Knott’s Berry Farm started as Walter Knott’s roadside fruit stand in the 1920s. By the 1930s, his wife was selling her popular fried chicken next door, and Knott was selling his fellow farmer Rudolph Boysen’s just-invented “boysenberries.”
Over time the Knotts added more and more shops and attractions, from wishing wells to a replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to roller coasters, until eventually Knott’s Berry Farm was a full-fledged amusement park.
The Knott family sold the park to Cedar Fair in 1997, but it’s still going strong today, retaining its traditions from the Knott family era, while adding numerous new thrill ride attractions.
Knott’s Berry Farm developed a reputation over the years as more the park for locals. It is less expensive than most theme parks, certainly such parks as Disneyland and Walt Disney World. So it can be a good choice for the budget-conscious family.
Here are some tips for stretching your dollars even farther at Knott’s Berry Farm:
1. Buy discounted tickets.
If you buy an adult ticket at the gate, it will cost you $54. Buy it in advance online at the Knott’s Berry Farm website and it’s $46.
Normally, that is. Because if you check the website, you’ll find that they often discount the tickets even more. A special through December 31, 2010, for instance, put adult tickets at just $35.
Also check the website for specials that apply only to certain segments of the population. Military personnel, police officers, fire fighters, or local country employees may get reduced or even free admission.
Use search engines to look for discounts and coupons and you may find an even better price than what happens to be available on the website.
Often there are discounts through third parties. If you are a member of AAA, you can get 30% off your tickets. Burger King, Albertson’s, and TGI Friday’s among others will sometimes offer Knott’s Berry Farm coupons.
If you’re going with a group of 15 or more, Knott’s Berry Farm offers group discounts. Call their Group Sales number at 714-220-5211 for the specifics.
Also consider getting a season pass rather than paying for admission separately each day. Even if you only visit two or three days the whole year you should come out ahead. Season passes are just $60, and actually can give you access to the park for longer than a full year. If you purchase one in November or December of 2010, for instance, it is good through December 31, 2011.
2. Visit during off season, midweek, and early in the morning.
Even if you’re paying the same for admission to the park, you’re still getting more for your money when you go during the least busy times, as you get to do a lot more rides and activities in the same amount of time.
Coming to Knott’s Berry Farm during the least crowded times is especially worthwhile because unlike at the Disney theme parks, there is no “FastPass” system for avoiding long lines. If there’s an hour wait for an attraction, there’s an hour wait for an attraction.
Because the park attracts a high proportion of locals to tourists relative to many other theme parks, many visitors come for the day on Saturday or Sunday when they’re off from work and school. So the weekdays tend to be considerably less busy. Summer is far busier than winter. On most days, the least busy time is the first hour or two when the park first opens.
3. Eat before and after your visit.
As with most theme parks, the food inside Knott’s Berry Farm tends to be more expensive than the same food outside, and of course much more expensive than just eating at home before you come. So time your meals so you can reduce the need to spend money on food inside the park.
For the sake of tradition, you can make an exception for some of the famous fried chicken, and maybe some boysenberry pie.
Note that Knott’s Berry Farm is not one of the parks that allows you to bring food in, so don’t plan on packing a lunch or setting up some kind of picnic. In fact, they even limit beverages brought in from outside. As the website states:
“No outside food items will be allowed to be brought inside Knott’s Theme Park (or Soak City Waterpark). Please note that all backpacks, purses and bags will be inspected upon entrance at the Main Gate. Small insulated coolers, no larger than 1′ x 1′ x 1′ with water and/or sports drinks only.”
4. Limit the souvenir purchases.
One of the most common reasons people overspend at a theme park is they get nickeled and dimed spending small amounts of money on things they don’t need and barely want, and then they’re surprised at how quickly such small amounts can add up.
Skip most or all of the trinkets and souvenirs. If it would really ruin it for the kids to do without such items entirely, explain to them in advance what the limits will be and stick to them.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to enjoy Knott’s Berry Farm without blowing up your budget.
“Deals and Discounts.” Knott’s Berry Farm
“FAQ.” Knott’s Berry Farm
“Historical Background.” Knott’s Berry Farm
“Knott’s Berry Farm.” California Vacations Now
“Knott’s Berry Farm.” Southern California Theme Parks