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When we began planning our first trip to Disneyland and Southern California, Knott’s Berry Farm came up in our planning. I’d always wanted to go, and we didn’t know how often we’d make it to to the area since we’re from Missouri. Little did we know that we’d find our way back to California in July of 2021 and that we’d plan a Halloween trip to Disneyland for September. But at the time, you know, it seemed like we should pack as much in as we could. In fact, that’s always how we roll: if we can swing it, we’ll make it happen.
So, we thought we may as well give it a go, and I’m so glad we did! It’s a charming park with some pretty high-thrill coasters. It also reminded us of the theme park near us that we call home–Silver Dollar City. If you’d like to read about a typical visit to Silver Dollar City in the summer, click here.
Arriving at Knott’s Berry Farm
The day before, we’d driven to Anaheim from San Diego. We settled ourselves into our room at the Howard Johnson’s that was within walking distance to the gates of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. This would be our home base for a few days, and it was perfect! This hotel was also a short drive to Knott’s Berry Farm. It was also an affordable option with a great quiet pool and a separate kid’s splash area. The rooms are even decorated with Disney stuff, so you feel like you’re on Disney property. We’ve always stayed onsite at Walt Disney World, but lodging at Disneyland is a completely different beast. And it’s probably best to address this in a completely different blog post.
We are rope drop people. We try to get to any attraction at opening unless it just won’t work logistically, usually because we were at some other attraction at rope drop. You can maximize your time if you can beat the crowds; while other people are still finishing breakfast, you could be inside the park riding rides with minimal to no waits.
We arrived, and parking was a breeze, although you do have to pay to park. We easily walked to the front gate, and since we had pre-purchased our tickets online, we were ready to go.
They do have a waterpark and a hotel, but we didn’t experience those. We visited in early June, and it was cooler than normal that year. As you can see, we happened to pick a lovely overcast day.
We made it through the gate before opening, and Snoopy was just on the other side greeting guests.
Before opening, guests can walk around parts of the Ghost Town area and go in the general store. It’s nice to already be in the park when the park opens so you can be that much closer to the area you want to explore first.
History of Knott’s Berry Farm
The park is divided up into sections that tell the story of California. The Knott family themselves have become a part of that story. In the 1920s, the family came to the area to become berry farmers. The family started a roadside stand to sell their crops, and later, Mr. and Mrs. Knott built a Berry Market that included a tea room where people could purchase goodies made by Mrs. Knott.
Years later, Mr. Knott heard about a man experimenting with a new kind of berry. Mr. Knott obtained cuttings with this man’s permission. That man? Mr. Boysen. Boysenberries were a great success, and the park now has numerous products featuring the boysenberry.
During the depression, Mrs. Knott started selling fried chicken dinners in her tea room. Her chicken was popular, and the tea room was expanded into a restaurant. As the popularity of the restaurant increased, the family brainstormed ideas to entertain guests while they waited. At first, they simply added a gift shop, but then Mr. Knott built little attractions. Mr. Knott then got the idea to build a ghost town. The park only grew from there; buildings, a train, and the Birdcage theatre were added. In the 1960s, amusement rides made the farm a true theme park.
Knott’s Berry Farm: The Boardwalk
Since the Boardwalk is at the opposite side of the park and contains some pretty big coasters, we made our way there first. We figured the lines would be longer later in the day, and the queues of the attractions closer to the front of the park were filling up.
The Boardwalk pays homage to California’s beaches. The music is 1960s surf rock; you almost expect the Beach Boys to stroll on by. We walked right on to several coasters, including this crazy one below. The Xcelerator is a launch coaster that shoots you out to a maximum speech of 82 miles per hour. It’s also pretty tall at 205 feet.
Kristin doesn’t ride coasters at all, so Jeff and I took turns riding the coasters in this area. The lines were pretty much non-existent, so we didn’t have to utilize any type of rider swap.
Knott’s Berry Farm: Fiesta Village
This area of the park reflects California’s Mexican heritage. This may be the prettiest section of the park. Kristin always likes to catch a ride on a carousel–
–while Jeff took a ride on a nearby coaster.
I loved the theming in this area.
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant
It was after we explored this area that we decided we were ready for lunch. You can find all kinds of theme park fare, but we knew we wanted to try Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant while we were in the area. You do have to leave the park, but it’s just steps away from the entrance. Get your hand stamped, and you can return to the park after you eat.
The food was delicious! I think I tried just about anything boysenberry that they offered. To read more about our experience, click here.
Knott’s Berry Farm: Ghost Town
This is probably my favorite area of Knott’s Berry Farm. Themed to a California ghost town, this area will have you feeling like you stepped back in time.
The details are fun!
And you never know who’ll you’ll meet.
This area has a lot of experiences that families can share together.
One of the more interesting rides was the Calico Mine Ride. It doesn’t have any thrills, but it’s a fun dark ride that’s unique to Knott’s Berry Farm.
I loved that Knott’s Berry Farm still had Butterfield Stagecoach rides. By the time we got to this area of the park, the line was really long. We’d prioritized coasters, so we missed riding this.
We did make our way into the saloon, though.
Not to be confused with the Bird Cage Theater.
If you want to see an actual show, be sure to check it out.
It was certainly a highlight of our visit.
We spent the rest of our visit doing some shopping.
So many fun items.
And just about anything boysenberry you’d ever want.
Don’t forget the silly photo ops!
Knott’s Berry Farm: Camp Snoopy
Sadly, we never made it to this part of the park. Kristin is older, and it wasn’t on our radar. Still, I would’ve liked to walk through to see what it was like.
We actually missed out on a few things that we’d normally experience, but by late afternoon, we were ready for a break. I would’ve taken a ride on some of the coasters we missed, and I also would’ve made time for the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico River Rapids.
But, alas, we’d already been on this trip for several days, and the next day would begin our Disneyland adventures. Here is a list of links to some of the other experiences we’d already had in Southern California before we made it to Knott’s Berry Farm.
In Los Angeles:
In San Diego:
Knott’s Berry Farm was definitely worth the visit, and I hope I can go again sometime. The holiday events at the park look like a lot of fun, too. Knott’s Berry Farm is a wonderful place to make family memories, and I hope you’ll consider taking your family when you visit Southern California.