If you’re looking for a summer adventure for the family that is outside the county lines, pack up the car and head to Orange County to visit Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s began as a roadside berry stand and Chicken Dinner Restaurant in the 1920s and has become a family-favorite 160-acre amusement park. Located in Buena Park in northwestern Orange County, this historical park is about a two-hour drive from San Diego. Instead of Mickey or Donald, you’ll see Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the lovable Peanuts characters around the park.
There’s plenty to do at Knott’s! Kiddos can enjoy the rides at the amusement park and splash in water at Knott’s Soak City. And after a full day playing, what could be better than a pajama-clad Snoopy tucking them into bed for the evening? Here’s what you can do there.
Where to Play: Knott’s Berry Farm
The 160-acre amusement park is perfect for thrill seekers of all ages including rides for little kids and big kids. Knott’s is most famous for its roller coasters sure to terrify and thrill riders. But we think you’ll end up spending the day at Camp Snoopy, the portion of the amusement park for kids and families. Some of the favorite kids rides include the balloon race (that stays low to the ground), train rides, mini mining cars, and “flying” in Snoopy’s flying ace airplane. There’s also Calico Railroad, Butterfield Stagecoach, merry-go-round, and much more.
If games are more your kiddo’s style than rides, take a stroll down Knott’s Boardwalk. Little ones can play basketball, soccer, 3-point challenge, whack-a-mole, and lots more. And if the kids have mad gaming skills, they win cool prizes! The Knott’s arcades offers a nice change of pace from rides. And since all three are located in different park locations, you don’t have to trapse across the entire park to get to the video games.
Be sure to make time for entertainment from Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown himself. The nearby 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre hosts live stage extravaganzas throughout the year. And these are not your ordinary performances. The stage shows include special effects and elaborate costumes. This summer, Snoopy and his buddies share what makes them happy in a new show entitled, “Happiness is….Snoopy!”
Where to Splash: Knott’s Soak City
A trip to Knott’s is not complete without spending time at Knott’s Soak City. This California 1950s beach-themed water park is perfect for water lovers and thrill seekers alike. Little one can splash to their heart’s content at Gremmie’s Lagoon while the non-toddlers will go crazy at Harbor Waterworks (complete with water guns, a giant bucket of water and cannons). There’s also a lazy river, water slides and a wave pool. And make sure you check out the 75,000-gallon Tidal Wave Bay wave pool too. Rent a private cabana for the day or take advantage of the beach chairs or lawn area to set up camp for the day.
Keep in mind that Knott’s Soak City is only open from the end of May through September. A separate admission ticket is required for the water park. Tickets range from $26 – $30 per person, so be sure to budget for that if you plan to visit both parks.
Where to Sleep: The Knott’s Hotel
A day playing at Knott’s can be exhausting! If you don’t want to make the trek back to San Diego right away, book a room at the Knott’s Hotel. Little ones will love the Snoopy-themed wing and pool with activities for kiddos. There’s also a fitness center, awesome restaurants, and lighted sports courts.
The real magic of the Knott’s Hotel happens in the ten Snoopy-themed rooms. Not only do you get to sleep amongst Peanuts character drawings, but kids will find two plush snoopy toys awaiting your arrival and Snoopy comes into the room and tuck the kids to bed! The cost for these rooms range from $179 – $229 per night, which is approximately $60 above the standard room rate.
Buying tickets online is cheaper than purchasing at the gate the day of your visit. Plan ahead and get your tickets before your drive to Knott’s.
Check out the website for food specials that you can pre-purchase. Options include buying an all-day meal pass for as low as $29.99. Imagine not having to dig out your wallet every time the kiddos say they’re hungry!
Don’t miss Knott’s famous chicken dinner and boysenberry pie. A trip really isn’t complete without it!
Outside food and drinks are not allowed in the park. You can, however, bring small containers of water or sports drinks.
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park Ca 90620
Are you a regular visitor to Knott’s? Share your insider tips in the comments below.
– Tonya Staab
Photos by Tonya Staab (unless otherwise noted)