The signs of Christmas abound at theme parks, and Knott’s Berry Farm is no different. But somehow it is. Billed as “Knott’s Merry Farm” a visitor to the park can be sure to see a large Christmas Tree in Calico Square, the center of the Park. But there are things that tell you things are different here.
First up is the fact that every single merchandise shop has a fully decorated Christmas Tree – and none of them are the same. In fact, that’s one of the joys of visiting Knott’s at Christmas – exploring the shops and seeing all the unique trees.
Second are the shows, two of which involve the Peanuts characters of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Snoopy – especially Snoopy, that beloved beagle. There’s the traditional ice show in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. This year’s version is called, “Merry Christmas, Snoopy!”
Over in Camp Snoopy, there’s another offering in the outdoor arena Camp Snoopy Theatre called, “Lucy’s Wish List.”
And speaking of the large Christmas Tree in Calico Square they have a nightly lighting ceremony featuring, you guessed it, that lovable beagle called “Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting.”
But the Peanuts characters do not monopolize the live shows. In the Bird Cage Theatre the troupe there offers two different live shows, “A Christmas Carol” and “The Gift of the Magi.” Meanwhile, over at the Calico Saloon on the stage behind the bar, and in the dining area, and on top of the bar, is the Calico Saloon Christmas Show.
Other Christmas offerings include “Christmas on Engine 41,” which is “The Ghost Town & Calico Railroad.” Normally, riders on the train get to suffer the comical indignity of a “train robbery.” In the Christmas version, riders will meet up with a variety of characters ranging from a well-dress lady searching for her man, to a conductor asking for your tickets. (Hint, if you reach for your pocket for a piece of paper, he will assume you are providing tickets for everyone, and punch the paper dozens of times.)
There is also Santa’s Christmas Cabin, located in the Wilderness Dance Hall. In here you can purchase a variety of unique Christmas sweets and drinks including cookies and milk, eggnog and more. This is also where kids of all ages can find Santa Claus and get a photo with the jolly old elf.
This year Knott’s is also offering the chance to experience snow on Ghost Town’s Main Street at night. This is similar to the experience Disneyland offers at night on Main Street U.S.A.
Finally, the other unique to Knott’s at Christmas, are all the crafts people invited to come in and set up shop on the streets of Ghost Town. It’s a rare chance to shop for very unique items for Christmas gifts. Some of them include real blown glass vases, animals made of wood and carved with a chain saw, hand made Christmas ornaments and other unique items.
And if you really want to make or purchase Christmas decorations of all kinds and colors for your tree, then stop in at Miss Doolittle’s, which is changed into a hands-on shop for those wishing to change up their Christmas Tree decorations.
Now with all of these things, plus the rides Knott’s is known for, you would think the place would have visitors rushing around like mad shoppers. Far from it, people seem to visit Knott’s Berry Farm in a more relaxed manner than they do at Disneyland.
During a visit on Saturday, Knott’s Berry Farm General Manager Raffi Kaprelyan was wandering through Ghost Town – on a Saturday. He observed that one of the things he is trying to make sure of is that Knott’s Berry Farm is a very family friendly theme park.
“I think the park is set up in a way to encourage families to stay together to explore things,” he said.
Kaprelyan pointed to the resurgent popularity of newly refurbished attractions like the Calico Mine Train Ride and Timber Mountain Mine Ride, along with the refurbished Camp Snoopy area as things that are attracting families. “We like that families don’t feel they have to rush around and can enjoy things together,” he said.
The park recently announced a new interactive attraction for next year, in the seam monster ride, “Voyage to the Iron Reef,” in which riders will take a trip under the sea to battle the Queen of the Krakens. This ride is being designed for the whole family.
He also hinted at some things to come in future years, “There are some areas we want to explore developing new things around the property, areas that are underutilized. But I can’t say anything more.”
And wouldn’t those be nice Christmas presents at Knott’s Merry Farm in the years to come at America’s oldest theme park.