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Idlewild & SoakZone has recieved the coveted Golden Ticket Award for Best Children's Park. Introduced in 1998, the Golden Tickets are the most prized awards in the industry and are awarded based on a poll of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans worldwide in a survey conducted by Amusement Today. The 2012 poll was the ninth for the category of Best Children's Park. Below is the placement of Idlewild & SoakZone each year:
2012 - Golden Ticket Award Winner - Best Children's Park
2011 - Golden Ticket Award Winner - Best Children's Park
2010 - Golden Ticket Award Winner - Best Children's Park
2009 - 2nd Place, Best Children's Park
2008 - 2nd Place, Best Children's Park
2007 - 2nd Place, Best Children's Park
2006 - 2nd Place, Best Children's Park
2005 - 2nd Place, Best Children's Park
2004 - 2nd Place, Best Children's Park
Minors (anyone under the age of 18):
We strongly recommend that minors be accompanied by an adult. The park does not assume any responsibility or liability for unattended minors.
Free, convenient parking is located throughout the grounds. Handicap parking is available in all parking areas, but is most conveniently located in Lots A, C, D, and E.
If it rains
Sorry, we do not issue rain checks or refunds. An overcast day means shorter lines and just as many thrills! Most rides and attractions continue to operate in light rain. In the event of heavy downpours or an electrical storm, many rides and attractions will close until the storm has passed and then reopen.
Proper Attire / Recommended Dress
For your safety, proper attire must be worn in all amusement areas. Shoes, shirts, pants or shorts are required within the park, with the exception of within SoakZone, where proper swim attire is required. Approved swimsuits (no metal decorations) are required for SoakZone pools and waterslides. Lockers are available for a small fee near the Bath House at SoakZone. Idlewild is a family park, and as such does not permit any overtly offensive behavior, language, or clothing. This includes, but is not limited to, profanity, clothing with hateful messages, pornography, vulgarity, illegal acts, and/or divisive political messages.
Picnic Baskets / Coolers / Grills
Guests are permitted to bring their own picnic basket into the park.You may enjoy your picnic lunch in one of our scenic picnic groves. Pavilions that are reserved for group events will be marked with a RESERVED sign. Any pavilion that is not reserved is open to the general public. You may claim some picnic tables within for your group, but please be courteous and share the pavilion with other parties. Grilling is not permitted within a pavilion, but must be done outside of any pavilion. Picnic baskets/coolers are permitted at SoakZone, but absolutely no glass bottles/dishes or grills are permitted within SoakZone.
Strollers, Wagons, & Wheelchairs
A limited number of Strollers, Wagons, and Wheelchairs are available for rent at Guest Services located behind the General Store in Hootin' Holler. The park does not have motorized skooters available for rent. An ID is required for rentals as a deposit. All rentals are available on a first-come basis.
- Single Stollers: $12.50 /day
- Double Stollers: $14.50 /day
- Wagons: $12.50 /day
- Standard Wheelchairs: $12.50 /day.
Lockers are available for a small fee at the SoakZone. Rates are $8/day plus a $3 deposit that is returned when the key is returned. Lockers are available only until 6:00 p.m. when SoakZone closes. Dimensions are 11" wide X 13.5" high X 16"deep.
ATM Banking Machines
ATM Banking Machines are located inside the Idlewild Clothing Company in Olde Idlewild, and inside the General Store in Hootin' Holler.
Method of Payment
We welcome Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express at ticket booths, and most gift shops and food stands. (Sorry, these locations do not currently accept credit cards: Ricky's Grill, Kettle Korn, Lemonade, and Dippin' Dot carts). A photo ID is required for all credit card payments. Traveler's checks are also accepted, but personal or organizational checks are not accepted at ticket booths, gift shops or food stands.
Idlewild and SoakZone is a family environment to be enjoyed by all. Therefore we have made efforts to accommodate both smokers and non-smokers. As a courtesy to our guests and for safety reasons, we ask that smokers refrain from smoking in all areas of the park except for parking lots and those areas that are specifically marked as Designated Smoking Areas. Additionally, smoking is prohibited in all queue lines, on all rides and attractions, inside pavilions and at all restaurant seating and theater locations. Management reserves the right to ask any guest to extinguish cigarettes/cigars/pipes immediately if they are not in a designated smoking area, and also to ask any guest to leave, without refund, for continued non-compliance.
Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requires VGB-compliant pool drain grates. We are VGB compliant, but please note in some applications these grates have a raised profile off the floor as mandated by the Law. Warning: Raised Grate. All of our raised grates have a red circle highlighting their location. They are designed to be stepped on but in shallow water situations they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Alcoholic beverages, firearms and pets are not permitted on park grounds.
- Some rides are restricted by height. Please see our height checking system at Guest Services.
- Hand-held infants are not permitted on most rides.
- Children that cannot walk independently to the ride, disabilities excluded, are considered Hand Held Infants. Most rides and attractions cannot accommodate Hand Held Infants.
- We strongly suggest that minors under the age of 18 be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. The parent/guardian is solely responsible for supervision of their minors. The park does not assume any responsibility or liability for unattended minors. Children are the responsibility of the parent or guardian.
Idlewild Park came into existence when William Darlington, owner of the property, gave "the right and privilege to occupy his land for picnic purposes or pleasure grounds" to Judge Thomas Mellon, owner of the Ligonier Valley Railroad. The date was May 1, 1878.
Prior to this time, the Ligonier Valley Railroad, accommodating narrow gauge trains, was used solely to move coal from the mines at Fort Palmer (five miles north of Ligonier) to Latrobe, where it would connect with the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. With the Darlington-Mellon agreement, development of the Park would include campgrounds on both sides of the railroad right-of-way, an artificial lake created for boating and fishing, picnic tables and a large hall. To promote the Park, Idlewild was advertised in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas with special appeals to churches and schools. The Park continued its success as a picnic area, enticing city dwellers for a weekend in the country aboard the Ligonier Valley Railroad, which had a station at the Park.
Before 1931, attempts to commercialize America's most beautiful, purely recreational park had failed. During that year, C.C. Macdonald and Richard B. Mellon, son of Judge Thomas Mellon, became interested in Idlewild. They pooled their resources to improve the property and developed more amusements. As manager in this new partnership, C.C. Macdonald planned and supervised the construction of rides, pavilions, lunchrooms, bandstands, and many attractions which are still part of Idlewild today, including a 3-row Philadelphia Toboggan Co. carousel.
1952 saw the end of the Ligonier Valley Railroad. Although it had been a vital factor to the early success of Idlewild Park, its abandonment had little effect on the continued success of the Park. Under the new owners, the Macdonald Family, who purchased the Park from the Mellons in 1951, Idlewild Park continued to grow and improve. Story Book Forest was added in 1956.
Few changes were made at Idlewild Park until February, 1983 when Kennywood Park Corporation took ownership. During the first winter, major changes began to occur. Jumpin' Jungle, a children's area was added. Story Book Forest was no longer run as a separate operation and became, instead, one more attraction in the Idlewild Park entertainment complex. Historic Village, once located on the Ligonier side of Story Book Forest, was relocated to the center of the Park for the 1984 Season and was renamed Hootin' Holler'.
With the ever-growing popularity across the country in waterparks and attractions, 1985 saw the creation of the H20hhh Zone and the addition of Little Squirts eight years later. 1989 provided expansion across the Loyalhanna Creek with the addition of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe and a trip on the Neighborhood Trolley. This area was expanded in 1990 to feature a new kiddieland area, Raccoon Lagoon.
The 1990's began the wildest years yet as the Wild Mouse Coaster made its debut in Olde Idlewild. The 21st Century brought additions of state-of-the-art slides and other participatory water activities, doubling the waterpark's size and leading to a new name: Idlewild & SoakZone!
The future of Idlewild is one of growth and improvement. Yet despite this progress, the park will always
maintain the natural beauty and romantic atmosphere that attracted families more than a century ago.
On October 6, 2012, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission recognized Idlewild Park,
and its long history, with a roadside marker. A fitting tribute to the longest-operating park in the state,
and third oldest in the entire country.