Summertime and a trip to Kennywood Park go hand in hand like butter and jelly on a sandwich. Unless you have a peanut allergy. Then, you obviously need an alternative! Well, that admittedly terrible joke is the setup for this week’s Throwback Thursday topic, and former Kennywood alternative, White Swan Park!
From 1955-1989, “The Little Amusement Park That Could” sat alongside PA Route 60 on the border of Findlay and Moon Township. The small scale amusement park was a wonderful alternative for those looking to avoid lengthy travel some would endure driving to Kennywood Park from the western side of the Pittsburgh area. On the other hand, others flocked for the more affordable pricing and intimate, family friendly environment. In hindsight, White Swan Park might look more like an over-glorified local carnival today, but don’t you dare tell those who frequented the park that!
White Swan Park was equipped with seven main theme park attractions and six “Kiddieland” rides. The Galaxi and Mad Mouse coasters were favorites in the main theme park, along with the Giant Slide, Ferris Wheel, Scrambler, Sports Skooter, and Tilt-a-Whirl. Kiddieland featured what was billed as “the longest train ride in the Tri-State area”. The park also featured a miniature golf course, a skee ball station, and gaming facility.
The park was ultimately closed down after the 1989 season when construction on Pittsburgh International Airport began, and the rides were auctioned off after closing. Most were purchased and used by other parks all over the country, however only the Tilt-a-Whirl is still in operation locally, at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA.