Remember when I took my kids to Disneyland with my ex? And remember how I am kind of a Scrooge and didn’t really enjoy it that much? Well, I took my kids to Knott’s Berry Farm and Amusement Park (home of “Camp Snoopy,” the littler kids section of the amusement park) last weekend without the ex.
Here’s why it was better. And no, it wasn’t better because the ex wasn’t there. I actually really could have used an extra set of hands since Little Man wanted to be held practically the entire time. And no, Knott’s isn’t paying me to say this. I bought my tickets off of some website where things are less expensive than at the ticket counter like all of you.
1. Knott’s is smaller. Square footage, diameter, circumference; you name it and Knott’s has a smaller number before any of those measurements. And that made it more manageable for sure. I could hold the images of the layout of the park in my head all at once, I didn’t get lost, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the size. It was smaller and sometimes smaller is better. Like now. Talking about Knott’s.
2. Knott’s has less people. Misanthrope that I am, you know I have issues with people. Like masses of people. Hordes. Large groups all moving in the same direction like sheep to the slaughter of commercial capitalism. Right? Well, Knott’s just didn’t have those throngs of people and it made me much happier. Much.
3. Good old-fashioned fun. You know what I liked to do at Knott’s in 1984 when I last went? I liked panning for gold. I still have the “Knott’s Mining Town” vial of gold flakes in my rock collection (Yes, I have a rock collection, did you miss the part of my existence here where I said I am a giant nerd?). My boys panned for gold and they loved it. The guys working the gold panning station were adorable and explained it all and they were just so much fun in their plaid shirts and bandanas and cowboy hats. It was really fun.
4. Vegan and Gluten-free options. What!? I know. Both! Right at the restaurant in Camp Snoopy. Mac n’ cheeze, gluten free buns and veggie burgers (we had ours wrapped in a Romaine lettuce leaf since the gluten free buns were, alas, not vegan!), and even a vegan Caesar salad. Yum.
5. Snoopy. Sure, it’s still commercial. But Snoopy to me is not as prevalent and insanity-inducing as Mickey and Minnie and all of those princesses and all of that Disneyland stuff. I don’t begrudge anyone who likes their Disneyland, but it does nothing for me, and this felt much more substantive. All good.
And when I left Knott’s, I felt totally touched out due to holding my 50 lb Little Man most of the day, and I felt exhausted from managing small people in moderate crowds and negotiating everyone’s needs and pee schedules (and of course children need to poop at the most inopportune times). But I didn’t feel like I had nothing else to give this world because of massive sensory overload and neurological shutdown which is kind of how I felt when I left Disneyland. And that was with two other adults!
Whatever your preference, enjoy spending an exorbitant amount of money if you want to go to any amusement park (I remember the days when Knott’s was a whopping $9 and even that we had to budget for!), but if you want something smaller in general and less hectic, but with tons of great roller coasters, decent souvenirs, good old fashioned Western fun, and a vegan burger wrapped in Romaine, you know where I think you should go.