American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes the Phoenix as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historical significance.
Originally opened as The Rocket, it operated at Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas from August 1947 until the park closed in 1980. Designed by Herbert P. Schmeck (1890-1956) and built by Frank Hoover (1903-1987) of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, it was purchased by the Knoebel family in 1983, and then later dismantled and moved to Pennsylvania.
Under the direction of Hartman, Richard, and Ronald Knoebel, the ride was reconstructed in 90 days, led by engineer John Fetterman and builder Charles Dinn, using the original specifications, while Philadelphia Toboggan rebuilt the trains. The team included Chris Paul, Daniel Patterson, John Moyer, Claire Hain, Leonard Adams and James Martini. Renamed Phoenix – symbolic of its mythical rebirth – the 2,979 foot long, 78-foot, 2-inch high coaster officially opened on June 15, 1985, featuring a rare double-up-double-down hill, abundant airtime, and a first drop of 72 feet, 11 inches.
Today, Knoebels Amusement Park hosts the annual event, Phoenix Phall Phunfest, to honor this historic project. Based on its success, Phoenix is generally credited with the renewed interest in coaster preservation and remains highly rated among riders of all ages for its classic ride experience.
Presented by American Coaster Enthusiasts