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Knotts Berry Farm: The Best All-Together Family Outing We’ve Had in Ages

We're here! Let's go in!

Way back in May my Dad was in town and we decided to take advantage of some free tickets from BlogHer and the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company to go to Knott’s Berry Farm. It was awesome. Best decision ever.

I haven’t been to an amusement park with my parents since Bug was one. I haven’t been to many amusement parks at all really, but I’m adding them back onto my list of fun things to do together as a family because we had the best time.

It could have gone really wrong. I was worried. As you know, Toby and I are divorcing but we’re still friends. Toby loves amusement parks about as much as he loves getting his fingernails peeled off and my parents, well they have different interests.

Could we all hang out all together for a whole day and have a good time?

The answer is yes and it’s because of this little girl and the fact that Knott’s really does have a lot to offer for all ages.

Papa Hug

It’s amazing how you can put your differences aside and focus on what is really important when there’s a cute little toothless six-year-old in your presence. She makes our world go ’round and she’s spoiled rotten to prove it. But that’s not what this post is about. This is about how Knott’s Berry Farm brought a family together and against our expectations we had a really good time. All of us.

In case you’re not familiar, Knott’s Berry Farm is 160 acres of world-class rides, live shows and attractions here in Southern California. Knott’s prides itself on providing thrills of all sizes and fun for families, children and couples alike. The attractions vary from sky-high roller coasters to panning for gold!

planning the route

We planned our route over a delicious lunch in the Fiesta Village.

not so photogenic but pretty tasty

My tacos were not photogenic because of the funny green jalepeño relish, but they tasted delicious. Even Bug ate her whole lunch which says a lot. She never eats.

here we go

We rode trains.

9 looptiloo

We gawked at the crazy roller coasters.

loopty loopiness

We made the mistake of making Bug go on the log ride. I thought she would be fine because she loves Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland which is way faster and scarier and personally, the log ride is one of my all-time favorites. What’s scary about riding a log down a lazy river?

I think I remember loving it as a kid but maybe my memory is failing me because after we made her go on it and she about lost her lunch, I looked it up in the little map they give you at the entrance and sure enough it was graded as a black diamond thrill ride. Who knew?!! Consider me schooled.

Bug didn’t forgive us for quite a while after that. Good thing Knott’s Berry Farm has a lot of trains and horses to ride and shows to watch or we would have been stuck twiddling our thumbs. There was NO going on roller coasters after that.

Needless to say we didn't go on THAT ride.

It was actually fine by me. I used to really love roller coasters but now I just think about my neck getting jerked around and somehow the thrill isn’t quite what it used to be.


This ride looks like chiropractor city to me but maybe I’m just old. They were fun to watch though.

she is NOT going on that ride not for me, she says emphatically

Even more fun was watching Bug’s reaction to the thrill rides. She was having none of it. No way, José.

giddyup toothless on toothy

Which is fine because there were lots of kiddie rides she did like.

here we go

red baron

driving with Papa

Driving with Papa in a truck was a highlight.


Pretty much all of Camp Snoopy was the highlight of her day. She could have stayed there all day.

whee! just her speed Timberline Twister

totally brave Bug-sized roller coaster Untitled

Getting a stuffed Snoopy definitely helped. See what I mean about spoiled? I’m such a sucker.

Domo Teeth

No, I didn’t buy her a Domo. I was tempted though. Look how well they match her.

round 16

Of course Toby had to one-up me by letting her take about fifteen zillion throws at the ping-pong fish bowl arcade game. It was fun though. We were all rooting her on.

there's nothing like winning

Thankfully she did finally make one in and boy was that win sweet. There’s nothing like winning your very own cheap imported stuffed neon parrot that probably cost fifty cents to make. It’s all about the build-up.

nothing like a cheap imported toy from China Me and Ping Pong

She promptly named him Ping Pong and sent him off to live in my purse.

cruising with Grandma Sugar Calico Saloon

But I have to say, rides and arcade games aside the best part of Knott’s Berry Farm was the shows. I did not expect this at all. I thought they were going to be cheesy and I worried we’d lose Toby to a six-hour long smoke break, but he stayed with us the entire time and seemed to really enjoy himself. Of course my dad laughed his head off but then my dad looooves all corny jokes. But everyone really loved them. Even Toby.

