Knott's Berry Farm

It started out as a fruit stand. It was where the boysenberry was born. These days it is clean and friend amusement park providing bigger thrills than its Disneyland neighbor while catering to the locals with affordable passes and discounts.

The park is a throwback in many ways. You have steam trains and horse-pulled stagecoaches that circle the park while more state-of-the-art coasters and thrill rides catapult you hundreds of feet in the air. You have the Camp Snoopy kiddie area complete with a dozen rides and interactive play areas for young children as well as the original Mystery Lodge show that weaves a little visual magic into Native American storytelling.

Pros: A great assortment of old-fashioned and modern rides exist in perfect harmony. Ghost Rider is the area's best wooden roller coaster. Fried chicken is a specialty and the Marketplace stores are open late in case you missed the chance at souvenirs inside -- including the Knott's legendary restaurant that offers a to-go store next to the popular eatery.

Cons: Lines can be deceptively long on slow-loading attractions like the stagecoach, the water rapids rafting attraction and the Perilous Plunge water ride. Annual pass processing office is lethargically slow with the spillover area lacking in shade.

3 Tips:

-- Discounts are usually plentiful. Check the site or with partners like Ralphs Supermarket for the latest promotions.

-- While most parks are usually crowded on Saturdays Knott's also draws huge crowds on summer weekdays because of summer field trips. Be patient. Their buses will head out a good hour or two before the park closes at least, giving you plenty of time to have the park to yourself!

-- Because Ghost Rider is the first major attraction that guests encounter after entering the park you will actually find shorter lines if you immediate head to the back of the park for the Xcellerator coaster and Perilous Plunge water chute ride.

- Reviewed by Rick Munarriz

Official Park Link - Knott's

Unofficial Park Link -

Nearest Hotels with online booking discounts:
 -- Radisson Knott's Berry Farm -- At the park
 -- Disney's Paradise Pier
 -- Inn at Buena Park -- Two blocks away

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