Knott's Berry Farm facts for kids
|Slogan||America's 1st Theme Park, California's Best Theme Park|
|Location||8039 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park, California 90620, U.S.
|Owner||Cedar Fair Entertainment Company|
|General manager||Jon Storbeck|
|Opened||No official opening date, the family arrived in Buena Park on December 29, 1920|
|Visitors per annum||6,000,000+|
|Area||57 acres (23 ha)|
Knott's Berry Farm is a 57-acre (23 ha) theme park located in Buena Park, California, and owned by Cedar Fair. In 2017, it was the tenth-most-visited theme park in North America. Knott's Berry Farm is also the most-visited theme park in the Cedar Fair chain. Knott's has grown to over 6 million people a year, probably the most attended regional theme park in the world now.
The park features 40 rides including roller coasters, family rides, dark rides and water rides, and it employs approximately 10,000 people. Unlike the rest of the Cedar Fair parks which are amusement parks, Knott's Berry Farm is the only theme park in the Cedar Fair chain.
The origin of the theme park dates back to the mid 1920s, when Walter Knott and his family began selling berry products at a roadside stand along State Route 39 in California. By the 1940s, a restaurant, several shops, and other attractions had been constructed on the property to entertain a growing number of visitors, including a replica ghost town.
The site continued its transformation into a modern amusement park over the next two decades, and an admission charge was added in 1968. The park was sold to Cedar Fair in the late 1990s, and the family's food business was eventually acquired by The J. M. Smucker Company.
The theme park sits on the site of a former berry farm established by Walter Knott and his family. Beginning in the mid 1920s, the Knott family sold berries, berry preserves, and pies from a roadside stand along State Route 39.
In 1934, the Knotts began selling fried chicken dinners in a tea room on the property, later called "Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant". The dinners soon became a major tourist draw, and the Knotts built several shops and other attractions to entertain visitors while waiting for a seat in the restaurant. In 1940, Walter Knott began constructing a replica Ghost Town on the property, the beginning of the present-day theme park. The idea of an amusement park really picked up in the 1950s when Walter Knott opened a "summer-long county fair".
In 1968, for the first time, an admission price was required to get into the park, originally set at 25 cents. The Calico log ride opened in 1960. The park became a popular destination for conservative college students in the 1960s.
On April 12, 1974, Cordelia Knott died. On December 3, 1981, Walter Knott died, survived by his children who would continue to operate Knott's as a family business for another fourteen years, they later decided to sell off their businesses.
In the late 1990s Cedar Fair acquired the Buena Park Hotel at the corner of Grand Ave. and Crescent. It was then brought up to Radisson standards and branded Radisson Resort Hotel as a franchise. In 2004, the park renamed the Radisson Resort Hotel the Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel.
In 1995, the Knott family sold the food specialty business to ConAgra Foods, which later re-sold the brand to The J.M. Smucker Company in 2008.
In 1997, the Knott family sold the amusement park operations to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. Initially, the Knotts were given an opportunity to sell the park to The Walt Disney Company. The park would have been amalgamated into the Disneyland Resort and converted into Disney's America, which had previously failed to be built near Washington, D.C. The Knotts refused to sell the park to Disney out of fear most of what Walter Knott had built would be eliminated.
Cedar Fair era to present
Since being acquired by Cedar Fair, the park has seen an aggressive shift towards thrill rides, with the construction of a number of large roller coasters and the addition of a high-performance Shoot-the-Chutes ride Perilous Plunge. Perilous Plunge had the record of being the tallest and steepest water ride in the world until September 2012 when it was closed and removed.
