|Knott's Berry Farm|
|Location||Buena Park, California|
|Owner||Cedar Fair Entertainment Company|
|Area||160 acres (0.65 km2) (0.65 km²)|
|Slogan||'America's 1st Theme Park'|
Knott's Berry Farm is the brand name of two separate entities: a theme park in Buena Park, California, and a manufacturer of food specialty products (primarily jams and preserves) based in Placentia, California. The theme park is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company which has made a deal to be acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, and the food specialty business is part of The J. M. Smucker Company.
In the 1920s, Walter Knott and his family sold berries, berry plants and pies from a roadside stand beside State Route 39, near the small town of Buena Park. In the 1930s, Walter Knott was introduced to a new berry which had been cultivated by Rudolph Boysen. The plant was a combination of the red raspberry, blackberry, and loganberry. Walter planted a few plants he had received on a visit to Boysen's farm, and later started to sell them at their roadside stand. When people asked him what they were called he said "boysenberries".
In 1934, to make ends meet, Knott's wife Cordelia (1890–1974) reluctantly began serving fried chicken dinners on their wedding china. For dessert, Knott's trademark Boysenberry Pie was also served to guests dining in the small tea room. As Southern California developed, Highway 39 became the major north-south connection between Los Angeles County and the beaches of Orange County, and the restaurant's location was a popular stopping point for drivers making what, at the time, was a two hour trip. Before Interstate 605 and State Route 57 were built in the late 1960s, Highway 39 (now known in Orange County as Beach Boulevard) continued to carry the bulk of the traffic between eastern Los Angeles and Orange County.
Within a few years, lines outside the restaurant were often several hours long. To entertain the waiting crowds, Walter began to build a ghost town in 1940, using buildings relocated from real old west towns such as Calico, California and Prescott, Arizona. They added attractions such as a narrow-gauge train ride, a pan-for-gold area, and the Calico Mine Ride. Frequent activities at what Knott called a "summer-long county fair" included—naturally—boysenberry pie eating contests. When Disneyland was built in nearby Anaheim, the two attractions were not seen as direct competitors, due to the different nature of each. Walt Disney visited Knott's Berry Farm on a number of occasions, and hosted the Knotts at his own park (including inviting the Knotts to Disneyland's opening day). The two Walters had a cordial relationship, and worked together on a number of community causes.
As time went on, more shops and interactive displays were opened to entertain patrons waiting for a seat at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Before long, the Knotts had added a gift shop and several "attractions," including a room of rare music boxes from France, Switzerland, and Germany; son Russell's personal collection of rocks that glowed under ultraviolet light; several rock gardens with miniature waterfalls, water wheels, and wishing wells; a replica of George Washington's Mount Vernon fireplace, which the Knotts had admired while on vacation; and a 12-foot-tall volcano built of lava rock trucked in from the Pisgah Mountain and equipped with a boiler that rumbled, hissed, and spit steam at the push of a button. "It's not half as fool a thing as it seems," Knott told the Farm Journal. "When the customers pile up so we can't seat them, the girls send them out to ... play with the volcano. They get so interested that I've had to install a loud speaker system to call them to their meals when the tables are ready." The volcano cost $600, and Knott figured it paid for itself the first month. At some point in the late 50’s or early 60’s, the push button was replaced by a mechanical contraption encased in a 2”x2” glass-fronted wooden box. Inside the box one would see a small winged devil turning a crank, every few turns causing the volcano to hiss and steam.
As Knott's Berry Farm continued to grow in the 1950s, new displays were added. In 1956, a miniature El Camino Real was completed, running from the train station north to the far edge of the park at La Palma Avenue. Along the way were models of the 21 California missions.
In the early to mid-1960s, the park was visited more by "locals" than tourists. Children fortunate enough to have grown up in the area should still recall the Model-T ride in the original parking lot along the corner fronted by Crescent Ave. and Grand Ave.
Walking inside the park, youngsters might be treated to a burro ride or a walk through the Haunted Shack. Young and old alike wouldn't leave before at least one visit to the General Store. Mom and dad could take a seat by the cracker barrel next to the pot belly stove while the kids spent their pocket money on penny candy. If they were visiting on a weekend, though, at least one penny would be held back. Stepping out onto the main street kids of all ages would locate the nearest painted circle on the ground and wait for the organ grinder to come along. Turning the crank on the brightly painted music box, his trained monkey would hop around the edge of the circle, taking your pennies and tipping his hat by way of thanks.
