Summer is in full effect here in Southern California. People are flocking to the theme parks by the thousands each day seeking fun and relaxation – and perhaps a little bit of shade here and there! Knott’s Berry Farm is offering a wide variety of new entertainment and attractions that locals and visitors are thrilled with – as if fried chicken, funnel cake and Boysenberry punch weren’t enough to get you to the park this season!
Voyage to the Iron Reef
Knott’s Berry Farm has a new ride that opened in spring called Voyage to the Iron Reef. This is definitely the headliner of the new Knott’s offerings for 2015 and has been attracting large crowds to the park since it opened in May. Voyage to the Iron Reef is a 4-D attraction that takes guests on an interactive journey under the park where strange and menacing sea creatures are threatening to destroy Knott’s – it’s up to you to help save the day as you blast freeze rays at these denizens of the deep!
Here’s a TPA tip – to avoid the longest wait times for Voyage to the Iron Reef, do it first thing at park opening, or make it the last stop of the day within the last hour of the park’s operating hours, after most people have headed home for the night.
Brand-New Ice Spectacular: Blockbuster Beagle
One of the biggest entertainment draws at Knott’s Berry Farm is always its ice show, hosted in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. Not only is Blockbuster Beagle a great way to get out of the summer heat for a while – the show is honestly, really well done and very entertaining! The sets are very elaborate and this season’s theme puts the Peanuts characters in Hollywood settings with a surprisingly long program featuring many professional ice skaters!
If you’ve never seen one of the ice productions at Knott’s, now’s the time! Head into the theatre, stay cool, and enjoy this family-friendly show starring Snoopy and the gang! We highly recommend it as part of your visit to the Farm this summer!
New Stage Show: Vertical Impact
New to Knott’s this summer is an “extreme” stunt/stage show called Vertical Impact, featuring athletic performers – dancers, BMX riders, skaters, and aerial acrobats doing their thing to popular music. This is an interesting show, although the staging is really awkward, in our opinion – there is way too much going on at once most of the time, and the placement of large, solid structures used by the performers in the middle of the stage really separates the audience gathered in Calico Square from the action taking place; it feels very disjointed, unfortunately. If this were a “theater in the round” situation, it would be a really cool setup; however, the staging design is really challenging in this case. Another aspect of Vertical Impact that isn’t the fault of the production is its placement at Calico Square; during the day, the heat and sunlight can be brutal in the Square – making watching anything there during the day an uphill battle. Be sure to wear sunscreen and hydrate like crazy if you watch this performance this summer.
The good news is, Vertical Impact has a nighttime version called Geared Up, which features neat lighting effects and DJ Nytemadness mixing new, current EDM music for the crowd as the performers do variations of the daytime show. The lighting and blessing of darkness really make this version of the show much easier to enjoy and watch while spending the day/night at Knott’s. While the staging still remains an issue (out of Knott’s control, as this is an outside production company), not having the sun beating down on you while you’re standing there absolutely makes all the difference in the world. Check out Vertical Impact – while it’s not our cup of tea, many guests certainly do enjoy it and have a great time watching the show!
Good Ol’ Knott’s Entertainment Fun
In addition to these new summer offerings, there are plenty of other summer must-see offerings at Knott’s Berry Farm. These include the wildly-popular Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, Ghost Town Miners Gluegrass band, Big Fat Steve Band, Salsa Dancing in Fiesta Plaza, and Big Band Swingin’ Sundays, which features Orange County’s best big bands!
Ghost Town is also home to “streetmosphere” actors – men and women who take on the personas of individuals who would have lived and interacted with people in Calico during the late 1800s. The folks that make up the Knott’s streetmosphere team are wonderful and guests love the one-on-one interaction and impromptu fun!
Food, Food, and More Food!
A major cornerstone of Knott’s Berry Farm is its legacy of food offerings for guests at the park. Over the past several years, Knott’s has taken the quality of its Food and Beverage operations to incredible new levels, blowing away any other theme park’s offerings that we’ve ever encountered. While the Farm offers the traditional funnel cake and Boysenberry Punch fare, restaurants such as the Ghost Town Grill as well as Cable Car Kitchen (located outside the park – admission not necessary for Cable Car) have incredible meals and food selections that are simply fantastic – much better than comparable offerings at other theme parks around the United States. If you’ve not eaten at Cable Car Kitchen outside the park in the California Marketplace, you’re missing out! Huge portions and incredibly inexpensive sandwiches are a must-try – we cannot recommend trying this location enough; it’s a hidden gem and one of our favorites at Knott’s Berry Farm!
Of course, guests also have access to Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, also located outside the park in the California Marketplace. This historic food service location has been an Orange County icon since the Knott family opened its doors in 1934. Though the restaurant and food have changed a bit over the years, this is still ground zero when it comes to Knott’s history, and is arguably the most famous fried chicken restaurant in the world! The best time to visit the Chicken Dinner Restaurant is during off times; weekdays are definitely slower than weekends; Sundays and holidays can be very crowded – everyone loves Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant!
A Great Time, Day or Night!
Knott’s Berry Farm is one of our favorite places to spend time here in Southern California. All of the summer activities make it even more of a great value. Often, we visit the park in the evening hours, having dinner and then strolling through Ghost Town. The park has a wide variety of attractions – from classic family rides including the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Train, to heart-pounding roller coasters such as Xcelerator and Sierra Sidewinder. One of our very favorite things to do on balmy summer evenings is to grab a cold Boysenberry Punch and catching a ride on the park’s historic Ghost Town and Calico Railway, sitting in the open-air “convertible” car to take a spin around the park; great, relaxing fun!
Wherever your summer travels take you, be sure to pay a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm – a true industry gem with plenty to do for the entire family – or a fun date night! Visit the Knott’s Berry Farm website to check on hours and plan your visit. Definitely have dinner at the park (as well as lunch, if you spend the whole day there) and take time to really enjoy all that Knott’s has to offer!
– Rick West