Two of these girls are not like the others. Silver Bullet Trading

I don’t have any photos of it but at the end of our day, when the sun was sinking and my camera battery was long dead, we ducked into Marshall Purdy’s one man show. It wasn’t that crowded but slowly people trickled in. I had no idea what to expect. Would it be can-can dancers or just one guy with a banjo?

It turned out to be one guy with a banjo, but he had us rolling with laughter. He put together a ramshackle band with members of the audience and really crazy funny instruments made out of mops and wash buckets, knee cymbals and some kind of stomping paint roller thing that I can’t even begin to describe.

He called my dad up on stage and made him wear a girl’s mop hat and play the washtub bass and that just killed us. I was crying it was so funny. My mom tried to video it but we were all laughing so hard none of the footage came out from all the camera shaking. Thankfully my dad is a really good sport and enjoyed every minute of it.


It was the best way to end the day. We finished it up with a nice quiet dinner in the Ghost Town and went home tired and happy.

When you go to amusement parks are you a thrill seeker or a show watcher?


  • bethany actually

    Oh man, I wish I could’ve seen that show with your dad! :-)

    The photo of you and Bug sitting by the dance-hall ladies made me smile. I know there are a few photos around of me and my brother sitting on that very bench.

  • a chris

    Looks like a great day.

    Great pictures too. (I can’t believe these palm trees you guys just have hanging around. I obviously need to do some more traveling.)

    I agree with Christine. That last photo is excellent. Everybody looks good. A happy memory successfully bottled!

  • Clownfish

    What a great day! Before I even read the caption, I thought, what a great pic of your Dad and Bug in the Semi Truck, love it!

    It truly is a great day when all can put their differences aside and just have a fun day!

  • thevelveteentoad

    LMAO! This is one of my favorite posts. I laughed at Toby’s possible six-hour long smoke break, your dad on stage, and Bug and the Domos. Hey! Bug and the Domos! That’s gonna be my new band name.

  • jen

    Knott’s holds such a special place in my heart!!! My first job was working there and I practically lived there from my teens through twenties. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Is the Bird Cage Theater still in operation?

  • bethany

    looks like a most golden day … and great pics! i’ve kinda been holding off on family amusement park trips as the 6 year old will only be uber jealous of the rides the 10-year-old can go on, and he can’t. this makes me wonder if maybe we could pull it off anyway? and yay for stuffed parrots and snoopy :).

  • Lety

    It’s so fun to see you doing stuff, that is near me, a little odd too but fun all the same!! We love Knotts berry farm, but I have a little princess on my hands and Disneyland wins every time:D lol

  • Amy

    Looks like a great day :) Do I enjoy rides at amusement parks? NO! Did Disneyland with the kids and hubby and spent all my time looking up in the air watching them on rides. But they loved it so all good..

  • A different Elizabeth

    What a fabulous day! I am so happy that your whole family takes Bug on expeditions together sometimes. She will always remember how you and Toby still got along for her sake, and she will treasure that. You guys are good parents. And that sounds like a fabulous amusement park. I love those hokey shows — I am a sucker for bad jokes!

  • norm

    Last time I went to Knott’s Berry Farm? 1967. Eek. My dad was speaking at a space engineering convention at the Anaheim Convention Center so we flew down there (in a helicopter! there used to be helicopter airlines in California!) and stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and went to Disneyland and Knott’s. I remember a stagecoach ride at Knott’s that featured real horses and a real unpaved road ;)

    Anyway, my kids are grown and I’m happy to be done with amusement parks, but dang it’s great how much they enjoy it when they’re the right age.