- 1920: Ten acres of berry farm land leased by Walter and Cordelia Knott
- 1927: Ten leased acres of berry farm purchased, named Knott's Berry Place
- 1929: Ten more acres purchased
- 1932: Rudolf Boysen gives Walter his last six crossbreed berry plants, as yet unnamed
- 1934: Tea room opens and Cordelia serves the first chicken dinner
- 1940: Living Ghost Town tribute started with free entertainment
- 1941: 100 more acres of land are added, totals 120
- 1946: Steakhouse
- 1947: Name change from Knott's Berry Place to Knott's Berry Farm
- 1948: Bottle House and Music Hall
- 1949: Stagecoach
- 1951: Calico Saloon
- 1952: Ghost Town & Calico Railroad
- 1954: Haunted Shack, Bird Cage Theater
- 1955: Dentzel Carousel, Merry-Go-Round Auto Ride (later the Tijuana Taxi), Hunter's Paradise Shootin' Gallery, Model 'T' Children's Ride, Cable Cars
- 1958: Mott's Miniatures
- 1960: Calico Mine Ride
- 1966: Independence Hall
- 1968: Fence surrounds the park, and admission is charged
- 1969: Timber Mountain Log Ride; Fiesta Village themed area; Tijuana Taxi (re-themed from Auto Ride); Mexican Whip; Fiesta Wheel; Happy Sombrero
- 1971: John Wayne Theater (later the Good Time Theater, then the Charles M. Shulz Theater)
- 1973: Inaugural Knott's Scary Farm Halloween event
- 1974: Wild West Stunt Show replaces Wagon Camp shows
- 1975: Corkscrew; Bear-y Tales
- 1976: Motorcycle Chase; Sky Jump; Sky Cabin; Propeller Spin; Loop Trainer Flying Machine; Whirlpool; Gasoline Alley; Whirlwind
- 1978: Montezooma's Revenge, Old MacDonald's Farm removed, Cable Cars removed
- 1980: Dragon Swing, Wacky Soap Box Racers
- 1983: Barn Dance featured Bobbi & Clyde Country Western Dancing; Camp Snoopy themed area built
- 1984: Studio K debuts. The most successful teen dance facility in the nation. Opened with a Dick Clark Special, "Rock Rolls On"
- 1986: Bear-y Tales removed; Tijuana Taxi removed; Fiesta Wheel removed; Mexican Whip removed
- 1987: Kingdom of the Dinosaurs; Tampico Tumbler; Gran Slammer; Slingshot; Happy Sombrero renamed Mexican Hat Dance
- 1988: Calico River Rapids (former Bigfoot Rapids); Bear-y Tales Funhouse
- 1989: XK-1; Greased Lighting moved into enclosed building and renamed Whirlwind
- 1990: Boomerang built on former site of Corkscrew
- 1991: Studio K closed
- 1992: Indian Trails themed area
- 1994: Mystery Lodge
- 1995: Jaguar! added
- 1996: The Boardwalk themed area; Wacky Soap Box Racers with Gasoline Alley removed
- 1997: Windjammer Surf Racers; Cedar Fair Acquires Knott's; Bear-y Tales Funhouse removed
- 1998: GhostRider; XK-1 removed; Supreme Scream; Woodstock's Airmail; Slingshot renamed Wave Swinger; Mexican Hat Dance renamed Hat Dance
- 1999: Wipeout; Coasters restaurant; Charlie Brown Speedway; Sky Jump removed; HeadAche removed and renamed The Blue Thunder at Miracle Strip Amusement Park; Pacific Pavilion removed; Radisson Resort Knott's Berry Farm
- 2000: Windjammer Surf Racers closes; Perilous Plunge; Knott's Soak City U.S.A. water park; Haunted Shack removed
- 2001: VertiGo; [] removed; Wipeout relocated; Headspin relocated and renamed Wilderness Scrambler
- 2002: Xcelerator added; VertiGo removed
- 2003: Tampico Tumbler removed; Gran Slammer removed; La Revolución; Joe Cool's Gr8 Sk8; HammerHead removed
- 2004: Silver Bullet; Lucy's Tugboat; Rip Tide and Screamin' Swing opened; Kingdom of the Dinosaurs closed; Church of Reflections relocated to outside of park; Radisson Resort Knott's Berry Farm renamed Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel. Grand Sierra Railroad shortened to accommodate Silver Bullet
- 2005: T.G.I. Fridays restaurant (California Marketplace)
- 2006: Pacific Spin (Soak City U.S.A.); Johnny Rockets restaurant; New Perilous Plunge boats put into operation; Walter K Steamboat removed; Woodstock's Airmail relocated
- 2007: Sierra Sidewinder; Wilderness Scrambler removed
- 2008: Pony Express, Peanut's Playhouse removed
- 2009: Pink's, Remodel and rebrand of Viva La Coasters in the California Marketplace
- 2010: Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular added/Snoopy's Christmas Spectacular
