For my friends and family who know me very well – they can tell you that I LOVE theme parks! Sure, I’m not so great with the motion-sickness and upside-down rollercoasters all the time, but I seriously love them. Every summer my parents would take us to Canada’s Wonderland on some sort of bank day where my teller cousin got us tickets for $15. So it’s definitely a summer tradition for me.
Knott’s Berry Farm has been on my LA Pinterest board for a long time and it reminds me a bit of Canada’s Wonderland back in Toronto. They are both roughly the same size, with similar rides – so it made me super nostalgic for home. Paul and I hopped in a car from LA and finally made the one-hour drive to Buena Park, California to visit America’s first amusement park!
Getting There – To avoid any crazy traffic, we left early at around 9:30 AM to get there for 10:30 AM and to beat all the weekend traffic going up and down the 405. The one thing to be aware of is that it gets HOT in the afternoon if you’re visiting during the summer months. Go earlier in the day or go on a night they are open late. Bring a hat, sunscreen and frozen bottles of water. Parking was around $17
What To Eat – The Funnel Cake is a must-eat. I don’t eat them very often, but this deep-fried batter of goodness topped with vanilla soft-serve, powdered sugar and stewed sweet strawberries is all part of the experience. If you’re looking to avoid burgers and fries, there is a Panda Express inside Knott’s Berry Farm where we opted for stir-fried veggies and rice.
The Thrill Rides – I was definitely way too scaredy cat to ride the crazy Xcelerator pictured above. Paul took one for the team and felt his stomach drop on this crazy coaster and its huge vertical drop.
My favourite ride was The Bigfoot Rapids which is a whitewater rafting ride where you will get throroughly soaked! My tip? Ride early in the day so you can dry off and where quick-dry or dri-fit clothing and flip-flops for this one if you can.
Ghostrider is an old wooden rollercoaster you can’t miss + if you’re into lots of twists and turns, The Sierra Sidewinder will throw you for a few loops. Also look for the Timber Mountain Log Ride, one of the original rides (it has been refurbished) in the park. This one usually has a long ride, so get there first if you can.
Not to be missed is the hilarious Pony Express rollercoaster, where you sit in saddle and race down a few dips and turns leaning head first.
There isn’t a ton of shade or air conditioning so bring a hat and drink lots of cold water! If you need a midday cooling off break, the Johnny Rockets Restaurant (the biggest in North America) and Panda Express both have air conditioning.
Camp Snoopy – If you’re visiting with kids, you’ll want to turn right after the gate and head to Camp Snoopy. It’s one of the cutest little theme parks I’ve ever seen. Here you’ll find lots of lo-fi rides for kids 9 and under including The Grand Sierra Railroad, Woodstock’s Airmail (above) and adorable The Huff & Puff.
We had a really fun time at Knott’s Berry Farm despite the sun and heat. By around 2:30 PM we were ready to find some shade and call it quits. Knott’s Scary Farm is a Halloween themed park that runs late at night with much cooler temps if you’re thinking of stopping in soon.
We will be back next year to check out the Knott’s Soak City water park across the street!