A California Tradition… Knott’s Berry Farm
With 99 years under its belt, Knott’s Berry Farm isn’t just a Southern California staple, it’s a homegrown Orange County success story.
Knott’s Berry Farm has grown from a sleepy roadside fruit stand to a theme park powerhouse that combines unique attractions, great food, and affordable prices into one of the most attended regional theme parks in the world.
Let’s take a look at what makes Knott’s Berry Farm so special.
Walter Knott and his family arrived in California in the mid-1920s, and immediately started to do what they could to make a go of their 10 acres of farmland. They sold berry products at a roadside stand. Around 1934, the Knotts added a restaurant that sold Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken dinners.
The dinners were a huge success… and they led to Walter Knott adding a few shops and other attractions, like the replica Ghost Town, to entertain the diners that were waiting for their turn at the always crowded restaurant. Knott’s Berry Farm was becoming just as much of an attraction as it was a dinner destination.
Today, Knott’s Berry Farm is still known for serving those magnificent fried chicken dinners along with tasty boysenberry products… but it’s also known for providing wholesome family fun to the six million annual visitors that come through its gates.
What’s at Knott’s Berry Farm?
Knott’s Berry Farm has forty rides and attractions spread through four themed areas. It also has wandering entertainers who perform throughout the park. Keep reading to see what’s where.
Pro-tip: If at all possible, buy your tickets online, not at the gate. There’s a pretty steep discount if you can plan a little bit ahead.
If Ghost Town feels authentic, it’s because the buildings are from real ghost towns. The area contains shops, rides, and performances which carry through the Wild West theme, and everything in this section stays true to the authenticity that Knott’s is known for. Real blacksmiths, glassblowers, spinners and fantastic Native American performers bring the Old West to colorful life.
There are a few must-see experiences in this area: The Mystery Lodge, with its fantastic special effects, will thrill you with powerful Native American storytelling. The Bottle House, built with over 3,000 bottles, isn’t just a historical attraction… it also contains a paint and take ceramic studio which is one of Knott’s most popular souvenir experiences. The Calico Railroad is technically a ride, but also an experience, as it’s not uncommon for robbers to board the train and demand your valuables. The hoop dance show at Indian Trails Stage is absolutely stunning and not to be missed.
Pro-tip: Restrooms are located just past the Indian Trails Stage and the Old Schoolhouse, with changing stations by the Old Schoolhouse and Ghost Town Bakery. Nursing Stations are located between the Ghost Town Bakery and the Bird Cage Theater.
While some theme parks have slim offerings for the five and under set, Knott’s Berry Farm has Camp Snoopy, an entire section of the park with rides dedicated to the youngest guests. If you love the Peanuts characters or Snoopy and Woodstock, this is the spot for you!
Camp Snoopy boasts kid favorites like the Balloon Race ride, the Flying Ace biplanes, and the toddler-attracting Rocky Mountain Trucking Company.
The Barrel Bridge is a must-see attraction in Camp Snoopy. It isn’t a ride… it’s a fun walk over a floating bridge that leads you through a fun cave. Kids love to run the bridge over and over again.
Pro-tip: Bathrooms and changing stations are located around the Grizzly Creek Lodge.
With its cheery Mexican theme, Fiesta Village has two of the most popular rides. Montezooma’s Revenge and the Jaguar are two of Knott’s famous roller coasters. Montezooma’s Revenge is of particular interest to coaster historians… it was the tallest coaster on Earth when it opened in 1978.
Fiesta Village is at its best during Knott’s Spooky Farm, when Dia de los Muertos is in full swing.
Pro-tip: Bathrooms are over by the Jaguar roller coaster, but the nearest diaper changing station is over in Camp Snoopy, so keep that in mind.
If you like arcade games and winning tickets to earn prizes, the Boardwalk at Knott’s is the spot for you.
Several of the most popular rides are in this section of the park. The must-see attractions, 4D Voyage to the Iron Reef and VR Showdown in Ghost Town, are very much worth the wait. (Note: VR Showdown is a separate charge).
Pro-tip: A bathroom and changing table is located over by the Xcelerator, and another bathroom by Panda Express. There’s also a bathroom and changing station by the Western Entrance.
Knott’s Berry Farm’s Seasons of Fun
The park is known for its immersive seasonal festivals. In fact, it has five of them, so there’s always something going on.
- The Peanuts Celebration – Start the New Year off right with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang.
- The Boysenberry Festival – Celebrate the berry that Knott’s popularized with incredible food and drinks.
- Summertime is the time for Ghost Town Alive, an experience that sees the park bustling with bandits, cowboys, judges, and the occasional robbery. (Sensory warning: Ghost Town Alive experiences happen throughout the park and include simulated gunshots.)
- Knott’s Spooky Farm/Knott’s Scary Farm – October sees the park populated by the mildly scary during the day and transformed into a premier terror destination at night. Don’t go if you’re faint of heart!
- Knott’s Merry Farm – Christmas is extra special with this gorgeous Victorian-themed celebration.
Knott’s Berry Farm Roller Coasters
You can’t talk about Knott’s Berry Farm and not talk about the roller coasters. The park is known for them, ranging from the introductory level kiddie coaster Timber Twister, all the way up to the coaster-enthusiast’s dream ride, Ghost Rider.
