Saturday, August 24, 2013

Knott's Berry Farm with a Toddler - Part 1

We took our toddler for his first trip to Knott's Berry Farm, yesterday, and as usual, we had a blast! There was so much to do for the little ones. I was impressed! 

As soon as we got into the park, an employee asked us if we needed help finding something as we looked at our map. From someone who goes to theme parks as much as I do, this is a BIG deal. Theme park employees are not known for their friendliness or customer service, so this started our day off on the right foot, for sure!

Not only is there Camp Snoopy, where the little ones can join their parents or even ride alone, but there are quite a few other family rides and attractions where someone who is under 34" tall can enjoy.

We loved the sky cabin, where you are treated to views from San Diego to Los Angeles.

Here it is from the ground...

The Calico Gold Mine was another favorite. This is, as they say, in the industry, a "dark ride". For toddlers, it is a VERY dark ride. It is a cool little train ride inside a very dark "mine". Our little guy was a little scared and clung to us, but for the adventurous toddler, this was just fine. We almost went on again because our kid was up for it.

The next photo was taken from the Butterfield Stagecoach, where 4 real horses pull you around a road in an authentic stagecoach from the 1800's. Although I'm not a huge fan of horses working so hard at a theme park, we thought a one-time ride would be ok. 

Of course our "big boy" loved it. He is getting to the point where he wants to sit by himself and asks me not to hold/hug/snuggle him in certain situations... like his very first stagecoach ride. He asks ever so politely, "sit like big boy" when he doesn't want to sit on my lap. Where does the time go??? He isn't even two, yet, for goodness sake...

Then we visited Camp Snoopy. This entire area has smaller carnival-style rides suited for little kids and toddlers. We met Snoopy and Woodstock, here, and since this park was not crowded at all, he got to spend some time getting to know these two, and even danced with them!

They were so cute! Now, for the absolute coolest part/big boy milestone/mom tearing up and scared to death moment... our toddler went on his first ride. By. Himself.

The Red Baron allows riders over 32" to ride. This is the lowest height restriction that I have seen among all of the Southern California theme parks. 

I had to set aside my fears and trust that this little boy was not going to climb out of his seat belt (which I pulled super-tight before I stepped out of the ride envelope) and let him wait, alone, for the ride to start. I thought his patience would wear out and he we squirm and cry, like a baby, before wriggling out, but he waited so incredibly patiently. 

Although he couldn't really pull the stick that would allow him to fly up high, I was so proud of the little bug as he enjoyed his first solo-ride. This was a very big deal for him and his parents!

Sooo, we decided to commemorate this fun-filled day with a family portrait...

I loved taking this pic. I almost died when I came out of the dressing room and saw our little guy dressed up like an outlaw! Worth every penny. My advice is to get the mat, to go with the photo, to keep it stiff. Otherwise, you are given the photo in a bag with the option of picking it up later and wrinkling it on your way to the car.

Then we watched a real blacksmith at work!

You know it was a fun day when you get back to the car looking like this...

We had a great day at Knott's Berry Farm with our toddler. I must admit, I would not have gone, had I not had complimentary tickets, but now that we've been there, I'm definitely going to make sure to visit at least once a year, maybe even get passes. The western theme was so charming and nostalgic, with so much to see and do, and it was not too crowded on a weekday, so lines were a piece of cake.

Also, ticket prices are HALF of what you pay for other theme parks and passes, yet, the value is excellent for the price. The roller coasters are world class, so big kids can have a ton of fun, too!

Plus, it will be so cute to see the old timey photos change over the years. (I hope they have old lady costumes... not sure how long I can pull off the saloon girl look!)

Oh and for my vegetarian friends, the Ghost Town Grill had an amazing black bean burger! I love when I find delish theme park food, especially as a veg. Usually you can find a dried out frozen "veggie burger" to fill the void, but I this tasted homemade! It was a little spicy and BIG but so good that I ate the entire thing for a late lunch and that was it. No dinner needed, for me, last night.

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