Knott’s Berry Farm Has More Than Rides

brady knotts game win

A day at Knott’s Berry Farm is one of those things you build into your summer to break up the long stretch of free time. At least that’s how my family looks at it. When life gets too “boring” for the kids, plan and execute Operation Theme Park, right? And that’s how I see it – a mission that requires skill and organization. With a destination as easy or hard to get to depending on traffic as Buena Park, CA, it’s a long drive and a long day, so we want to maximize our fun.

What I did not expect at a recent visit to Knott’s was the helpful way the daily entertainment broke up our day. My younger son and I spent a day there to check out the new rides at scenery at the recently opened Boardwalk, and also to ride the reopened Timber Mountain Log Ride. The Coast Rider roller coaster was a huge hit with my 6-year-old. Since we were at the park before the official opening time, we were able to ride it 3 times in a row without standing in a long line. We rode it twice more during our visit! The only reason that happened was that the new ride is a fun and fast roller coaster but it’s smooth, unlike its veteran mentor The Ghost Rider, which, in its old-school coaster way, smashes and jerks your body back and forth, to and fro, with headache-inducing force. The Ghost Rider has the better vertical drops, though, so it’s worth standing in line for that one if defying gravity is really your thing.

knott's berry farm boardwalk coast rider and surfside gliders

My son and I truly enjoyed the rides, and we went on a lot of them that day, because he is finally tall enough! He even went on the Surfside Glider all by himself, with me standing proudly at the ride’s perimeter snapping pictures, hoping to catch the self-satisfied grin on his little face.

knott's berry farm surfside gliders

But what made the whole day extra fun was the shows.

When visitors enter the gates of Knott’s Berry Farm, they are handed a park map and a schedule of the day’s entertainment. My son saw this and constantly asked me “What time is the next show?” I decided to indulge him, if only to give myself a break from standing in line and being whipped up and down and around again on the rides, and we wound up spending the whole day going from one show to the next, working in rides if there was time in between them.

We saw the Calico Saloon Show, a true vaudeville dancing and singing performance behind the bar that actually serves drinks. We saw most of the latest Peanuts character show at Camp Snoopy before my companion had to go to the bathroom. We stood in Main Street in Ghost Town and watched the Cowboy Antics, a slapstick street performance/duel.We saw the Wild West Stunt Show at the Wagon Camp in Ghost Town, where the same cowboys make the audience laugh with their goofy play fights. We sat through the weird vanishing storyteller show in the Mystery Lodge – a nice indoor, air-conditioned break for me, during which I answered a lot of “Is he really magic?” and “Did that guy really disappear?” type questions. We caught some of the Native American Dancer’s performance at the Indian Trails stage, but left during the performer’s end-of-show political diatribe against the White Man. Later in the day, we sang along during the Marshall Purdy Show, an audience participation banjo act, and we caught the incredible Cirque-du-Soleil-meets-the-Old-West show on the main stage in Calico Square called Boom Town.

knott's berry farm shows snoopy cowboys calico saloon marshall purdy

Our favorite, though, was the new “Snoopy…Unleashed” Ice Show at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre near the bumper cars. This was an honest and for true ice show with amazing professional ice skaters including one who humbly dons the Snoopy costume and marches around and skates on a tiny little stage at the front of the theatre. There was a marching band, a ribbon gymnast skater who could have been in the Cirque show herself, and about 25 minutes of skillful and entertaining synchronized ice dancing and acrobatics set to great music. I was so delightfully surprised that I forgot I had a whole day of slogging through an amusement park in front of me, and my son was simply delighted.

Most of the shows take place more than once a day, and it seems possible to catch them all, but we did in fact stand in some long lines to go on rides, and we had to break for snacks and meals.

knott's berry farm view from sky cabin.jpg

Views from Sky Cabin, “basically an elevator that rotates,” said the attendant.

If you dismiss Knott’s Berry Farm because you’ve been there done that, I suggest you consider going back, both for the new rides, and the family pleasing entertainment. That’s a lot of family fun for the price of a ticket which is more modest that some other area theme parks, and you can even get discounted tickets with local offers and coupons.


Oh look! Mom was there, too!

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