- 2011: WindSeeker added
- 2012: Park improvements – replacing area theme music, removing boardwalks and pouring concrete replacements, rebuilding rotted wood structures, keeping open until park closing attractions, restaurants & shops which had previously closed early. More aggressive youth marketing & advertising; Fast Lane, Perilous Plunge closes
- 2013: Boardwalk expansion: Coast Rider; Surfside Gliders; Pacific Scrambler (all replaced Perilous Plunge); WindSeeker removed
- 2014: Charlie Brown's Kite Flyer; Linus Launcher; Pig Pen's Mud Buggies; Grand Sierra Scenic Railroad, Lucy's Tugboat and Rocky Road Trucking Company rethemed as Grand Sierra Railroad, Rapid River Run and Rocky Mountain Trucking Company; Charlie Brown's Speedway, Joe Cool's GR8 SK8, Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, Log Peeler and Snoopy Bounce removed. La Tiendita removed
- 2015: Voyage to the Iron Reef, Screamin' Swing closed in preparation for removal, GhostRider closed for major refurbishment
- 2016: Ghost Town is renovated to celebrate its 75th birthday; Rip Tide officially closed and demolished due to technical issues; Starbucks replaces Dreyer's in the California Marketplace; Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant undergoes major renovations; GhostRider reopens from its major refurbishment on June 10, 2016
- 2017: Soak City gets an expansion added Sol Spin; new Boardwalk Barbecue restaurant. Brought back Ghost Town Alive; Extended Boysenberry Festival; Added VRCADE. Montezooma's Revenge Receives new color scheme. Boomerang closes
- 2018: HangTime opens; Sky Cabin reopened on February 10, 2018; Wipeout relocated and reopened in October; Big Foot Rapids closes in September in order to undergo major renovation and new themeing as Calico River Rapids opening in Summer 2019
- 2019: Calico River Rapids opens in May
Annual park events
The park's annual Knott's Scary Farm has drawn crowds since 1973. Initially fake corpses and other static figures were rented from a Hollywood prop house, but Bud Hurlbut, the creator/concessionaire of the Mine Ride, Log Ride and other rides at Knott's, decided that this wasn't enough. He dressed up in a gorilla suit and started scaring guests on the Mine Ride. Halloween Haunt was an instant hit, and by the next year, the event sold out nightly. During this special ticketed event, the entire park (or major portions of it) re-themes itself into a "haunted house" style attraction in the form of mazes and "scare zones" in the evening.
Over a thousand specially employed monsters are also scattered—often hidden out of view—throughout the park at this time. Some of the characters have become well-known, such as the green witch, which has been portrayed by Charlene Parker since 1983, the longest of any performer. Several attractions are decorated for the event including the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Train and there are 13 mazes of various themes.
Season of Screams is a DVD produced by an independent company which traces the beginnings of Halloween Haunt and the story behind how it all got started back in 1973. Season of Screams also highlights recent Halloween Haunts.
Winter Coaster Solace is an event that takes place in the first or second weekend of March every year when roller coaster enthusiasts can come before the park opens and stay after the park closes to ride the rides and eat at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant. It is intended to provide "solace" to visitors from other parts of the country where theme parks and roller coasters are seasonal, not year-round operations like the Southern California parks. Knott's Berry Farm also used to give attendees behind the scenes tours of the rides.
Every year since 1991, Knott's has offered free admission to veterans and their families during the month of November. Though this was originally started as a tribute to returning Gulf War veterans, they subsequently expanded it to include all veterans and have run it every year since.
