|Knott's Berry Farm|
Buena Park, California, USA
If you're looking for unsuspecting starts for today's major theme parks, you would have to travel to Buena Park, California and back to the 1920s, when the Knott family began farming twenty acres of land and making a profit off of boysenberries that they grew at a roadside stand. In the year 1934, Mrs. Cordelia Knott opened a fried chicken restaurant, and the people came. So many people, in fact, that her husband Walter came up with the idea of constructing a 'Ghost Town' attraction with rides, and buildings relocated from actual ghost towns across the Southwest to entertain the restaurant's crowds in 1940.
Ghost Town grew throughout the 40s and 50s, with the year 1968 bringing an admission fee to the park and the official renaming of Ghost Town to Knott's Berry Farm for the first time. Knott's brand of jams and preserves became nationally recognized, and so would Knott's Berry Farm itself. The 1970s were years of major change for Knott's, with the Berry Farm becoming home to a number of landmark rides that would spark trends throughout the theme park industry.
The first revolutionary ride to make heads turn hit the park in 1975 when Arrow Dynamics' (then Arrow Development) Corkscrew opened in a new themed section called Roaring Twenties, and went down in history as being the very first steel rollercoaster to flip passengers upside-down in its double-corkscrew element. And the innovation certainly wouldn't stop there, with Knott's investing in the Soapbox Derby Racers, a second ride from Arrow and one of only two coasters like it in the world to revive the Steeplechase rides of the past with triple parallel tracks racing each other.
Again, Arrow Dynamics came back to the Farm to build a third groundbreaking ride: the Timber Mountain Log Flume with the claim to being the very first log flume ride in the theme park world. But KBF wasn't finished for the 70s quite yet. On May 21, 1978, Anton Schwarzkopf's Montezooma's Revenge launched riders through its shuttle-looping course at 50-mile per hour speeds and residing in a new section called Fiesta Village.
A new parachute tower named Parachute Jump (later converted into an observation tower) was added and the Roaring Twenties section became Knott's Airfield. A more minor coaster addition came with 1983's Timberline Twister, a thirty-foot tall family coaster. Over the next few years, the park introduced two new sections named Indian Trails and Wild Water Wilderness, the latter including a white water rapids ride named Bigfoot Rapids.
Before the end of the 80s, the decision came to remove a ride from the coaster collection in favor of a new attraction. The original steel looper, Corkscrew, was that ride, and left Knott's Berry Farm after fourteen years in operation and found a new home in Idaho. In its place in 1990 opened Vekoma's Boomerang, a second shuttle-looping coaster with three inversions; and the section around the coaster became known as The Boardwalk. One more steel coaster track was added to the collection five years later: the 2,602-foot long Zierer family twister Jaguar, with sections intertwining with Montezooma's Revenge.
The time to remove another major coaster came again in 1996 when Knott's second coaster, the Soapbox Derby Racers, which had become a costly attraction to operate and needy of maintenance, ran for the last time, and was replaced the following season by another uncommon type of racing coaster - a dual-tracked family single-looper dubbed the Windjammer Surf Racers, from Togo International.
A major change in park ownership came in 1997 when the Knott's family, which had operated the Berry Farm since the beginning, handed the theme park over to the Cedar Fair chain for $245 million. Cedar Fair wasted no time in what they do best - turning parks into major destinations for families and thrillseekers alike. Cedar Fair added a Camp Snoopy children's area and then contracted Custom Coaster International to bring something to Knott's Berry Farm that had been lacking since the beginning - a good, world-class wooden coaster. Before the end of 1998, the park had exactly what it needed, and GhostRider rose above Ghost Town with a tightly-packed L-shaped track layout of 4,533 feet, becoming a critically-acclaimed ride and widely regarded as one of the best wooden coasters in the world.
The same year that GhostRider opened, a new hit blasted onto the scene when S&S Power's then-tallest freefall tower complex, the 315-foot 'Turbo-Dropping' Supreme Scream, began blasting thrillseekers towards the ground with its triple towers dominating over the park. The major thrill additions continued the next year with another record-smashing ride when Perilous Plunge from Intamin AG dropped into the Boardwalk featuring the tallest and steepest drop ever pulled off on a splashdown water attraction, with riders screaming down 115 feet towards the water below at 80 degrees.
At the turn of the millennium, Cedar Fair introduced a new $28 million Radisson Resort to encourage overnight visits, along with the nearby Soak City USA waterpark on 13 acres. But in late 2001, the WindJammer, due to design flaws and unpopularity, was demolished, and that site would become home to Knott's tallest and fastest coaster the following year. Designed by Intamin, Xcelerator made its debut on the 22nd of June, 2002 as the world's first 'Rocket Coaster' using hydraulic forces to rocket riders up a vertical hill of twenty-nine stories before plunging through the remaining portion of the 2,202 feet of coral red-colored track.
In 2004, three brand new attractions came to the park. The first and biggest being Silver Bullet. Silver Bullet became billed as California's largest overall inverted coaster coming from renounced designers B&M. With heights near 150 feet and a sleek, twisted six inversion layout, Silver Bullet became a hit. A second new ride in 2004 came in the form of a new flat ride. A Huss Top Spin was added called Riptide, sending riders through 720 degrees of attitude as water splashes on the riders. Also in 2004, a brand new upcharge attraction was built as a first of its kind. Knott's Berry Farm contacted the insane people down at S&S for a new kind of ride called a Screamin' Swing. Screamin' Swing took its first riders in October 2004 as it swings riders to heights over sixty five feet and speeds over sixty miles per hour. Though, in late 2004, what has been known as one of the cheesiest dark rides in existence was removed, Kingdom of Dinosaurs was finally removed shortly after the opening of Silver Bullet in December 2004.
© Knott's Berry FarmIn 2007, Knott's was about to be taken for a spin, literally, with the addition of the Sierra Sidewinder. Located at the entrance of the Camp Snoopy section, the ride is a family coaster that spins riders around through speeds of thirty seven miles per hour and whizzes through 1,411 feet of steel. The ride, designed by Mack Rides, is the second spinning coaster ever made by the company after Europa Park's famous Euro Mir roller coaster. The ride will also feature a new style of spinning cars from the company and guarantees that no two rides are alike.
Knott's Berry Farm has become an icon in parks in Southern California. And in recent years became a park with unique thrills thanks to Cedar Fair's management with rides such as Xcelerator and Silver Bullet. If you want some sweet thrills under the sunny California sun, Knott's Berry Farm is the place!
Present Roller Coasters (10)Edit
|Coast Rider||Mack Rides||Wild Mouse||2013||Open|
|GhostRider||Custom Coasters International||Wooden||1998||Open|
|Sierra Sidewinder||Mack Rides||Spinning||2007||Open|
|Silver Bullet||Bolliger & Mabillard||Inverted||2004||Open|
|Timberline Twister||Bradley And Kaye||Kiddie||1983||Open|
Past Roller Coasters (4)Edit
|Corkscrew||Arrow Dynamics||Sit-Down||1975||1989||Silverwood Theme Park|
|Wacky Soap Box Racer||Arrow Dynamics||Steeplechase||1976||1996||No|
|Windjammer Surf Racers||TOGO||Sit-Down||1997||2006|