Location: Lingonier, Pennsylvania
Years Active: 1878 – Active
Idlewild and Soak Zone, commonly known as Idlewild Park or simply Idlewild, is a children’s amusement park in the Laurel Highlands near Ligonier, Pennsylvania, United States, about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh, along US Route 30.
Founded in 1878 as a campground along the Ligonier Valley Railroad by Thomas Mellon, Idlewild is the oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania and the third oldest operating amusement park in the United States behind Lake Compounce and Cedar Point. The park has won several awards, including from industry publication Amusement Today as the best children’s park in the world.
The prominent Mellon family established the park in 1878, and remained family-owned for over 100 years. It expanded greatly throughout the first half of the 20th century, adding rides, including a Philadelphia Toboggan Company Rollo Coaster in 1938, one of the company’s earliest.
The park is home to the Ligonier Highland Games, a Scottish athletic and cultural festival that has annually drawn over 10,000 spectators.
In 1983, the park was purchased by Kennywood Entertainment Company, which oversaw additional expansion, including an attraction designed and voiced by Fred Rogers based on his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Since 2008, the park, as well as others formerly under Kennywood Entertainment, have been owned by Spanish company Parques Reunidos and operated by their American subsidiary Palace Entertainment.