A Christmas event known as "Knott's Merry Farm" also happens annually. Previous Merry Farm events have included manufactured snow, handcrafts exhibits, and a visit with Santa Claus. This event was originally created in the Fall of 1985.
Praise (festival) has been a Christian themed celebration presented for many years as a mix-in special event of music and comedy on New Year's Eve.
Current areas and attractions
The park consists of four themed areas:
- Ghost Town
- Fiesta Village
- The Boardwalk
- Camp Snoopy
Craftsmen in Ghost Town demonstrate the arts of the blacksmith, woodcarver, glass-blower, sign cutter, and spinner. Demonstrations of narrow gauge railroading and farm equipment hobbyists accompany additional merchant stalls of cottage-craft fairs seasonally at discounted admission which is restricted to Ghost Town only.
Western Trails Museum, relocated between the candy store and the General Store to accommodate Calico River Rapids (former Bigfoot Rapids), still features historical western artifacts large and small, from a hand powered horse-drawn fire engine to miniature replica of a borax hauling "Twenty Mule Team" and utensils necessary to survive the prairie and wilderness.
The Ghost Town area has a few other notable attractions. The Bird Cage Theatre only hosts two seasonal entertainments—during "Knott's Merry Farm," two small productions of "The Gift of the Magi" and "A Christmas Carol," and a Halloween Haunt thrill show.
The Calico Stage, a large open-air stage in Calico Square, hosts a variety of shows and acts, big and small, from those of elementary school students, Gallagher, a local band, and the summer-spectacular All Wheels Extreme stunt show featuring youthful performers demonstrating aerial tricks with acrobatics, trampolines, and riding ramps with skates, scooters, skateboards, and freestyle bikes to popular music.
Many parts of Ghost Town are forever lost to progress. The conversion of the Silver Dollar Saloon to a shooting gallery, Hunters Paradise shooting gallery to Panda Express and the original Berry Stand, moved several times with its last location now occupied by the Silver Bullet station.
What is left of Ghost Town today was based on Calico ghost town and other real ghost towns in the Western United States such as Prescott, Arizona. Walter Knott inherited his uncle's silver mill and land, then bought more of the actual Calico ghost town in 1951 and developed it.
|Thrill level (out of 5)|
|1 (low) 2 (mild) 3 (moderate) 4 (high) 5 (aggressive)|
|A family stagecoach ride which takes guests through the areas of Fiesta Village, Camp Snoopy and the Indian Trails area.||1|
|Calico Mine Ride||1960||Bud Hurlbut||A 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge mine train and dark ride. Riders board ore cars pulled by battery-powered locomotives and journey deep into a faux mining excavation site. The ride closed for refurbishment in January 2014 and reopened on June 14, 2014.||3|
|Ghost Town & Calico Railroad||1952||An authentic 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge train ride around the park. The ten-minute ride takes guests through the Wild Wilderness area, the Boardwalk area and through Fiesta Village. All of the Passenger Cars came from the D&RGW, while one came from the Rio Grande Southern. Some of the D&RGW cars were used on the San Juan Express.||1|
|GhostRider||1998||Custom Coasters International||A wooden roller coaster featuring multiple banked turns.||5|
|Silver Bullet||2004||Bolliger & Mabillard||An inverted roller coaster.||5|
|Timber Mountain Log Ride||1969||Bud Hurlbut & Arrow Development||A classic themed log flume attraction. The five-minute ride features two major drops, of which the final drop is 42 feet. The ride opened in 1969, and re-opened in 2013 after an extensive refurbishment.||4|
Wild Water Wilderness
Formerly known as Wild Water Wilderness, now part of Ghost Town, that features two major ride: the Pony Express, a horse themed family roller coaster installed in 2008 and Calico River Rapids opened in 2019. Nearby Pony Express is Rapids Trader, a small merchandise stand. It is also home to Mystery Lodge, a multimedia show based on an Expo 86 pavilion featuring a Native American storyteller.
|Ride||Picture||Year Opened||Manufacturer||Description||Thrill level|
|Pony Express||2008||Zamperla||A steel roller coaster in which riders dip, turn and dive while harnessed in vehicles intended to simulate equestrianism.||4|
Fiesta Village was built in 1969 with a pop-culture Mexican theme. It was the second area constructed after the completion of Ghost Town. Stores like Casa California, restaurants like Pancho's Tacos, La Papa Loca, and La Victoria Cantina, games like Shoot If Yucan, and the themed rides like La Revolución, Jaguar!, and Montezooma's Revenge, along with the former attraction Tampico Tumbler, all contribute to the Mexican and Aztec theme of the area. In 2013 colorful string lights were added for the summer season.
