The Old West–themed Calico Mine Train was the first big ride to open at Knott’s Berry Farm, back in 1960—at that time, it was a groundbreaking “dark ride” roller coaster with animatronic gold miners inside. Today, the Buena Park theme park has a wide array of rides, from G-force-pushing thrillers to kid-friendly fun in the Camp Snoopy area.
On the fast-paced end of rides, check out HangTime, a “dive coaster” in the park’s Boardwalk area that has a steep vertical drop and mid-air suspensions, or the Xcelerator, which goes from 0 to 82 mph in a little more than two seconds. If you like spinning rides, try the Sol Spin, which features six rotating arms that go up to six stories high. And keeping with the Old West theme of the Calico Mine Train, the GhostRider is the fastest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast.
Families with little kids, meanwhile, will love the Camp Snoopy area, devoted to low-key rides and the Peanuts gang. Glide through the air on a security blanket on the Linus Launcher, sit in a classic swing ride on Charlie Brown’s Kite Flyer, or ride a gentle ATV on Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies.
For crowd-pleasing thrills, don’t miss the classic Timber Mountain Log Ride, which, like the Calico Mine Train, features animatronic miners and animals, but ends in a splashy 42-foot flume. Or get a good dousing on the river-raft ride Calico River Rapids—formerly known as Bigfoot Rapids—that takes adventurous passengers on a journey in search of new lands to settle in the western frontier. Along the way are plenty of surprises, like unexpected white water, musket-toting homesteaders, and such “wildlife” as rattling rattlesnakes, howling wolves, and bear cubs.