Idlewild & SoakZone is the 2015 winner of the coveted Golden Ticket Award for Best Children's Park--the number one park for kids in the world. 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.Here's the web designer's memory of Idlewild.

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.

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. littlecarThey 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. Kennywood Park took ownership in 1983, and since then the park has grown exponentially, with the addition of a water park (Soak Zone) and many rides.

little swimmer

The location of the Soak Zone was originally an island known as Flower Island, until part of the surrounding lake was filled in. Under previous names it was called the H20hhh Zone and later Dr. Hydro's Soak Zone. The area originally consisted of just the pool and bathhouse, until slides were first added in 1985. A raft ride, Rafter's Run, was added the next year. The water park has since been expanded to include body slides, inner-tube slides, a slide with foam mats, and many features for children, including a miniature pool and Captain Kidd's Adventure Galley, a play area added in 2006. The swimming pool was replaced by a wave pool in 2011.rafter The addition was the park's single-largest capital improvement. For the 2013 season the park added a lazy river and an expanded beach. A wave pool was also built. Today, kids enjoy the water on rafts and innertubes.


Arthur Jennings, who portrayed the clown "Happy Dayze" in the park during the 1950s, was an accomplished engineer who approached park management about creating Story Book Forest, a theme park based on "emotion rather than motion". Jennings did much of the work himself, including life-sized models of fairy tales. The park, originally separate from Idlewild, opened in 1956.

The entrance to the Forest is a giant storybook which reads "Here is the Land of Once Upon a Time ... Step through the pages of this big Story Book ... and visit the people and places every child knows ... and Loves. Here dreams are real ... and so are your Story Book friends." Now incorporated with the rest of the park, Story Book Forest celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006.