Knott’s opens its summer door to adventurous fun

Sunset River at Knott's Soak City Waterpark is the perfect antidote for the summer weather. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

BUENA PARK, CA-OK. Summer is here. Time to go out, explore and have some fun. There are a lot of choices to make when it comes to entertainment in Southern California. The Southland is a hotbed of things to do on a 24/7 basis. Live theatre, open-door concerts, red carpet events, sports; you name it, we got it here in the City of Angels.

When it comes to theme parks, the variety out there are like apples and oranges. Checking out Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Soak City Waterpark are two worthy options. Both Knott’s Berry farm and Knott’s Soak City Waterpark are worthwhile ventures that allows you and the family to run into little distress while soaking up old-school fun.

The Calico Saloon Show inside of Ghost Town at Knott’s Berry Farm is a great attraction for the theme park. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

On one hand, you have an all-wet theme park set up specifically to cool you off when the weather becomes too hot to bear. On the other side of the coin, the other entertainment venue plays astutely to the Old West.     

The interesting thing about Knott’s Berry Farm is how the theme park is re-tracing its steps back to its roots. That starts with their infamous Ghost Town setup where the grandeur draw of the Wild, Wild West still have that nostalgic feel that continue to resonate with the young, the old and in-between.

The catch of Ghost Town is now extended to blending in new school rides like Ghost Rider and Silver Bullet for younger customers. Kicking back and taking in familiar western-themed shows such as the Wild West Stunt Show and the Calico Saloon Show are places where Baby Boomers are more readily attached to be entertained by.

Ghost Town Alive, where good and shady characters intermingle with customers, has revived Ghost Town at Knott’s Berry Farm. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

If you’re looking for a high-octane, continuous rush of rides and chills, Knott’s Berry Farm has a different vibe to it. Rides like Supreme Scream, Xcelerator, Ghost Rider, Silver Bullet, and Montezooma’s Revenge gives Knott’s a modern look in the roller-coaster world. But what Knott’s Berry Farm really is about is the slow grind of Ghost Town and the family atmosphere it presents. 

Going back to yesteryear with the blacksmith hammering away, the Butterfield Stagecoach making its way around the western oasis, and riding aboard the Calico Railroad with a couple of bank robbers, gives you a sense of why the park is still in business. 

Tidal Wave Bay makes Knott’s Soak City Waterpark a fun place to hang out for the summer. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

When you consider the way how all other theme parks operate, Knott’s is pretty unique. The western genre is a large part of that uniqueness. Knott’s brings that part of American history to life with an all-around schitck of presenting Ghost Town Alive.

This is where characters-good and bad-walk around Ghost Town just about all day, mingling and interacting with customers while conducting a live show of crooks mining the town and getting out of jail, jostling with the local sheriff (Marshal Purdy). It is an interesting dynamic as the live theatre aspect of this act make it believable and more fun to enjoy, which is the idea of Ghost Town Alive in the first place.    

Knott’s Berry Farm has gone through somewhat of an identity crisis in recent years as the newest and most daring of thrill seekers, particularly young people, have sought other refuge for their entertainment pleasure. Rides such as Windseeker has gone into the closet, but interactive shows like the Voyage to the Iron Reef makes the place cool.

But what has carries Knott’s Berry Farm for all these years is knowing its place in the theme park world. That place is re-creating the western with a dash of incorporating delicious dishes like the boysenberry pie that fit into their entertainment scheme. The dancing and prancing done in the Calico Saloon Show and the bad cowboy, good cowboy presentation in the Wild West Stunt Show, probably Ghost Town’s more lively of shows, are a big part of this ongoing gig. 

Ghost Town Alive is bringing life back to the Old West at Knott’s Berry Farm. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

This show is always packed with wide-eyed youngsters to the old guard called parents and grandparents as they sit and watch bodies fly all over the place in rhythmic precision. Just like the overall experience at Knott’s Berry Farm, Ghost Town is a very laid-back place to be.

You might have the same reaction to Knott’s Soak City, a dream world of water slides and the ultimate pool party. When Knott’s Soak City opened in late May, the first wave of customers engulfed the theme park with a sea of bodies as the kickoff launch coincided with the first days of summer. Heading straight down on a 63-foot drop waterslide called Old Man Falls might get your attention.

The most engaging part of Knott’s Soak City Waterpark are not even the waterslides. The Beach House, where buckets of water is heaved on you from three stories up, is a lot of fun. And plenty wet. The most adventurous water moments at the theme park come from Tidal Wave Bay.

With a setup reminiscent of an actual surf marker, Tidal Wave Bay gets the juices flowing as hundreds of thousands of tons of water bob and weave with the intensity of an ocean during real-life tidal waves. The artificial simulation works out pretty well. But for the straight chill side, Sunset River is the way to go.

The long and winding waterway is just what the doctor ordered if you are in no mood to get too adventurous and just want to relax and soak in the sun while enjoying the whole water experience without being stressed out about a ride going to fast. This escape is perfect for people like me. Being non-adventurous has its perks.                        

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1083 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.

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