If you haven’t been to Camp Snoopy at Knott’s recently, it’s time to slide that to the top of your Summer To-Do List! Knott’s Berry Farm has just completed a thorough renovation of Camp Snoopy to coincide with the area’s 30th Anniversary. The results are phenomenal, from fresh paint just about everywhere to really gorgeous landscaping and some great new rides for young Knott’s guests and their families to enjoy together! This is just one of the latest amazing renovations that we as fans have witnessed in the past several years, now that Knott’s Berry Farm is under a new general manager and a new CEO sits at the helm of Cedar Fair (Knott’s parent company) in Ohio.
Camp Snoopy originally opened on July 1, 1983 at Knott’s Berry Farm. It was built on the last remaining portion of the park’s Grand Avenue parking lot, near the intersection of La Palma and Grand. In a deal brokered by Ron Mizaker under the direction of Marion Knott, the Farm and Charles Schulz entered into a contract to feature the Peanuts gang characters at the park. The park general manager at the time, Terry Van Gorder, felt that the new area should carry a High Sierra theme, and hired Robin Hall to head up the project as its senior designer. Prior to working at Knott’s Berry Farm, Robin Hall was an art director for six years at Magic Mountain, where he designed the Wizard’s Village, among other things. Robin stayed with Knott’s for 17 years as Vice President of Design and Architecture.
The new expansion of Knott’s featured some 30 rides, shows and attractions, all set among lush foliage, meandering pathways and a second story level that was connected high above Camp Snoopy with a series of suspension bridges and walkways “carved” into rocky outcroppings. Many of the area’s huge trees were original – planted decades before by Walter Knott; it’s a wonderful touch to know that Camp Snoopy was designed around those trees and their history at the Farm! Needless to say, Camp Snoopy was a tremendous hit with guests young and old alike, and became one of the busiest sections of Knott’s for generations to come.
Camp Snoopy has also provided a fantastic immersive environment for the Farm’s alter-ego event, Knott’s Scary Farm. When the lights are dimmed and the kids all go home, Camp Snoopy is very dark and feels totally secluded; the perfect place for monsters and ghouls each Halloween! Hosting such sinister themes as The Gauntlet (Medieval madness) and Necropolis (steampunk vampires), Camp Snoopy has become just as iconic during Haunt season as Ghost Town is. During the day, the walkways of Camp Snoopy become Camp Spooky for the little ones, with pint-sized crafts and entertainment for families to enjoy during October as well.
Over the years, Camp Snoopy began to show its age, regardless of new attractions being swapped in and out. Decades of guests, events and normal wear and tear will do that to any theme park area. After completely renovating the park’s Boardwalk section in 2013, management under the direction of Vice President and General Manager, Raffi Kaprelyan, turned their collective eye toward Camp Snoopy; the time had come as its 30th Anniversary approached to really bring it up to par with the rest of the Farm.
With the charge of keeping the theme of camping in the High Sierras, Knott’s went to work revitalizing all of Camp Snoopy, including the introduction of three new family attractions: Charlie Brown’s Kite Flyer, Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies, and Linus Launcher. While each of the new flat rides is geared toward young Knott’s guests, it was a conscious decision by Knott’s to select each ride with adult riders in mind so that families could enjoy each of the new attractions together. Kudos to Knott’s for doing that; we have witnessed the immediate payoff already: Instead of bored parents with their noses in their smart phones lining the perimeter fences waiting for their kids to finish, we now see families riding, laughing and making memories together in Camp Snoopy. And that is fantastic!
A lot of infrastructure work was done throughout Camp Snoopy, bringing it up to the latest ADA codes (Americans with Disabilities Act) and standards, the “great outdoors” color scheme was carried through the area from one end to the other, including re-touching existing rides such as Timberline Twister to be more cohesive to the environment around it, and even Lucy’s Tugboat was modified with the help of the ride manufacturer to be converted into a whitewater raft for Rapid River Run – something that you’d actually find in the High Sierras. No stone was left unturned in the Camp Snoopy renovation, literally.
Lara Hanneman, the Director of Entertainment Production at Knott’s Berry Farm, designed an entirely new Peanuts gang character meet and greet area that is prominent and really well-done in the middle of Camp. For the first time, guests can actually step into familiar settings for their pictures, from Lucy’s Psychiatric Help booth to Snoopy’s iconic doghouse. There is a nice shaded queue for the new character meet and greet location, and guests absolutely love it!
The Grand Sierra Railroad has also been enhanced to include Peanuts gang figures along the route – which also now features a recorded soundtrack pointing out the various characters on the way to summer camp! The new figures were lovingly created by the awesome team at Garner Holt Productions for the railroad attraction, and guests really are enjoying this nice surprise! The addition of the characters along the way really adds to the experience and overall quality of this major area renovation! Kudos to the GHP team on a job well done even while neck-deep in the massive Calico Mine Ride renovation at the same time!
One more big change to Camp Snoopy was the re-imagining of the area’s restaurant, formerly known as Lucy’s Lunch Box. Raffi felt that the name didn’t say, “family restaurant” or was worthy of the food and beverage offerings within. So, the name was changed to Grizzly Creek Lodge, and it underwent a full renovation outside and in. The result is a gorgeous dining location that is true to the theme of the area as a whole, as well as its own identity, featuring bear imagery throughout the restaurant! Even if you don’t grab a bite to eat, the next time you walk through Camp, be sure to take a look inside the restaurant; it really looks fantastic!
On the morning of June 12th, media gathered at Knott’s Berry Farm for the re-dedication of Camp Snoopy. On hand for the event were representatives of Knott’s and Buena Park, as well as Craig Schulz (Charles Schulz’s son) and Darrel Anderson (Marion Knott’s son), which was both nostalgic and symbolic of the proud partnership that Knott’s continues to have with the Peanuts gang IP. It was a sweet ceremony with a small stage show featuring Linus, Charlie Brown and of course, Snoopy!
A huge congratulations to everyone involved in Camp Snoopy’s renovation; just walking through the area is wonderful – immaculate landscaping, fantastic theming, and true world-class attention to detail can be found every step of the way. We believe that Walter and Cordelia Knott would be thrilled by this project, and know Camp Snoopy will continue to be a popular destination for generations of young Knott’s Berry Farm fans for a long, long time!
TPAers, what do you think of the new Camp Snoopy renovations? What are some of your favorite details throughout the area? Share your thoughts with fellow Knott’s fans below!