The amusement park is owned and operated by the Knoebel family, who also operate a lumber yard next door to the park. The name Knoebel is pronounced with the hard K sound (kuh-NO-bel.) The park's name has also traditionally been spelled Knoebels without the apostrophe, and appears that way on all official park advertising and correspondence.
The year 1926 marks the official beginning of Knoebels Amusement Park. That year, Knoebel added a restaurant, a steam-powered Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel and a few simple games to his grove. On July 4 of that year, he opened a large concrete swimming pool on the site of the old swimming hole. Featuring a filtration system that provided clean water instead of muddy creek water, the pool was named "The Crystal Pool". Since then the park has developed around the pool, adding 50 more rides in addition to assorted games, concession stands and other attractions. A campground with six sites opened behind the amusement park in 1962, and as of 2004 the campground covered 160 acres (650,000 m²) with 500 sites.
On June 22, 1972, the creeks that run through Knoebels overflowed six feet over their banks, swollen with heavy rains from Hurricane Agnes. The flood destroyed six cottages and damaged many other buildings, including 24 out of 25 rides and the park's roller rink. Work began on a new building but it was later decided that the original roller rink could not be reused, and the new building under construction became the Haunted Mansion. The roller rink building was refloored and used as a skating rink until the mid 1980s when it was converted into the "Roaring Creek Saloon", which now hosts a concession stand, an arcade, the XD Theater, and free performances. To prove that the park had recovered from the flood, the "Haunted Mansion" dark ride was opened in 1973. The ride has been recognized as one of America's best dark rides by organizations such as Dark Ride and Funhouse Enthusiasts and The National Amusement Park Historical Association.
The park again suffered major flooding in 1975, 1996, 2004, and 2006. Each caused substantial damage but the 1975 and 1996 floods occurred during the off-season. The January 1996 flood cause substantial damage but the worst part may have been that as soon as the waters receded, everything froze making cleanup and repair throughout the amusement park difficult. The September 2004 flood, caused by what was left of Hurricane Ivan, was only a half-day affair and Knoebels staff had the amusement park partially reopened by mid-afternoon and allowed any remaining patrons to ride for free.
On June 28, 2006 a flood second only to the Agnes flood struck Knoebels. About 90 percent of the amusement park was under water just prior to the July 4th weekend. As the waters began to recede Wednesday morning, Knoebels staff jumped into action. Expending over 11,000 man hours in just a few days the park was able to reopen over 60 percent of its attractions by 6:00 pm Friday. By Sunday evening over 90 percent of the amusement park was operational. The Crystal Pool took 10 days to get back in business, over 100 tons of mud had to be dug out of the pool. The last ride to return to operation was the Kiddie Panther Cars. The entire track for this ride had been undermined and was a twisted mess. Repairs took almost three weeks.
|High Speed Thrill Coaster||1955||A steel roller coaster in operation since 1955, believed to be the last operating Overland coaster in the world. Although it was designed to be a children's coaster, it is very popular among adults due to its major airtime on the ride's bunny hills.|
|Phoenix||1985||A relocated and restored Herb Schmeck (Philadelphia Toboggan Company) design. The first large-scale wooden roller coaster relocation. This ride was purchased from the Playland amusement park in San Antonio, Texas. It operated under the name of Rocket before being moved to Knoebels. Uses Buzz bars.|
|Twister||1999||A slightly redesigned "Mister Twister," a 1964 John Allen design.|
|Flying Turns||projected June 2009||A wooden bobsled roller coaster modeled after a 1920s John Norman Bartlett and John A. Miller design. The coaster was being constructed to open Memorial Day Weekend 2007, but it has been pushed back numerous times and should now open in 2009 on the site of the former Whirlwind (and Jet Star before that) roller coasters listed below.|
|Jet Star||1977||A standard production model Schwarzkopf Jet Star, removed from Knoebels after the 1992 season. This ride was purchased from Schwarzkopf, originally owned by an independent operator who fell on some hard times. After being removed from Knoebels the Jet Star was relocated to Morey's Piers where it also operated under the name Jet Star. It is unknown where this ride now resides.|
|Whirlwind||1993||A Vekoma Whirlwind double corkscrew roller coaster, removed from Knoebels after the 2004 season. This ride was purchased from the Playland amusement park in New York, it operated under the name of Whirlwind before being moved to Knoebels. After the 2004 operating season the ride was moved to Parque de Diversiones Dr. Roberto Ortiz Brenes and operates under the name Bocaraca.|
The primary sit-down restaurant at the park is the Alamo. Counter service restaurants include Cesari's Pizza, Oasis Cafeteria, Phoenix Junction Steakhouse and the International Food Court. Food ranges from "Famous Fresh Cut French Fries", pierogi (a mashed potato filled Polish dumpling) and potato cakes to Bison burgers and Gator bites to milkshakes and homemade fudge. The park also features novelty items like the pickle on a stick.
The park's Cesari's Pizza and the International Food Court were featured on a Food Network special.