Knotts Berry Farm
Location: Buena Park, CA
Known as “America’s First Theme Park,” Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California has a very unique history behind how it started. Knotts Berry Farm started out pretty much as the name suggests. Walter Knott and his family owned the land where the park sits today and they sold berries and berry preserves from stands along the road in the early 1920s. As the 30s and 40s rolled along, the Knotts began selling homemade fried chicken dinners from the stands as well. The word spread about how great the food was that tourist began travelling just to get a taste of the chicken. The Knotts decided to build shops and a restaurant to sell the chicken from to make it easier on the family. In 1940, Walter decided to try building a Ghost Town attraction on the property to attract even more guests. This is where the theme park idea sprung up.
In 1950, the theme park ideas that Walter Knott had were beginning to shape up. He ran a summer long county fair on the property and beginning in 1968 actually made guest pay a fee of $.25 to get into the park. Walter Knott began adding attractions like the Calico Log Ride in 1969. In the 1970s, Knott turned to political views and took less of an interest in the park, but the park remained as family members continued adding attractions each year and in 1975, the park soared as the addition of the Corkscrew roller coaster brought a new breed of guest to the park. Coaster enthusiasts would travel just to try out the coaster.
The park had continued success in to the early 80s when Walter died in 1981. The family members continued to operate the park until the 1990s when they were obligated to sell everything they had control of. They sold their food service to ConAgra Foods and eventually to Smuckers and then sold the park to Cedar Fair Entertainment in 1997. Originally the park had an offer to be sold to Walt Disney, but they were afraid that the Disney Corporation would tear down most of what the Knotts had created and they did not want that. Unfortunately, when Cedar Fair took over the reins, they demolished more than what Disney was going to do. Cedar Fair added major thrill attractions and created a more suburban feel to the park adding corporate restaurants like Chilis.
Today the park hosts 10 roller coasters including an inverted coaster named Silver Bullet, wild mouse coaster called Coast Rider that was just opened, and an Intamin launched coaster called Xcelerator. The park is filled with thrill rides, things to do for the kids and an excellent water park that is filled with exciting pools and slides. You do not want to miss the scenic and iconic Knotts Berry Farm next time you are in California.
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