pittsburgh weekend events

What new things can you expect when Kennywood opens? Details here.

This article by Matthew Monroy first appeared at NEXTpittsburgh.com, a media partner of Kidsburgh. Sign up here for NEXTpittsburgh’s free newsletter filled with all the latest news about the people driving change in our city and the innovative and cool things happening here. Photo above courtesy of Kennywood.

Allegheny County’s classic amusement park is coming back early this spring — and with a fresh look. Kennywood will open with refurbished attractions and rides on Easter weekend, a week sooner than previously slated.

Kennywood will open on Saturday, April 16, for season pass holders and on Sunday, April 17, for the general public. The 2022 season will kick off with the park’s opening event, Swing into Spring, which will run every weekend through May 22. The event will feature live music at the Garden Stage, family activities and special food offerings.

Speaking of special food: It was just announced that the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival will return to the park on Sept. 9. Early bird tickets are on sale now.

The West Mifflin park has been undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation project during its off-season to update the park ahead of its 125th anniversary in 2023.  Among the changes is the return of a fan favorite ride, the Kangaroo.

The 1962 flying coaster ride was among four attractions retired in 2020, much to the displeasure of Kennywood fans. It is being brought back this season with an updated look — a new concrete foundation, a fresh coat of paint and LED lights. 

But you have to wait to leap onto the Kangaroo, which will open on May 28, Memorial Day weekend.

“The Kangaroo really is the centerpiece of this refurbishment,” says Rob Henninger, Kennywood’s assistant general manager.

The gift shop near the Kangaroo also underwent a complete renovation to feature merchandise celebrating the park’s upcoming 125th anniversary.

Old Mill, Kennywood’s oldest ride, features an updated wooden facade. Photo courtesy of Kennywood.

But it’s not the only change you will notice. Old Mill, Kennywood’s oldest ride, which has been in operation since 1901, will feature an updated wooden facade to match the ride’s latest theme. The Thunderbolt and Phantom’s Revenge are also being repainted.

Other updates are designed to make getting around the park easier, including improvements to the ticketing processes. New walkways will guide guests around the parking lot, and security screening areas will be optimized to reduce wait times for entry. The entrance tunnel has been repainted and furnished with new lighting to create a brighter walkway for people entering the park.  

And if you need help navigating your way from Aero 360 to The Turtle, there is new directional signage around the park.

Food and drink locations, such as the Beer Garden, are also receiving makeovers to modernize their look and increase the speed of service. The candy and fudge shop, Kandy Kaleidoscope, has been revamped with floor-to-ceiling windows to show off the treats inside – and entice more people to stop by. Kennywood also added more self-serve drink stations and quick food options.

More information on Kennywood’s 2022 events and season pass ticket options can be found on the park’s website.

Meanwhile, Kennywood’s sister park, Idlewild and SoakZone, will also open early this year. Idlewild will welcome guests on Saturday, May 7, with the SoakZone water park hoping for good weather on Saturday, May 21. The season will run through Sunday, Oct. 30, making 2022 the longest season ever in Idelwild’s 145-year history.

Looking for more fun places to go? Check out our guide to April events and our big guide to spring fun.