Boardwalk Games include physical challenges such as a rock wall, soccer, basketball and a rope ladder crawl. A variety of traditional pitch three balls and win a prize type games, such as squirt gun into clowns mouth, knock off milk bottles, pitch a quarter onto a plate are pitched by hawkers along the Boardwalk Games midway.
In September 2012, Perilous Plunge closed for an expansion of the Boardwalk. Perilous Plunge was noticeably known as one of Knott's major thrill rides. The boardwalk reopened after a year transformation with two flat rides and a new family roller coaster taking the spot of Perilous Plunge. The Boomerang roller coaster also got repainted with a new vibrant green and yellow color scheme.
The world's largest Johnny Rockets restaurant franchise is located at Knott's Boardwalk, featuring over 5,900 square feet (550 m2) of indoor dining space for more than 260 guests.
|Ride||Picture||Year opened||Manufacturer||Description||Thrill level|
|Coast Rider||2013||Mack Rides||A steel wild mouse roller coaster. The ride's layout is on the former site of Perilous Plunge.||4|
|HangTime||2018||Gerstlauer||A steel Dive Coaster. The ride's layout is on the former site of Boomerang and Riptide.||5|
|Pacific Scrambler||2013||Eli Bridge Company||Originally "Whirlpool" from 1989 to 1996, Pacific Scrambler is a classic scrambler amusement ride. When the area opened in 1996, this was a ride called Whirlpool, it was housed inside a building which featured 'undersea' murals on the walls, musical soundtrack effects, and concert-style lighting effects. In 2000, it was replaced with a Shoot the Chutes ride called Perilous Plunge. The ride eventually closed down in 2012 and was replaced with three new rides, including Pacific Scrambler||3|
|Sky Cabin||1974||Intamin||Ascend over 180 feet in the slow-moving Sky Cabin for a 360-degree panoramic view of Orange County and the LA basin.||2|
|1998||S&S Worldwide||Supreme Scream features the highest drop in the park. A vertical ascending and descending drop ride. It features 3 Turbo Drop towers.||5|
|2013||Larson International||A Flying Scooters ride with a height of 28 feet. Riders can pilot and move the gilders as it offers them a good view of the Boardwalk area.||3|
the Iron Reef
|2015||Triotech||A 4-D interactive family dark ride attraction where riders aim and shoot at animated targets to score points||2|
|Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars||A classic family bumper cars attraction.||4|
|Xcelerator||2002||Intamin||A launched roller coaster in which riders accelerate from 0 to 82 mph (132 km/h) in 2.3 seconds and climb 20 stories into the air. Xcelerator is currently the tallest roller coaster at Knotts Berry Farm. Xcelerator features the park's second highest drop.||5|
|Wipeout||1999||Chance Rides||A Trabant circular ride located between Hangtime and Sky Cabin.||4|
Camp Snoopy is home to the park's family and children's rides, with many of the rides and attractions being built specifically for children and guests who cannot ride the park's more aggressive attractions. Its theme is Charles M. Schulz' "Peanuts" comic strip characters. Snoopy has been the mascot of Knott's Berry Farm since 1983, and the characters can now be seen at all of Cedar Fair's parks, except Gilroy Gardens.
The 14 rides include a mini roller coaster called the Timberline Twister, a Zamperla Rockin' Tug called Rapid River Run, and a steel spinning roller coaster called Sierra Sidewinder. For guests who cannot ride the park's more aggressive and thrilled rides, Camp Snoopy contains a good number of rides for guests of all ages including infants, children, and seniors. With the exception of Sierra Sidewinder and Timberline Twister, the rides are relativity tame and not aggressive.
