As a theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm is frequently renown for being an early precursor to the nearby Disneyland, and for its infamous “Scary Farm” Halloween haunt, which generates half of the park’s annual revenue. But it’s definitely worth it to note that over the past few years Knott’s has been channeling its Scary Farm income into sprucing up the rest of the park for its guests year-round: refurbishing some rides, adding new animatronics to others, and even building a couple new ones from the ground up.
One other aspect of Knott’s that has seen a vast improvement lately has been its yearly “Knott’s Merry Farm” Christmas celebration, which first appeared in the park in 1985, and runs from late November through the end of the year.
Knott’s Merry Farm’s offerings are wide and varied this year, and there’s a little something for everyone– even if you’re a thrill-seeker you can jump on Knott’s coasters and other rides while the rest of the family enjoys the holiday fun– so let’s take a look at what’s available:
Christmas Crafts Village
If you take a left upon entering the park the first area you’ll encounter is Ghost Town, which has been decorated as a Christmas Crafts Village. Here you’ll encounter carolers and pop-up shops selling all manner of hand-crafted goods. You can even learn a little about life on the frontier while you’re there.
Christmas on Engine 41
Knott’s resident authentic railroad has been decorated for the season, and guests can climb aboard for a ten-minute journey around Ghost Town and Calico Square.
Calico Saloon Christmas Show
Much like Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Saloon, the Calico Saloon is home to a wild-west themed song-and-dance comedy show that incorporates audience participation and sing-alongs. At this time of year, hostess Cameo Kate and friends perform holiday ditties and more toe-tapping fun.
Bird Cage Theatre Christmas shows
The famous Bird Cage Theatre, where actor/comedian Steve Martin got his start as a theatrical performer (after working his first job at Disneyland’s Magic Shop,) is home to two heartwarming shows during Merry Farm: “A Christmas Carol” and “The Gift of the Magi,” both of which feature a talented cast of musicians and actors.
Santa’s Christmas Cabin
In the Wilderness Dance Hall (which Scary Farm fans will recognize as the home of Pinocchio Unstrung) during Merry Farm you’ll find Santa’s Christmas Cabin, where you can treat yourself to a variety of tasty treats, like Snoopy-shaped cupcakes and Egg Nog. Then you can line up to meet Santa Claus himself.
Christmas Time is Here, Charlie Brown
Of course, it wouldn’t be Knott’s without an appearance or three by Snoopy and his pals, otherwise known as the “Peanuts” gang, whose recent theatrical movie is sure to boost the popularity of their shows in the park. For the much younger audience, you’ve got “Christmas Time is Here, Charlie Brown” in the Camp Snoopy Theater. It’s a short, simple story starring Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy as they sing Christmas carols and reenact a famous scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Merry Christmas, Snoopy! Ice Show
Far and away the most impressive attraction at Knott’s Berry Farm, and the one that definitely draws a large crowd to the Charles M. Schulz Theatre in the back of the park, is the “Merry Christmas, Snoopy!” ice show. Featuring professional-level figure skaters and very high production values, the show is a real treat, and I would call it a must-see for anyone visiting during the season.
Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting
Calico Square, where “The Hanging” occurs during Scary Farm, is home to the nightly tree lighting ceremony for Knott’s Merry Farm. It’s a fun mish-mash of jokes, song, and pop-culture references, but in a far more family-friendly style than its Halloween counterpart. Of course once again the show feature appearances by Snoopy and pals, and even Santa shows up to help with the countdown.
Snow and Glow in Ghost Town
Before you leave the park for the evening, be sure to swing back through Ghost Town to see what it looks like all lit up. And several times per evening, it’s been known to snow in this area.
All in all, Knott’s Merry Farm makes for a worthwhile outing for the whole family. Without the space restrictions that the Scary Farm mazes and decorations place on the park, Knott’s really takes advantage of the opportunity to fill every corner with Christmas decorations, and the combination of the shows, goodies, and rides ensure that you and yours will have a full day of fun together.