds – all bring back so many fun memories of a simpler time & place.

  14. Such a cool place! We will have to check it out when we are passing through. I had no idea about the crate safety study, very interesting. Our boys dont ride in crates but there is more we can do to keep them safe in the car.

  15. This is great. That is the reason we never go to amusement parks. Happy to know there is one, and that makes a reason to go. I also sit in the back seat like a celebrity with my chauffeur driving, while my dog wears an attached harness. I think anytime when a dog is out and about, a harness is extra protection. I found having a harness on a dog at all times when outside of the yard is very important. It makes it quick to grab your dog for any reason needed. Also, walking a dog is safer with harness and not to have anything pulling or putting pressure on the neck. When around people and other dogs, I usually add the head halter to make absolutely sure I have full control of my large dog in any situation. I would use both the head halter and a body harness at an amusement park. Thanks for the great news, an amusement park that allows dogs. We will plan a trip to go.

  16. Wow, I have never heard of an amusement park that allowed dogs that weren’t service dogs. That is so cool.

  17. Oh very cool! I hope more will start to allow dogs too. We only go on “vacation” to places where Tucker & Abby can go along with us, so it’s been quite a long time since I’ve been to an amusement park. When we are at big public places like this, they spend the day in their PetGear stroller so they aren’t bothering anyone, and to them it’s their crate to take the sights in from safety.

  18. We were just at Knoebles yesterday! I’ve been going there since I was a kid and have taken my own kids there several times now. Yesterday we didn’t take our dogs along and they stayed with a pet sitter. We took them last year though. It was nice that they could come, but in the end we found it a bit too stressful trying to manage two dogs PLUS three kids. It was a very hot day and it was just too much for all of us. This year we left them with a sitter and I think it was a lot easier (for us) to navigate the park. One thing I worried about was how hot the pavement must have been for the dogs’ paws. I really like that they have water bowls set out at various spots for the dogs and waste bag stations too. Knoebles is a really cool park and we’ll likely be going again next year.

  19. Who knew? I had absolutely no idea that there was a pet-friendly amusement park! What an awesome idea!! I would spend all of my time checking out all the other pups! I would also take the girls’ stroller. I think it keeps them a bit more protected from larger dogs that can get out of hand. That works very well for me at the vet! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Even when I don’t partake, I love to hear of more places that are open to pets for people who are traveling. I can’t see taking mine to an amusement park, but there are lots of festivals that it would be nice to take them too, where they would happily pull up a piece of grass and sit next to me while I was enjoying a show or shopping, etc. Sadly, most of these venues only allow animals when legally required to do so. Perhaps as we prove our animals can be good for business we will have more opportunities.

    1. Such a good point, Bailey. My dog has his Canine Good Citizen title and it really has helped with his bond with me and with his doggie manners in public.

  21. This is something new for me! I didn’t know such parks existed. Thank you for the article. Will definitely visit this park with my four-legged friend.

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