ELYSBURG — As gasoline prices hit record highs and the summer travel season approaches, many families will have to chose affordable outings closer to home.

“We understand families still want to have their time together, and we want this to be the place they chose to do that,” said Joe Muscato, marketing director at Knoebels Groves Amusement Resort in Elysburg.

The park prides itself on tradition and reasonable prices, said Muscato, who added that Knoebels Groves has been able to keep its prices down while everything else seems to cost more.

“The increases, we think, were reasonable for this year,” Muscato said. “The hand stamps went up about a $1. The rides around the park, I think, we raised somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen or 15 rides a dime each. So a lot of rides are still the same price they were last year. We keep it as reasonable as we can.”

Muscao said Knoebels’ prices remain low because he can’t see justifying an increase in prices. He also questions the prices of competitors.

“You know, I think we ask the question, ‘Why are they raising the prices so high?’” Muscato said.

The park itself operates mostly on electricity. The flyers run on propane. The bumper boats and the high-speed thrill coaster, often referred to as the “kiddie coaster” are the only rides at the park that operate on gasoline.

High gasoline prices won’t hurt the park’s business, Muscato said.

“This will be an interesting year to see what happens with gas prices,” Muscato said. “The last time we had a spike in gas prices we did well, actually. A lot of people stayed more locally. A lot of people took shorter vacations. There’s a very good chance that we’ll have a good season because we will be the nearby, affordable alternative. Free admission, free parking, free picnic facilities, free entertainment.

“All that stuff, plus prices that we believe are reasonable.”

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