Perhaps nothing was more exciting, though, than heading towards the area which would one day be home to Fiesta Village. Park goers were delighted by the sights and sounds (and smells) of the sea lion pool Amusement Parks. For a little money, patrons could purchase a half dozen sardines in a small paper bag.
Another attraction that went the way of the burros and sea lions was Old McDonald’s Farm. There were a handful of themed areas where, for a small fee, parents could host their children’s birthday party. The coveted spot was the birdcage, an actual metal framework built up on stilts. Situated in that same area was the petting zoo. Parents cautioned their children to keep a tight hold on their shirt tails and bags of candy, for nothing was safe from the curious nibblings of the wandering goats. In a glass-fronted wooden coop, you would find Henrietta, the piano-playing chicken. Depositing a nickel would signal her to peck out a song on her miniature piano; when she’d hit enough keys, a sprinkling of corn would be released into her food tray. The petting zoo was also home to a unique riding attraction. The Knott’s had ingeniously converted a hot walker into a kiddie ride. Pairs or trios of children would sit on wooden seats attached to the end of poles radiating from a central axis where a mule patiently waited. The handler, wearing overalls and a bandana around their neck, would take his/her seat on the rig behind the mule and start the animal walking and thus the ride gliding around in circles.
In 1968, the Knott family fenced in the property and charged an admission fee for the first time. In the 1970s the park included three theme areas: Old West Ghost Town, Fiesta Village (portraying Spanish California) and the Roaring Twenties, a nostalgic traditional amusement area with a 1920s-era airfield. In 1975 the Corkscrew debuted as the first modern-day roller coaster to perform a 360-degree inverting element. It was designed by Arrow Dynamics of Utah.
In the 1980s, Knott's built the "Barn Dance" featured Bobbi & Clyde as the house band. It was during the height of the "Urban Cowboy" era. The "Barn Dance" was featured in Knott's TV Commercials. Also during the 1980s, Knott's met the competition in Southern California theme parks by building two massive attractions: Kingdom of the Dinosaurs and Bigfoot Rapids, a whitewater raft ride. In 1990 the Boomerang roller coaster was introduced.
In 1995, the Knott family sold the food specialty business to ConAgra, which later re-sold the brand to The J. M. Smucker Co. in 2008. In 1997, the Knott family sold the amusement park operations to Cedar Fair. 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 that most of what Walter Knott had built would be eliminated.
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.
In modern times, the vicinity of the park has been heavily suburbanized, and the landscape of the park is now dominated by the roller coasters, replacing much of the original theming and atmosphere of the park. The park serves as an anchor for other tourist-oriented businesses such as Medieval Times and Pirate's Dinner Adventure, and the Movieland Wax Museum which was located nearby until it closed in 2005. Buena Park Downtown, a series of shopping centers containing Wal-Mart and Kohl's stores, is located near Knott's Berry Farm.
In 2004, the park renamed the Radisson Resort Hotel the Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel. The hotel was formerly the Buena Park Hotel that Cedar Fair acquired in the late 1990s.
Two of Knott's Berry Farm's most recent areas of concern are that its parking lot is landlocked and cannot be expanded, and the closest train station was several miles away in Fullerton. Both have made travel to the park something of an inconvenience. That problem is expected to be solved in part by Buena Park's new Metrolink station which was completed in 2007.
Also on the property (but on the east side of Beach Blvd.) is a replica of Independence Hall and Knott's Soak City, USA. Independence Hall was so well recreated that it was used in the 2004 film National Treasure. Displays have included a replica of the Liberty Bell and a replica of the original "Star Spangled Banner," the flag which flew over Fort McHenry through a British attack during the War of 1812. An audio presentation, with speakers located at appropriate tables, recalls the debate which led to the United States Declaration of Independence.
Prior to the development of Camp Snoopy, an artificial lake, covering more than an acre, was located north of Independence Hall. The lake featured row- and paddle-boats, and a popular activity for local residents was feeding the ducks who lived there year-round; as well as Jungle Island, where children found adventure and played hide and seek games all day. Jungle Island was the home of the Woddnicks, an entire race of people carved from wood. Camp Snoopy was built in an area which had formerly been a parking lot, so the lake was removed to put in a replacement parking area. Some ducks moved to other parks and lakes, but many ducks still live and gather in a small river like body of water right next to Independence Hall, and many local residents still stop by and feed the ducks on a regular basis.
Ghost Town is the oldest part of the Knott's amusement park, and includes most of the buildings Walter brought to the property in the 1940s and 1950s.