On November 22, 2013, Knott's Berry Farm announced major improvements in the area of Camp Snoopy. Camp Snoopy received a makeover for its 30th anniversary. In summer 2014, Knott's Berry Farm opened up new rides in Camp Snoopy.
The 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge Grand Sierra Railroad takes guest on a four-minute train ride through the reflection lake. The ride was made shorter with the construction of Silver Bullet. As part of the 30th Anniversary makeover, the train ride received a series of Peanuts vignettes along the track and narration by the character Linus.
Located next to the Bottle House in Ghost Town, Indian Trails is a small area sandwiched between Camp Snoopy, Ghost Town, and Fiesta Village, showcasing Native American art, crafts, and dance.
Many of the original attractions are outside the gates of the current-day theme park along Grand Ave. at the California Marketplace, mostly things which would no longer be considered interesting to today's audience, or things which were merely there for decoration. Near the restrooms behind Berry Place are the waterfall overshooting the water wheel and historic gristmill grindstone, a replica of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate fireplace hearth, and what remains of the visible beehive.
Some attractions still exist, but have been incorporated into backstage areas, such as the Rock Garden, now an employee smoking area. Other attractions have been removed, such as the historic volcano, and the cross-section of giant sequoia with age rings denoting historic events such as Christopher Columbus visiting America.
The east side of the property, divided by Beach Blvd., features the main parking lot, Knott's Soak City a seasonal water park that requires separate admission, the picnic grounds rental areas, complementary admission to Independence Hall and gift shop, and the Church of Reflections which was moved outside the theme park in 2004 and held non-denominational Sunday services until 2010. A tunnel and pedestrian underpass beneath Beach Blvd. connects the main parking lot to the shops, restaurants and theme park.
Knott's Soak City
Knott's Soak City is a water park. It opened in 1999 as Soak City U.S.A. It requires separate admission from Knott's Berry Farm. In addition to the water park across the street from the main theme park, Cedar Fair also formerly owned two satellite Knott's Soak City Parks, in Palm Springs and Chula Vista.
The J.M. Smucker Company continues to sell the jam and preserves made famous by the Knott family; however, other products, such as the syrups, have been discontinued due to low demand.
In November 2013, Knott's Berry Farm began selling their "Berry Market" brand of preserves at the park. The Berry Market brand is all-natural. They are unable to use "Knott's" on the label, since Smucker's owns the rights to the name.
Knott's Berry Farm can easily be accessed by public transportation. Service is available by the Los Angeles Metro, the Orange County Transportation Authority, and Anaheim Resort Transit. Bus routes serving the park include Metro Express Line 460 which provides direct express service between Downtown Los Angeles and Disneyland OCTA bus routes 29, 38 and 529 and Anaheim Resort Transit route 18.
In popular culture
- Summer School starring Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley. Mr. Shoop (Harmon) takes his band of under-achieving students on a field trip to Knott's Berry Farm (among other places) instead of teaching them.
- In episode 13 of The Big Bang Theory, "The Bat Jar Conjecture", (first aired April 21, 2008) character Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) informs the group that seasoned physics bowl competitors Fishman, Chen, Chowdry, and McNair won't be forming a team for the year's competition as the group had formed a barbershop quartet and "got a gig playing Knott's Berry Farm", thus paving the way for the show's characters to achieve victory.
- BrainRush (first aired June 20, 2009), a Cartoon Network TV quiz show was filmed as contestants compete while riding aboard Knott's Berry Farm roller coasters.
- Future entertainers: Christian author Stormie Omartian, comedian Steve Martin, the creator of Las Vegas "Legends In Concert" and the worldwide impersonation empire; John Stuart, and Kathy Westmoreland (back-up singer for Elvis Presley); actor Dean Jones all worked at the Birdcage Theater.
Images for kids
Nixons at Knott's Berry Farm 1968
Knott's Berry Farm Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.