Knott’s Berry Farm

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One of the oldest and most well-known amusement parks in the greater Los Angeles area, Knott’s Berry Farm is a truly unique experience. Whether it’s to visit Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts Gang or to eat Mrs. Knott’s famous chicken dinner, a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park in Buena Park, CA is a great addition to your LA trip.

History

The Knott Family has been in the berry business since the early part of the 20th century. Back in the 1920s, the land that is now Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park was a fully operational berry growing, picking, and distributing business owned by the Knott family and headed up by patriarch Walter Knott. Knott’s began simply enough by selling the berries themselves, as well as preserves and fruit pies on the roadside of State Route 39. Then, in the mid-1930s, they added a luncheon option at a tearoom on the property at the behest of Walter’s wife Cordelia. Known as Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, the storied fried chicken, homemade biscuits, and boysenberry pie that Cordelia Knott first served on a Wednesday in 1934 is still one of the most popular attractions within the 160 acre amusement park of the 21st century.

Indeed, the introduction of full service lunch at Knott’s was the beginning of a rapid period of growth for the family and their land. In the 1940s, Walter Knott began constructing a replica of an Old West ghost town on the property to help draw in even more people. Other attractions were added as well and in the 1950s the Knott family began to promote the idea of their farm as a ‘summer-long country fair.’ They began to charge admission in 1968 and added the ever-popular Calico log ride the next year.

When Cordelia Knott died in 1974, Walter began to turn his attention to political causes and allowed his children to run the business of their amusement park in his stead. That’s why when Walter died in 1981 it was natural for his children to continue park operations for the next decade and a half. One of the most notable additions during this time was the building of Camp Snoopy in 1983. This relationship with the Peanuts characters is one that endures today and is intricately associated with the Knott’s brand in the heavily character-laden landscape of southern California.

Alas, the Knott family eventually bowed out of the jelly and amusement park business in the 1990s. At the time, large management companies began to take over the daily operations of amusement parks, pushing out “family business” elements of the industry. Knott’s was sold in two parts. The brand of preserves was bought by ConAgra in 1995 and then sold to the J.M. Smucker Co. in 2008.

The park, however, was to be purchased by Walt Disney Parks. This deal was ultimately nixed by the Knott family in an effort to preserve what their father had worked so hard to build. It went back on the market and eventually, Knott’s was purchased by Cedar Fair Entertainment in 1997. Today it remains the company’s highest performing park with an annual attendance hovering at about 3.5 million.

Main Attraction

Much has changed since the Knott family sold their property to Cedar Fair, though some essential elements of Knott’s Berry Farm such as Camp Snoopy and Walter Knott’s Ghost Town still remain. More than anything, Cedar Fair’s influence has led to a modernization of the park and its rides. Knott’s is now divided into six differently themed areas: Camp Snoopy, focused on younger visitors, as well as Fiesta Village, the Boardwalk, Ghost Town, Indian Trails, and Wild Water Wilderness.

In addition to boasting roller coasters, thrill rides, water rides, children’s rides, and family rides, Knott’s provides daily live entertainment in one of six different indoor and outdoor venues. Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant is still one of the biggest draws of the park. It is the country’s most popular single-location, full-service family restaurant. Mrs. Knott’s is also located outside of the gates of the park which means that those travelling in the area can eat at the restaurant without visiting Knott’s Berry Farm proper.

Why It’s a Must-See

Like the many other amusement parks located in southern California, Knott’s Berry Farm has a long and interesting history. More than any other park, this one is an emblem to the family-centered dream of California life that so shaped the history of the state in the past century. Today, its long partnership with Peanuts sets it apart from other character themed parks. But, more than anything, Knott’s is known as a unique blend of old world country charm and modern amusement park benefits.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

1. Purchase a ticket from Knott’s Berry Farm when you get there.

2.   .

3. Purchase as part of a money saving package. Popular examples to the right.

4. Purchase a Tourist pass. Knott’s Berry Farm is available on the Go Los Angeles Card.