A Day at Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, California

Jocelyn Murray February 21, 2012 No Comments

Knotts Berry Farm entrance

Knott’s Berry Farm began as a roadside stand selling fresh berries, pies, and preserves

This nostalgic western themed amusement park had its humble beginnings as a roadside stand selling fresh berries, pies, and preserves.  It grew over time as rides and attractions were added, making it the 160-acre property that it is today. Located in Buena Park, California, Knott’s Berry Farm is known for its rides, live entertainment shows, shops, restaurants and eateries, and traditional boardwalk county fair style games.

Knotts Berry Farm - Old West structures

Authentic western themed structures can be found throughout the park

I took my two children – ages 7 and 9 – recently to Knott’s Berry Farm. I pulled them out of school on a Friday, hoping to avoid the weekend crowds. It worked. We practically had the park to ourselves! The lines were short, allowing us to ride the same attractions more than once. We purchased our tickets online rather than at the park (including our parking pass) at a big savings. Anyone familiar with big theme parks knows that their prices are big too, so always check online for the best deals.

Knotts Berry Farm - sheriff's office

Visitors can peek inside the old GhostTown Sheriff’s Office window and see a diorama of the sheriff playing poker with a couple other characters

Having grown up in Southern California and visiting Knott’s Berry Farm throughout my life, I have my own preferred rides and attractions here. Ghost Town is my favorite haunt with its Wild West themed mining town attractions. The old buildings include a one-room school house with authentic desks and other memorabilia, a gun shop with replica antique guns and knives, a general store, a blacksmith shop, a jailhouse, a hand-blown glass shop, and costumed employees that make you feel as though you have stepped back into time.

The authentic mining town buildings serve as a historical outdoor museum and are an exciting way to see a piece of history come alive, including rides on the Butterfield Stagecoach pulled by a team of horses, the Calico Railroad which tours around the park, and the Calico Mine Ride (one of my personal favorites) that takes guests on a tour through a man-made mountain stocked with charming scenes that offer glimpses of life in a mining town from back in the “old days.”


Rides & Attractions

Knotts Berry Farm pony express

The Pony Express offers sane thrills at 38 mph

This was the first time my children attempted thrill rides, now that they are 7 and 9. Knott’s Berry Farm has a great assortment of rides for all ages – from brain-scrambling high speed thrillers to traditional children and family rides. There is GhostRider – a traditional wooden coaster that is the park’s largest attraction. Other thrillers include Xcelerator that goes 0-82 mph in 2.3 seconds. I actually braved this coaster but will not do so again as it gave me a headache afterwards. It’s one of those brain scrambling rides that can cause neck and back injury if you do not follow the directions, so ride with caution. Pony Express was a thriller I enjoyed. No headache or sickness during or following this coaster. Just screaming fun throughout the 38 mph ride. Boomerang, Jaguar!, Sierra Sidewinder and Silver Bullet were several other coasters we enjoyed.

Knotts Berry Farm silver bullet

Silver Bullet was my daughter’s favorite thrill ride

The Timber Mountain Log Ride and the Perilous Plunge were very exciting for my children, perhaps because of the water – plenty of splashing equals fun to kids. Other traditional family rides we enjoyed were the Merry Go Round, the vintage Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars, and an exciting flying swing ride called Waveswinger.

The park has a Camp Snoopy with rides and attractions for younger guests including the Balloon Race, Camp Bus ride, Lucy’s Tugboat, Red Baron flying planes, and a large inflatable Snoopy for children to bounce to their heart’s content. Snoopy himself is the park’s mascot and is often seen roaming about or having his picture taken with children.

Knotts Berry Farm camp snoopy theater

Camp Snoopy has rides and attractions for younger children

Shows at the park can be lots of fun and include a western themed stunt show in the open-air Wagon Camp theater, costumed Native American and Aztec dance and music presentations, and a Camp Snoopy Theater with the Peanut’s Gang.

The Boardwalk games were very enticing but expensive. One booth charged $3 for one chance to shoot a ball in a hoop. Winners get their choice of stuffed plush toys hanging from the booth’s ceiling and side walls. Many of the games test the player’s abilities at throwing, aiming and other dexterity based competitions, but quickly empty the wallet.


Shops and Dining

Knotts Berry Farm Spurs chop house

A western themed restaurant – please park your horse in the stall to the right

Like other amusement parks, shops, eateries and concession stands are sprinkled throughout the park. Everything from ice cream and funnel cakes to burgers, pizza, chicken and salad are sold. Like everything else here, the food and beverages are pricey: a fountain drink costs $4.00. Make sure to eat a hearty meal before arriving, as it will give you a jump start on the day and sustained energy for all the rides.

Knotts Berry Farm stagecoach

The Butterfield Stagecoach offers an exciting ride from the Old West

The shops sell fun souvenirs, toys, clothing, hats, candy, jewelry, handbags, and Knott’s Berry Farm’s signature jams and jellies, as well as gift packs, flavored coffees, and other gourmet items.

After an exciting day, we left the park totally sated with our share of thrills. Although it can be expensive, we did save by planning ahead and purchasing tickets online, and it was worth it. I will definitely be coming back to this nostalgic park that holds memories of good times from my own youth, which I am passing on to my children.

For more information on this fun California theme park reminiscent of the Old West, visit their website www.knotts.com


avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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