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Kennywood Ranked No. 1 Theme Park

Vacationers on the trail of theme parks and roller coasters this summer can take some advice from the Amusement Park Historical Association, which has ranked Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pa., and Knoebel’s Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pa., the No. 1 and No. 2 traditional parks.

Just behind them in the group’s annual member poll were the Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England, and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

The organization, which received responses from about 10 percent of its 1,000 members, also ranked wood and steel roller coasters. Of about 150 wood roller coasters worldwide, top honors went to Kennywood’s Thunderbolt, and the No. 2 was Megafobia, in Oakwood Leisure Park in Pembrokeshire, England.

Rounding out the top five were the Texas Giant, at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington; the Cyclone at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and the Comet at Great Escape in Lake George, N.Y.

Two coasters at Cedar Point topped the steel coaster ratings: Magnum XL200 and the Raptor. At No. 3 was the Nemesis at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England, followed by the Steel Phantom at Kennywood and Pepsi Max the Big One, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

New bike routes: New long-distance bicycling routes have recently opened in the United Kingdom, and they’re shown along with shorter routes in the British Tourist Authority’s new map folder, “Britain for Cyclists.” It’s available free by calling (800) 462-2748.

Best in Hawaii: Hawaii’s best places to stay, as rated in Gourmet magazine’s May issue, based on its first readers’ poll of hotels:

1) Manele Bay Hotel, Lanai City, Lanai; 2) Princeville Hotel, Kauai; 3) Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Maui; 4) Halekulani, Honolulu, Oahu; 5) Hyatt Regency Kauai, Kauai; 6) The Lodge at Koele, Lanai; 7) Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Maui; 8) Hyatt Regency Maui, Maui; 9) Hotel Hana-Maui, Maui; and 10) Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui.

Swiss rail celebrates: Switzerland commemorates its 150th anniversary of rail travel with an eight-month-long celebration, “Switzerland, 150 Years on Track.” Hundreds of special events and exhibits are being held throughout the country through October.

Among them:

Seventy rail cars representing the history of rail travel in Switzerland will participate in a two-hour parade June 14 and 15 in Lausanne.

Tours of the Rotonde, the official home depot for steam trains, will be held in Delemont June 21-July 20.

The official ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the country’s first scheduled train will be held in Zurich Aug. 8-10.

For a free brochure detailing the events and special rail tour packages, call Switzerland Tourism, (212) 757-5944.

Manhattan water taxis: Besides the usual taxis, subways and buses, visitors to New York now have a new way to get around: water taxis. Three 48-passenger boats make rounds at nine stops on the Lower Manhattan waterfront under the flag of New York Water Taxi.

The route starts at the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum at West 46th Street and the Hudson River, heads south to the Circle Line, the 30th Street Heliport, Chelsea Piers, TriBeCa, Battery Park City, and the Battery, then continues around the island’s tip to South Street Seaport and the Fulton Ferry Landing.

One-way passes are $8 ($5 for seniors and children 3-12), round trips are $15 ($8), and all-day off-and-on passes are $20 ($12). Tickets are available on board, at the stops, or from Gray Line ticket outlets. Information: (212) 681-8111.