Last month we visited Knott’s Berry Farm for fun and education. We picked a day during the week and not a weekend which allowed us to see the entire park in about 6 hours with hardly any wait times on rides. Our day started with a rooster loudly cockadoodling on a fence post near the shops and on our way to the main gate. There were candy stores and all kinds of neat souvenirs to buy when we returned on our way out. Once through the main gate we visited Camp Snoopy and took a train ride throughout that section of the park. Overhead the Silver Bullet roller coaster whizzed by as we admired a wonderful display of boysenberries growing in a small patch on neatly manicured vines. We ventured onto the Silver Bullet next with a 5 minute wait time. Our next adventure was on the Calico Gold Mine train ride. This is a wonderful re-creation of what miners experienced while laboring hard to find gold. We rode this twice in the front of the train and in the back. Two very different experiences. We visited a real one room school house that was shipped out from Kansas from the 19th century. Nearby, a Wells Fargo Stage Coach was on display with a plaque that told of story of the legendary Black Bart and how eventually he was paid by the bank to not rob them anymore. We rode the X-celerator for an adrenaline rush, then the Coast Rider which overlooked one of the original parking lots complete with dirt and chickens, and Surfside Gliders on the “pier” while baby ducklings paddled by with their mama. Next, we thumped on the bumper cars, rode the Pony Express Roller Coaster, went to old town to watch wood carving, a Native American dancer, and a blacksmith with a sense of humor in an original black smith shop. We moseyed into a western shootout skit on the other side of the screaming Silver Bullet riders. At about 2:00 P.M., we enjoyed a delicious Mrs. Knott’s chicken dinner lunch with boysenberry lemonade drinks and chocolate truffle dessert from the candy shop nearby. Back in the park, we panned for gold on our way onto the Ghost Rider. We learned that panning for gold is more work than it looks, but enjoyed the idyllic location and a vial with some yellow stuff at the bottom. The Ghost Rider was a thrill and, in our opinion, the best roller coast ride. We rode this twice since there was only a 5 minute wait time. Our next stop was the Timber Mountain Log Ride. This ride was great wet fun and a good reminder about how difficult/dangerous the logging industry can be. We revisited the bumper cars, rode the log ride again, played laser tag on Voyage to the Iron Reef, re-visited the pier and the ducks for another glider ride, and visited an amazing Geode Shop with a million dollar exhibit of actual dinosaur eggs, a T-Rex fossil, and many other fossils from the deluge. We were “blown away” by the many wonderful finds in that store. In fact, our student exclaimed that, “I want to buy the whole store!” Our day ended with a thrill ride on Hang Time. There was a great fire pit outside the exit near the shops and restaurants. We made sure we left the park with a bag full of boysenberry goodies: syrup and jam. Our day at Knott’s was both educational and fun!
Meanwhile, ten months ago we toured the Independence Hall at Knott’s to relive history 242 years ago, when the Declaration of Independence was signed. This was a worthwhile visit located across the street from the world famous Ghost Rider roller coaster. Hearing the recreated voices of our founders as they considered the outcome of the event of declaring independence from the most powerful military force in the world, England, was moving. These men of courage and principle, who valued liberty more than their property, heritage, and life are reminders of how the United States of America was born. The carriage from that time period in the foyer helps to flash back to this event. Having a man dressed up like Ben Franklin sets the mood too. Being in the replicated hall itself is moving. The re-creation of the actual cracked liberty bell with its inscription: Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof…” Leviticus 25:10 sits in the main hall with a harpsichord from the colonial era adjacent to it. So while enjoying your American ideals at Knott’s, take time to reflect on the principle foundations of our country’s liberty.