October 18, 2012

31 Trips in Cali, Day 15: Knott's Berry Farm

Well, this is just pitiful. I was all excited to share & talk about Knott's Berry Farm. Like Oak Glen, this was a destination that my family went to a whole lot when I was a kid. It was nearby, just a short drive down Beach Boulevard. It was smaller and a whole lot less expensive than Disneyland (and remains so, today).

Back in the day (way back), there was a big grassy area across the street from the actual theme park that's also part of the property.  It was a fun (free) place to have a picnic. There was also a full-size recreation of Independence Hall and I've never been sure why it was there, but it remains a landmark on Beach Blvd. In that grassy park, I have a dim memory of little huts representing the 3 homes of the 3 Little Pigs, for kids to play in and around.

Knott's pre-dates Disneyland, especially when you consider that it used to just be a restaurant where folks lined up for fried chicken and boysenberry pies. (That restaurant is still there, in the free, retail shopping area that fronts the park.) I've eaten there before, and been to Knotts so often as I kid, that any time I smell eucalyptus trees, my primal brain immediately connects them to Knotts. (I guess there's lots of them on the property?)

So I was all set to talk about Knotts and share lots of Old West goodness and memories, but then I perused my pics, and they're just pititful.  At least in terms of the park. Because we have only visited Knotts once, in the last decade. There are lots of up-close pictures of my kids, because once again, this was back in pre-blogging days and I just didn't have the good sense to take many shots of the actual attractions.  What can I say? My kids were 2 and 5 years old.  At that age, they took up a lot of the view.

So here's a mini-tour:
 The old cowboy graveyard has always been my favorite area of the park, especially after dark.

 My favorite ride is the somewhat cheesy Calico Mine Ride. It's a slow dark ride, where you go through and see "miners" mining for gold and silver and almost get blown up by dynamite. 
 And I love riding the steam train.  Halfway through, robbers with bandanas covering their faces stop and board the train and shoot off cap pistols and threaten to take your money and jewels.  LOVE IT.  Lily, at 5, was afraid they'd take her charm bracelet. 
 Entering the Old Mexican village area. (Note the stagecoach.)
 Disneyland may have their tea cups, but Knotts has Mexican hats.
And Knotts has much scarier, faster rides overall than Disney, which is why it's really popular with teenagers and young adults. (And did I mention, it's cheap?)

Well. There you have it.  I must say, out of all the 15 trips I've documented so far this month, none have gotten me as worked-up for a return visit as thinking about Knott's Berry Farm. I forgot how much I love that place, and it feels wrong that my kids have only been this one time (and Tucker doesn't recall a thing).  And with online ticket prices, getting my entire family through the door costs about the same as getting just one and a half of us in at Disneyland. Time to go back...pronto! 

Thanks for coming along! Come back for Day 16 of my 31 Trips in California series for ice skating (and other sights) in downtown Los Angeles. 

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