Knotts Berry Farm even has historic roller coasters. The very first flywheel coaster ever built, Montezooma’s Revenge, is still in operation and it’s still wildly popular.
Here’s our rundown of Knott’s Berry Farm’s roller coaster offerings, from mild to super adrenaline rush.
- Timber Twister – Look for this kiddie coaster in Camp Snoopy. It may be the most tame of Knotts’ Berry Farms’ coasters, but it does a great job at giving smaller children (or nervous adults with small children) a fun introduction to the adrenaline jag that is roller coaster riding.
- Coast Rider – This wild mouse coaster, opened in 2013, has an emphasis on tight switchback turns that give riders the illusion of being about to fly off the track. As roller coasters go, it’s completely accessible for light thrill riders who are working their way up to bigger rides.
- Jaguar – This wonderfully themed Tivoli coaster is almost as much fun in the station and queue as it is in the ride. It’s meant to be a scenic family-level roller coaster that lets you see the park and other coasters as you ride. Jaguar isn’t a thrill seeker ride, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s just plain enjoyable.
- Pony Express – This launch coaster might be a small coaster as they go, and it’s mild compared to its bigger brothers in the rest of the park, but it’s still a lot of fun. Pony Express lives up to its theme by using a unique restraint system, so riders sit as if they’re on a horse.
- Sierra Sidewinder – Sidewinder really lives up to its name. This spinning coaster has seats that face outwards to give you a view of the track, the park, and even rides around the Sidewinder. Be warned, the ride is a little rough in places, but it’s an enjoyable one.
- Montezooma’s Revenge – If you’re a roller coaster history buff, the Montezooma’s Revenge is a must ride. It’s not only the first flywheel coaster ever built; it was also the tallest coaster on earth when it opened in 1978. It’s currently the only flywheel launch coaster in America and one of only 3 of this kind in the world. While this flywheel launch coaster with a single loop isn’t long, it is a short, intense, enjoyable ride that you literally can’t get anywhere else in the country.
- Silver Bullet – This inverted coaster is an incredibly smooth ride over water and park paths alike. With the most inversions (6) of any coaster in the park, and the illusion of a water collision in the helix, it’s one heck of a rush. Fair warning: the final helix may cause you to grey out. Ride in the back row if you’re brave, or the front row if you want fantastic views.
- Xcelerator – The 1950’s themed Xcelerator was the first coaster on Earth to use a hydraulic cable launch. It’s a short ride but packs a lot of intensity and airtime into the time you do have. You’ll really feel the G-forces on this coaster.
- Hangtime – This infinity coaster offers nonstop excitement. It features a compact and winding path, a signature beyond-vertical drop with an element of suspense at the initial drop, and a negative g-stall loop. It’s a fantastic ride any time, but it’s spectacular at night, when it’s lit up with custom multicolored lighting.
- GhostRider – Knotts’ premier ride, this wooden coaster has fantastic airtime, terrifying near miss elements on the hills, and pulls serious Gs on the laterals. The 2 hour wait time is totally justified.
Knott’s Berry Farm Priority Boarding
A park ticket gets you access to every ride in the park (except VR Showdown in Ghost Town), but some rides have the Knott’s FastPass equivalent. Since Knott’s is known for roller coasters, most of the coasters in the park are on the Fast Lane system. The Fast Lane wristbands gives park guests access to:
- Timber Mountain Log Ride
- Coast Rider
- Voyage to the Iron Reef
- Silver Bullet
- Supreme Scream
- Sierra Sidewinder
- Pony Express
- Bigfoot Rapids
- Montezooma’s Revenge
Knott’s Berry Farm and Autism Support
- Knott’s Berry Farm is a theme park, and it’s full of sights and sounds which can cause overstimulation in guests with sensory issues like autism or synesthesia. Knotts is committed to making entertainment accessible to everyone.
- For guests with sensory concerns, there are dedicated Quiet and Sensory Rooms painted in soothing colors, with special lights and seating. Noise-canceling headphones, sensory toys, and blankets are provided for use.
- The Quiet Room is located behind Sweet Treats in Ghost Town next to Sad Eye Joe.
- First Aid can also be used as a quiet room. The medical professionals there can store any medication you need to use later and have noise-canceling headphones for your use.
Pro-tip: We know that headphones may be part of your daily routine, but they aren’t allowed on some of the rides due to the potential for loss or injury. Good news… free disposable ear protection is available at the First Aid Center next to Guest Services.
Guests who need special accommodations due to mobility or sensory issues should follow these simple steps to make their visit easier:
- Visit Guest Services. You can find them near Security/First Aid.
- Tell Guest Services about your inability to wait in the regular line, answer a few questions to make sure you can safely ride the park attractions, and you’ll get a boarding pass for you and up to three riding companions.
- You’ll also get a Rider Access form that lists the rides you can safely get on.
- Riders with a Boarding Pass can use applicable rides’ Alternate Access Entrance.
- Be aware that guests can only have one Boarding Pass at a time.
Knott’s Berry Farm has been one of Orange County’s best-known destinations for almost 100 years for a good reason. It’s a place where you can stretch your entertainment dollar and get imaginative family fun, fantastic seasonal entertainment, and great food all year round, and with annual passes available on installment plans, there’s no reason not to go to Knott’s.
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Kelly Smith is a freelance writer living in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side. Find her at www.bluerosecopywriting.com.