Cordelia Knott opened her chicken dinner restaurant in 1934, next to her and her husband Walter's berry farm. Over the years, Walter added a Ghost Town and other attractions to entertain diners while they awaited tables. That evolved into the Cedar Fair-owned theme park that welcomes more than four million visitors a year.
Knott's invented the after-hours theme park Halloween event with Knott's Scary Farm in 1973, which now runs select evenings in September and October. Knott's also puts on several food and entertainment festivals throughout the year, including the Boysenberry Festival (celebrating the fruit hybrid first cultivated on Knott's farm) in the spring, the Peanuts Celebration in late winter, and Knott's Merry Farm for Christmas.
Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ★ ranked especially highly among our readers. Subscribe here to our free weekly email of theme park news to participate in the next ranking survey.
New for 2023... or maybe 2024
MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress
The park's former Montezooma's Revenge, a 800-foot-long Schwarzkopf shuttle loop with a 55-mph launch and one inversion, is getting a new name and a rebuild. The new ride will feature a randomized launch sequence and its queue will get story upgrades about doomed treasure hunters searching for Montezooma's gold. Originally slated to open in 2023, this ride might be pushed to 2024.
What to Do
A 4,533-foot Custom Coasters International wooden coaster, retracked by Great Coasters International in 2016, with a 108-foot drop and top speed of 56 mph. Height requirement: 48 inches
A 3,125-foot Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster with a 109-foot drop, top speed of 55 mph and six inversions. Height requirement: 54 inches
A 2,198-foot Gerstlauer infinity coaster with a 150-foot beyond-vertical drop, top speed of 57 mph and five inversions. Height requirement: 48 inches
A 2,202-foot Intamin accelerator coaster with an 82-mph launch onto a 205-foot Top Hat. Height requirement: 52 inches
A 1,250-foot Zamperla Moto coaster, styled to look like you are riding on the back of a horse, with a 38-mph launch up a 44-foot hill. Height requirement: 48 inches
A 1,411-foot Mack Rides spinning coaster with a 39-foot drop and top speed of 37 mph. Height requirement: 42 inches
Knott's Berry Farm is located in Buena Park, California - about six miles from Disneyland and 30 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). John Wayne Airport (SNA), in Santa Ana, is only 20 miles away, but more destinations around the world have nonstop service to LAX.
Once you get close to the park, watch for signs directing you to whichever parking lot Knott's is filling at the moment.
Once you buy your tickets, plan to park and arrive at the entrance gate before it opens, usually at 10am. In addition to the main entrance on Grand Ave., there is a back gate on Western Ave. that Knott's opens if it is using the parking lot there.
Your first priority as soon as the gates open should be to get to GhostRider, which has absolutely terrible waits for most of the day. Compared with GhostRider, nothing at Knott's tends to have too long a wait, so do what you want, when you want to, noting our readers' recommendations above.
We very much do recommend the entertainment throughout the park, including the Ghost Town Alive interactive experiences throughout Ghost Town in the summer, anything playing at the Bird Cage, plus whatever is on at the moment in the Walter Knott Theater. And set aside time (and get your hand stamped as you exit) to visit Mrs. Knott's restaurant for a sit-down lunch or dinner. If you don't have a big appetite, or much time, try the chicken sliders at the bar.