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Knott's Berry Farm

California Theme Park

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Xcelerator Knott's Berry Farm picture

Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm, tops out on its top hat tower.

© Arthur Levine 2004, licensed to About.com

Living in the shadows of Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm (yes, they actually used to grow berries here) charted its own course in the late 1990s when the folks that operate Cedar Point bought the park and started building the roller coasters and thrill rides that made its Ohio park famous. You can still get Mrs. Knott's Famous Chicken Dinner and stock up on her boysenberry jam, but you might want to hold off until after you've endured the awesome coasters.

 

  • Address: Buena Park (next to Anaheim), CA
  • Phone: (714) 220-5200
  • Ticket Info:
    • Adjacent Soak City water park requires separate admission. Reduced price for juniors (under 48") and seniors (age 62 and older). Free admission for guests under 3. Annual passes available.
    • Save time and money. Purchase discount Knott's tickets online direct from Kijubi.
    • Save time and money. Purchase discount Soak City tickets online direct from Kijubi..
    • Build a package that includes discounted Knott's tickets with Go Card Select Southern California
      The Go Card Select Pass lets you choose the attractions you'd like to visit on your vacation and offers discounted rates. You put together your own package and only pay for the attractions you choose. Options include Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Legoland California, Six Flags, Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier, Wild Rivers Waterpark, and more. Must be used within 30 days after first admission. Buy direct from Go Card.
    • For an additional fee, the park offers a "Hate to Wait" pass that allows guests to bypass the lines on selected rides.

The Farm is a bit schizophrenic. While it still retains the charm of the Old-West Ghost Town area from the original park, the grafted-on Boardwalk section, with its souped-up Xcelerator launched coaster and Supreme Scream drop tower, makes an odd contrast. And the Peanuts gang hangs out in Camp Snoopy, yet another layer of the multi-personality park. With no obvious rhyme or reason for its disparate themes, Knott's nonetheless works by offering enough attractions and features to please a wide audience.

Not nearly as sophisticated as its high-profile neighbor Disneyland, Knott's is still a few notches above the average regional amusement park. Sure there are plenty of off-the-shelf rides, but ambitious attractions like Mystery Lodge co-opt a Disney sensibility. Using some impressive effects and illusions, the stage show tells an enchanting Native American tale.

Knott's has some quaintly charming touches as well. The Calico Mine Ride, a holdover from years ago, is a classic Knott's attraction. Sure the animatronics are dated, but the train ride through the colorful caverns is cute and endearing. Kids and nostalgic adults will love it.

Younger kids will also love panning for gold, checking out the cowboys and varmints that roam the Ghost Town, and Camp Snoopy's collection of Peanuts-themed rides. Older kids and thrill-seeking adults will love the super-charged coasters and other high-octane rides. And everyone will love Knott's decent food. Theme park food is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Most of it is just plain awful, not to mention overpriced. The enormous Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant is almost always packed--and for good reason. Good, down-home (if high-calorie), reasonably priced cooking reigns here. The park's BBQ fare is also quite good.

The adjacent Soak City (separate admission) is a world-class water park. In the fall, the park transforms into Knott's Scary Farm, the nation's oldest (and many say the best) theme park Halloween event. And during the holidays, it's Knott's Merry Farm. The on-site Knott's Hotel is a clean, affordable, medium-tier hotel. It often features packages that include admission to the park and offer good value. Park Highlights:

  • Xcelerator launched coaster- A blast from the past
  • Ghostrider wood coaster
  • Silver Bullet inverted coaster.
  • Supreme Scream drop tower ride- At 254 feet, one of the world's tallest
  • Timber Mountain Log Ride- Noteworthy for being one of the industry's first log flumes
  • Mystery Lodge- Ambitious, special-effects laden theater show
  • Calico Mine Ride- Nostalgic train ride through caverns and mines

New for 2014

Calico Mine Ride and Camp Snoopy Makeover- The classic dark ride and the kiddie area will both get a major overhaul. Expect new animatronic figures and scenes in the mine ride and new rides at Camp Snoopy.

New for 2013

Coast Rider- Wild Mouse-style family coaster, plus the spinning rides, Scrambler and Flying Scooters.

Special Holiday Events
Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt.

Knott's Merry Farm The park's Christmas and holidays event.

Dining:
You've got to try Mrs. Knott's Famous Chicken Dinner because...well it's famous! And don't forget to put some of her jam on the dinner rolls. The park's BBQ fare is quite good also. Outside the park, there is an outpost of L.A.'s famous Pink's hot dog joint.

Affiliated Water Park

Soak City, located adjacent to Knott's Berry Farm, requires a separate admission.

Official Web Site

Knott's Berry Farm
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