Waiting for good weather in Pittsburgh is like waiting in line for the ThunderBolt –we know we’ll eventually get our turn but it always feels like such a long wait. This summer has been a bit wet and dreary and Kennywood, usually a trusted place to shake off those gray-sky blues, hasn’t been bringing its usual gold-arrow-colored sunshine to our days.

Kennywood’s 2019 summer season has had a bit of a rough start – from its unexplainable cheese-swap decision to its unimaginable ketchup-coup. On top of those Potato Patch indiscretions the Steel Curtain and several other rides are acting all Cleveland and not showing up for their fans.

While we all wait for clear skies and a Kennywood-as-we-know-and-love-it the park is still a great place to take a stroll, people watch, and snag a cool (non-ride) pic for your Instagram. We recently toured the park and did just that.

Follow the yellow arrow this way to Kennywood’s most instagrammable spots.

Kennywood Gates

As you enter Kennywood Park the arch over the walkway welcomes you. Pause for a moment under the carousel horse archway and get ready for a day of summer adventures ahead.

Wall Art outside the Kennywood Tunnel

As you near the entrance to the infamous Kennywood Tunnel (where, much like all other Pittsburgh tunnels, traffic slows down for inexplicable reasons) the walls pop with color and shadow figures. If you’re going for an artsy take on the park stop here and grab a fun pic.

Cowboy Joe

Cowboy Joe is the most cliché spot for a pic, but don’t discount it. With kids clamoring on his lap and many mulling around it can be hard to get a second alone with the old man, but with patience you’ll get a chance to saddle up for a moment. As you look back on pics from your visits each year you’ll wonder where the time has gone and how things change, but Cowboy Joe will always be there – unchanged, welcoming, ready for your visit.  


Whether you grab a pic on the ride or stand back far enough to get the whole thing in, the carousel is a must-take photo while you are at Kennywood. The Historical Landmark plays tunes from a Wurlitzer and the beautiful horses (and lion) prance and spin so beautifully.

Swirls of colors, lights, music, and laughter – That’s Kennywood right there.  

Carousel Garden

No idea what this place is actually called, but if you take a moment to look around at the landscape on your way to the Mushroom water fountain you’ll spy a beautifully manicured garden with a very tall horse on a carousel spoke. Since you aren’t allowed to ride it you’ll have to settle for just a picture and dreams of one day sneaking a ride on the tallest carousel horse.

Mushroom Water Fountain

You may not usually be a fan of drinking Mon water but when it’s a mushroom-shaped water fountain how can you not? With three spigots there’s mushroom for you and all your friends to grab a sip of the metallic water all at the same time. Ahh refreshing – Tastes like Kennywood.


The entrance of the Racer offers a great wide-angle, full-view of a roller coaster so there’s that. But it also has the wooden coaster design charm along with a fun curved entrance. With the Steel Curtain now looming large over it the view of it has changed – so have fun playing around with the right angle to grab a pic of the “wood-vs-metal” “past-vs-present” juxtaposition.

Noah’s Ark

Okay so we went rogue for this one and snagged a pic while inside a “ride”. But everything was neon so how could we pass the opportunity by? If you’re lucky enough to sneak a few extra moments in this room to get your own pic be sure to be wearing white so your body also pops with color.

Kiddieland Entrance

The Kiddieland gates are a red, blue, and yellow structure of fun colors, shape, and size. Either play with the angles and get another artsy pic or grab your standard straight-ahead view — either way you can’t go wrong.

Leo the Lion Garbage Can

Every Kiddieland visit must include a stop by the roaring Leo the Lion garbage can so that you can fearfully throw your trash into a lion’s mouth. Just watching kids be excited-scared as they approach his mouth is also worth the stop. Not too far away you’ll also get a chance to put your head in a lion’s mouth to grab another sip of water -that too is a must stop. (If you don’t get why a garbage can is an instagrammable hotspot you just aren’t Pittsburgh enough.)

Thunderbolt Mural

The Thunderbolt Mural, much like the rest of Kennywood, has an old fashioned but timeless look. Catch the timing just right and you can get both the mural and the lightning quick coaster cars in one photo. After you get your pic be sure to grab a partner and get in line.

Pittsburg Plunge

This is the classic “I went to Kennywood and took this amazing photo” location. Plumes of water shooting up as the Pittsburg Plunge plunges down is a jaw-dropping sight. That along with all the mini-plumes and a large fountain you won’t be able to decide what to focus on. Around its perimeter is also one of the best places to cool off on a hot day without having to get on a ride. Stand close to get soaked. Stand back to enjoy a light mist.

(PS. No “Pittsburg” isn’t spelled wrong. This Lost Kennywood ride celebrates a time when the ‘h’ was so silent it was also invisible.)

Bavarian Wave Swinger

The Bavarian Wave Swinger swings near the main roadway and rises up until it soars over all those below. It’s a fun spot to catch a wide-angle shot of something so quintessentially Kennywood.

Golden Nugget Ice Cream Cone

This one requires you purchase ice cream but that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Grab one of these double-wide cones dipped in chocolate, sprinkles or nuts, and topped with a cherry then wander (Quickly! Before it melts!) to whatever spot you want to serve as the backdrop then snag that pic to make your followers salivate with envy.

Goodnight Heart at the Kennywood Tunnel

Yes, we’re back at the tunnel again (what can we say – we’re Pittsburghers and we love our tunnels). As you leave the park at night the heart glows bright red wishing you a “Goodnight”. And you think: Despite the cheese- ketchup-closed-ride issues it indeed was another good day and night making new Kennywood memories so you wish Kennywood a “Goodnight” back.

At the risk of making a list that ends up just being every spot in Kennywood we’re gonna stop ourselves there. Because that was just Kennywood by day. When dusk settles in and the lights come on around the park everything takes on a magical glow and warm-happy memories find a way to seer themselves into your mind. Just look around – You’re sure to find more great places to snag your own timeless pics of Kennywood’s magic.

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Mo Macel

Mo is a pun-loving Pittsburgher who likes to take photos and write. When not focusing on her kiddos, you'll find her pursuing happiness and working on living the American Dream via one craft beer at a time. She blogs at givegodyouryes.com and fullhipster.com.

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