This themed area includes attractions such as the narrow gauge Ghost Town & Calico Railway (using much historic equipment from Colorado narrow-gauge lines including C-19 engines 340 from the Denver & Rio Grande and 41 from the Rio Grande & Southern). The Butterfield Stagecoach ride includes 3 original Butterfield coaches, 1 Halloday coach, 1 Overland Southern coach and the Knotts Berry Farm coach that was built for the farm in 1954. Also there is a Pan-for-Gold attraction, the Calico Mine Ride dark ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Calico Saloon Show and The Wild West Stunt Show.
More recently, the much-acclaimed GhostRider wooden roller coaster has been added. In late 2004 Knott's opened the longest inverted roller coaster on the West Coast, Silver Bullet along with Screamin' Swing: the world's first air-powered swing.
Ghost Town itself has a place in history aside from the buildings brought here. The Bird Cage Theatre melodrama theater (currently only used during Halloween Haunt and the Christmas season) has launched many acting careers, including that of Steve Martin. The Calico stage is a venue that has hosted acts ranging from elementary school singers & dancers to the melon smashing Gallagher.
The Ghost Town section is based upon the real ghost town of Calico, California near Barstow, and other ghost towns in the Western United States. Walter Knott purchased the Calico ghost town in 1951 and restored it. In 1966 he donated the town to San Bernardino County, which made it a regional park.
The summer of 2007 had Knott's Nature Center being relocated to the Ghost Town area from the Wild Water section of the park. The building was once the 1-room Rivera School house in Rivera California. Arachnids, insects, amphibians and creepy-crawlies are here for your inspection.
Fiesta Village is a Mexican-themed area which features a number of carnival-style attractions, including the Montezooma's Revenge roller coaster and the Jaguar! family roller coaster. A classic Merry-Go-Round by Reflection Lake tops off this village. Other rides include the Dragon Swing, La Revolucion (Frisbee), Hat Dance (themed Tea Cups), and Wave Swinger. Fiesta Village was built in 1969.
Originally themed as a gypsy camp, and later re-themed to the "Roaring '20s" and "Knott's Airfield", this area is home to most of the park's major thrill rides. It is also home to the Sky Cabin Tower. Sky Tower is closed during winds 25mph+ and during rain. Sky Cabin is very sensitive to up and down motion, such as walking. Sky Cabin once also housed the Parachute Sky Jump attraction and was, at one time, the tallest structure in Orange County. Current rides include the recently constructed Xcelerator (which replaced the failed Windjammer Surf Racers, known to be a mechanical nightmare by employees), Supreme Scream, Riptide, and Perilous Plunge, and the roller coaster Boomerang. Supreme Scream is now the tallest structure in Orange County, at 312 feet (95 m) in height. Other rides include the Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars, Wipeout, and Screamin' Swing. The Boardwalk was built in 1969 as the "Roaring 20's" area. The Corkscrew roller coaster was installed in the "Roaring '20s" area in 1975 and was notable for being the first modern-day roller coaster to perform a 360-degree inverting element. The Corkscrew is currently located at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho.
The world's largest Johnny Rockets restaurant franchise is located in this section of the park, featuring over 5,900 square feet (550 m2) of indoor dining space for more than 260 guests.
Camp Snoopy is targeted towards younger visitors, with many of the rides and attractions being built specifically for children. 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 Valleyfair and the former Paramount Parks bought by Cedar Fair in 2007. The 14 rides include a mini roller coaster called the Timberline Twister, a mini-scrambler called the Log Peeler, and a Zamperla Rockin' Tug called Lucy's Tugboat.
Knott's Berry Farm also built the Mall of America's indoor theme park, which itself was originally called Camp Snoopy. (In fact, Charles M. Schulz hailed from St. Paul.) However, save for some relics, today the park is no longer affiliated with Knott's or Cedar Fair, and is now called Nickelodeon Universe.
Wild Water Wilderness is a small area that features two major rides: the Bigfoot Rapids river rafting adventure, and Pony Express, a horse themed family roller coaster installed in 2008. Nearby Bigfoot Rapids 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.
Located near Reflection Lake, Indian Trails is a small area sandwiched between Camp Snoopy, Ghost Town, and Fiesta Village. It features no actual "rides," but instead is a showcase of Native American art, crafts, and dance.
