Roller coasters are a lot like music. No, I don’t mean the sound of people screaming behind your ears or even the melodious sound of the coaster as it speeds up and down the rails. For many, that is music to their ears. Roller coasters are like music in that there will always be contemporary and old school. The new, and the old. And each will have its fans.

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For those who are into old school roller coasters, you will definitely love Lakemont Park.

Lakemont Park – More Than Just the Rides, It’s a Living Monument

Lakemont Park, located in Altoona, Pennsylvania, is home to the world’s oldest-surviving roller coaster, the Leap-The-Dips. Officially opened in 1894 (oh my gosh, 1894?), it is America’s favorite amusement park. On June 19, 1996, the Leap-The-Dips roller coaster was added to the list of National Historic Landmarks by the National Park Service. To a roller coaster, that’s like being inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame.

Altoona, PA – Backdrop of Lakemont Park

To fully appreciate Lakemont Park you, first of all, have to appreciate its setting. Just like the true beauty of a diamond is seen by placing it on a dark background, so too the true beauty of Lakemont Park is seen through its host city.

Altoona, just like Lakemont Park, is a beautiful and picturesque city set in beautiful mountains and valleys. And just like Lakemont Park, Altoona has a rich and colorful history. For example:

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  • Altoona is also home to “Horseshoe Curve”, a curved section of rail track built by the Pennsylvania Railroad which has become a tourist attraction and National Historic Landmark. Horseshoe curve was used to raise trains to a sufficient elevation so as to enable them to cross the Allegheny Ridge to the west.
  • Because Horseshoe Curve was an industrial link to the western U.S., it was a primary target of eight Nazi saboteurs who had infiltrated the U.S. during World War II.

According to the 2016 statistics, Altoona is home to 44,589 Altoids (or Altoonian if you want), making it a nice quiet city (for those looking for a place to retire to).

Other Amusement Parks in PA 

Sure, Lakemont Park in Altoona is one of the major highlights in Pennsylvania, but there are other amusement parks for you to check out when you plan your trip to Lakemont Park. Actually, there are 14 different amusement parks with more than 50 roller coaster rides in Pennsylvania. Talk about a ride loving state. A few of the amusement parks that are situated in Pennsylvania are:

  • Brandywine Picnic Park. Though it once had a wooden roller coaster, Brandywine only has a few rides left and is mainly used to host private functions. It also opens to the public on select days.
  • Carousel Village at Indian Walk. This is more of a place to shop than an amusement park but it does have some rides (the roller coaster was removed though) and antique cars for those who love them.
  • Conneaut Lake Park. Conneaut Lake Park is home to the Blue Streak, a wooden roller coaster recognized as a landmark by American Coaster Enthusiasts for its historic significance. It opened in the park in 1938.
  • DelGrosso’s Amusement Park. Named after the famous tomato sauce company that runs it, this is another tasty stop-over when you are in Pennsylvania.
  • Dorney Park and Wild water kingdom. More rides and thrilling water parks in this amusement park set in a beautiful garden-like backdrop.
  • Waldermeer. Waldameer Water World is located just a few minutes from the famous Lake Erie. The water park has a new complex with over 100 attractions which include 7 water slides.

Back to the Attractions at Altoona

Besides Lakemont Park, there are other things to do in Altoona, cool things for that matter. For those who love trips to museums, Altoona has a number of different museums such as:

  • Castle Halloween Museum
  • Quaint Corner Children’s Discovery Center
  • Southern Allegheny Museum of Art
  • Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum

For those into sports, there is Galactic Ice, an amazing ice rink, horse trails, and a bowling alley. The list is actually endless but, I don’t want to disturb you as you pack your bags.

Time for a Road Trip!

If you haven’t been to Altoona, I don’t know what you are waiting for. If you are planning a family vacation, you have just found your destination. And if you are coming outside the state of Pennsylvania, make it a road trip so you get to enjoy all the other amusement parks and sites in this ride crazy state.

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