The first attraction at Knott’s Berry Farm, back in the 1940s, was a walk-through cyclorama called The Covered Wagon Show, which chronicled the Knott family’s move out west. Today the theme park’s live shows embrace that Old West magic, while also adding in music, storytelling, and even ice-skating Peanuts characters.
The first true live shows at the park were presented in 1954 at the small Bird Cage Theatre, a replica of a theatre from Tombstone, Ariz., and located in Ghost Town. The tiny theatre originally put on melodramas—classic tales of villains, good guys, and damsels in distress—and it still presents those stories, often with cheeky, 21st-century humor. The talent is solid, and there is even some impressive precedent here: this is the stage where a former local kid named Steve Martin had his first paid comedy gig.
The other shows around the park change periodically, but some themes always apply. The Old West flavor continues at the musical revues at Calico Saloon Show, and the open-air Wagon Camp theater presents crowd-pleasers like the Wild West Stunt Show, which combines a cowboy-fueled showdown with Hollywood-caliber stunts. During the summer, this section of the park is the focal point of Ghost Town Alive!, with appearances by bandits, cowboys, robberies, judges, and regular folks taking part in Western-style hoedowns. Nearby, check out the Virtual Reality Showdown, an interactive experience in Ghost Town.
In the little-kid-friendly section of the park, there is always a show (sometimes with a holiday twist) at the Camp Snoopy Theatre, featuring various members of the Peanuts gang; check times to see when the characters will be available for meet-and-greets.
The Mystery Lodge, next to Bigfoot Rapids, offers a Native American storyteller, performing against a colorful backdrop of special effects. Check the schedule at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre, outside the Boardwalk area, which often features big Peanuts-themed shows, like the impressive Snoopy on Ice, which highlights both the characters on skates as well as impressive, competitive-level figure skaters.