The park's annual Knott's Halloween Haunt has drawn crowds since 1973. The idea for this event was presented at one of the regularly scheduled round table meetings for managers by Patricia Pawson. The actual event was created by Bill Hollingshead, Gary Salisbury, Martha Boyd and Gene Witham, along with other members of the Knott's Berry Farm Entertainment Department as documented in the DVD Season of Screams. 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. Several attractions are decorated for the event including the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Train and there are 10 or more mazes of various themes from aliens to spiders to clowns from outer-space. Elvira (actress Cassandra Peterson) was introduced into the Halloween Event in 1982 and was prominently featured in many Halloween Haunt events until 2001. According to postings on her My Space page, Cassandra was released from her contract by the park's new owners due to their wanting a more family friendly appeal.  Interesting fact: During the month of October, Knott's Scary Farm generates half the revenue for Knott's Berry Farm's fiscal year.
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. 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. 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 by Gary Salisbury in the Fall of 1985.
|Montezooma's Revenge||1978||Anton Schwarzkopf||A steel roller coaster with an open-circuit that catapults riders through a 7-story vertical loop.|
|Timberline Twister||1983||Bradley & Kaye||Small steel coaster designed for young children.|
|Boomerang||1990||Vekoma||Steel roller coaster with an open-circuit takes riders upside-down a total of six times.|
|Jaguar!||1995||Zierer GmbH||Family-oriented roller coaster.|
|GhostRider||1998||Custom Coasters International||Wooden roller coaster with 4,533' of track.|
|Xcelerator||2002||Intamin||Accelerator Coaster featuring steeply banked turns and a vertical drop.|
|Silver Bullet||2004||B&M||Floorless coaches suspended beneath an overhead track whip around steeply banked turns and six inversions.|
|Sierra Sidewinder||2007||MACK Rides GmbH & Co KG||Family-oriented roller coaster featuring vehicles that spin freely on a turn-table chassis.|
|Pony Express||2008||Zamperla||Family-oriented roller coaster featuring sweeping turns.|
|Mexican Whip||1969||Sellner Manufacturing||A classic Tilt-A-Whirl ride that was removed in 1986 along with Fiesta Wheel to make room for the Tampico Tumbler.|
|Fiesta Wheel||1969||Chance-Morgan||A Chance Trabant ride that spun and tilted riders at the same time as the ride changed direction rapidly. It was removed in 1986 to make room for the Grand Slammer.|
|Tampico Tumbler||1987||Zierer||A Zierer Hexentanz or Fireball ride. Two cars are mounted on each arm (eight arms total.) The entire ride lifts so that each arm can rotate both cars over each other at a rapid pace. Removed to make room for La Revolucion in 2004.|
|Grand Slammer||1987||Chance-Morgan||A Chance Falling Star pendulum ride removed in 2004 to make room for La Revolucion's queue line.|
|Tijuana Taxi||1969||Arrow Dynamics||This standard automobile track ride was torn down to make room for Fiesta Village's expansion in 1976.|
|Windjammer Surf Racers||1996||TOGO International||This twin racing coaster that sent riders through vertical loops and tight turns was removed in 2000. It was known to be a mechanical nightmare, and was closed more frequently than open.|
|Henry's Auto Livery||Unknown||Walter Beckman||This ride was located out of the main park near the corner of Beach Blvd. and Crescent. The ride had no tracks, just bumpers to keep you on the road. Removed sometime in the 80s|
|Corkscrew||1975||Arrow Dynamics||This was the first modern roller coaster ever to take passengers upside down. It was sold to Silverwood in 1990 to make room for the Boomerang.|
|Motorcycle Chase/Soap Box Racers||1976||Arrow Dynamics||This steeplechase roller coaster had four tracks parallel to each other. A favorite of many parkgoers, it was taken out in 1996 to make room for the Windjammer Surf Racers and later, the Xcelerator.|
|HammerHead||1996||Zamperla||This Zamperla Rotoshake ride flipped riders upside down on a theater-like platform while the main arm itself turned 360 degrees. Due to pricy mechanical problems, it was removed in 2003 to make room for RipTide.|
|XK-1||1990||Intamin AG||This rare Intamin Flight Trainer ride had a short eight-year run. After 1999, it was removed to make room for Supreme Scream.|
