I was trying to think of the right phrase to start out this blog. It was between these:
-All good things must come to an end
-Don't be sad because it's over, smile because it happened
-Even though it hurts, change is the biggest hurdle when making progress
I suppose all of those phrases apply, but some kind of shocking news from Kennywood came today with the announcement that the Kangaroo, Paratrooper, Bayern Kurve and the Volcano will not be at the park whenever we get the chance to visit again. Those are 4 classic rides that have been around the park for a LONG time and hold a ton of memories for people in Western PA.
As a West Mifflin resident I feel like I need to serve as an unofficial spokesperson for Kennywood since I was there 18 times a summer growing up. I get all sides here. Clearly people are upset as you can see in the comments on all the social media platforms. It makes sense that they are upset. The 4 rides being retired are historic and in most cases are pretty tame compared to some of the newer and more intense rides the park has added in recent years. The park has had to make the difficult decision to retire other classic rides in the not so distant past - many of those decisions coming because of maintenance concerns and other issues related to the fact that many of the older rides are hard to repair because parts are hard to come by. While these decisions make sense from a business standpoint, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth of park visitors that feel like they don't recognize the place anymore because everything they loved is no longer there. I totally get all of those feelings.
Now look at it from a business standpoint. You hear constantly from folks that Kennywood is not as good as a place like Cedar Point or 6 Flags or some other massive amusement center. The rides at those parks are apparently bigger, scarier, more intense etc. So Kennywood makes the decision to make some updates to modernize the park and keep things new and fresh for the people that want to patronize the park each year. But once they make updates, they get backlash because change is hard and everyone wants to keep the same rides forever. No matter what, people can't ever be happy.
My point with all of this is: It's understandable to be upset about losing your favorite rides. Those are memories you always have with your family, friends etc. But at the same time, you can't fault the park for trying to keep things new, fresh and exciting so that they can compete with other entertainment options and make things awesome for the next generation of people looking for a day of fun. Would I have picked these 4 rides over others? Probably not - but obviously there is a reason behind why these 4 have been sent to the pearly gates. And who knows, maybe these rides will pop up again somewhere someday - either at Kennywood or maybe Idlewild (the sister park of Kennywood.)
It's bittersweet, but here's to hoping that whatever comes next at Kennywood is exciting and awesome. I mean you realize all of these rides are basically in the same area right? Context clues.
RIP Kangaroo, Paratroopers, Volcano and Bayern Kurve. You will be missed - OK maybe not the loud train horn from the Bayern Kurve lol.