|Knott's Bear-y Tales/Kingdom of the Dinosaurs||1975||Fantasy Fair||This dark ride first took riders past a fairy-tale like plot set in the Roaring 20's with a Bear Family all named, Raz,Boysen,Girlsen,Elder, and Flapper Bear-y on a journey to the fair while being in contact with a pie thief named Crafty Coyote and Other Animals from the Fantasy Scenes. It later was revamped with a dinosaur theme in 1987 (While Bear-y Tales moved to the Peanuts Playhouse after Kingdom of the Dinosaurs opened to be renamed Bear-y Tales Funhouse until 1997)that took riders back in time to the Pre-Historic Times which would be removed in December 23, 2004 due to aging parts and lack of popularity. Many guests today complain about the loss of both of the rides and they are both demanded by fans to revive one of them. As of now nothing is planned in the formal building of the 2 attractions. The thematic design for Bear-y Tales was by the former Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump (who worked on the ride after being on freelance when he left Disney in 1972). Recently a few of the Knott's Bear-y Tales characters along with its theme song were re-located to the re-themed Craft Barn Store in Ghost Town.|
|VertiGo||2001||S & S||This S & S "Totally Insane" ride was taken out because Knott's sister park, Cedar Point, had its similar ride demolished due to an accident.|
|Whirlwind/Greased Lightning/HeadAche||1976||Reverchon||This standard Himalaya ride was a favorite for almost 30 years. In 2001, the ride was removed to make room for Perilous Plunge.|
|Propeller Spin||1976||Frank Hrubetz and Co.||This Hrubetz Round up ride operated from 1976 to 1989, until this space was vacated. Today, it is part of Perilous Plunge's track layout.|
|Loop Trainer Flying Machine||1976||Schwarzkopf||A standard Enterprise ride that was a bit smaller than most park models operating today. In 1989, this ride was removed to make room for the XK-1 in 1990.|
|Sky Jump||1976||Intamin AG||This parachute jump freefall ride was the highest ride in the park until its more modern successor, Supreme Scream was built 25 years later. The ride's companion, Sky Cabin, still stands.|
|Walter K. Steamboat||1969||Arrow Dynamics||A steam-powered ferry boat that sailed around "Reflection Lake." The lake was made smaller due to the installment of Silver Bullet, then removed completely to make room for Sierra Sidewinder.|
|Gasoline Alley||1969||Arrow Dynamics||This second car-track was under the motorcycle chase/wacky soapbox racer. Both rides were removed in 1996 to make room for Windjammer Surf Racers, and later, Xcelerator.|
|Whirlpool/Headspin/Wilderness Scrambler||1976||Eli Bridge Company||The "Whirlpool" was a classic scrambler carnival ride originally housed inside a building which included 'undersea' murals on the walls, a music soundtrack, and club style lighting effects. It was latter renamed "Headspin" in 1996 with the re-themeing of the 'Roaring 20's' to 'The Boardwalk'. It was later repainted and moved to a new outdoor location under the Windjammer to make room for the Perilous Plunge. In 2001 it was relocated again to the Wild Water Wilderness area and renamed "Wilderness Scrambler" to make room for the Xcelerator. Finally it was removed permanently in 2007 to make room for the 2008 Pony Express roller coaster.|
Knott's Berry Farm  is a 160-acre amusement park located in the city of Buena Park in Orange County, CA. It is the anchor of Buena Park's E-Zone, which also includes the sister water park Knott's Soak City, two dinner theaters, and a Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum.
Knott's Berry Farm is North America's oldest operating themed amusement park. It first started as a berry stand founded by Walter Knott, who unknowingly laid foundation for what was to become one of America's oldest and most revered amusement parks. The first ride attraction, the Ghost Town & Calico Railroad opened in 1952. Knott's Berry Farm remained a family-owned venue until late 1997, when Ohio-based theme park operator Cedar Fair, L.P. acquired it for $275 million from the Knott family (Walter's descendants).
Knott's Berry Farm has accomplished and set many technological milestones in the amusement industry with its unique ride and attractions. The Calico Mine Ride, introduced in 1960, is commonly recognized as the first themed amusement park attraction in the world. The Timber Mountain Logging Co. (now Timber Mountain Log Ride) was the first log flume with thematic elements, which was the inspiration Walt Disney modeled his Splash Mountain flume concept after for his Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA (10 miles from Knott's Berry Farm) even though he had been dead for 23 years when Splash Mountain opened. National media was brought to the park in 1975 with the introduction of Corkscrew, the first modern roller coaster to successfully turn riders upside-down.
Other ride and attraction records and milestones:
The park is located in Buena Park's E-Zone district along Beach Boulevard.
Knott's Berry Farm has a variety of on-going and limited-time offers on tickets offered through their website,  but basic prices are as follows:
Single Day - Adults: $51.99, Children (3-11) and Seniors (62+): $22.99
Half-day (after 4pm) - Adults: $25.99, Children (3-11) and Seniors (62+): $22.99
AAA Discount - 30% off Adult tickets
There is no transportation within the park, and the only way around is by walking. But the whole park can be covered in just one day.
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