Just a few miles away from Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm is another very family-friendly theme park, with tons of rides, shows and character interactions appropriate for the younger set. It's very popular with locals because it's significantly less expensive than its neighbor.
If you're considering visiting Knott's Berry Farm with toddlers and wondering what there will be for you to do, this is the guide for you.
It skips all the extreme stuff and focuses only things you can do with toddlers and kids under 48" tall. If you want to know about the rest of the park, go to my comprehensive Knott's Berry Farm Guide.
Children under 3 get into Knott's for free. Kids 3 to 11 require a Junior Ticket. Ticket info.
Parent Locator Service
If your youngsters are the type who run after everything that excites them, it's a good idea to pin your name and cell phone number on them, but you can also register your kids at the Information Office when you arrive, so if they wander away, your cell number will be on file so they can call you.
Knott's Rides for Toddlers
Knott's has rides that kids as small as 32 inches can go on unaccompanied, and many rides where there is no minimum height limit if accompanied by a responsible rider. Most of these rides are in the Peanuts-themed Camp Snoopy area. They include:
- Balloon Race (min. height 36" or accompanied by a supervising companion) – carousel swing in hot air balloon baskets
- Camp Bus (min. height 42" or accompanied by a supervising companion)
- Flying Ace (between 32" and 54") - planes circling up and down
- Grand Sierra Railroad (min. height 46" or accompanied by a supervising companion) – miniature train ride
- High Sierra Ferris Wheel (min. height 54" or 36" with a supervising companion)
- Huff and Puff (under 52") – little carts that kids pump themselves around a track
- Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies (min. height 36” or with a supervising companion) – little cars circling
- Rapid River Run (min. height 42" or accompanied by a supervising companion) – a big boat on an arm that rocks it around in the air
- Rocky Mountain Trucking Co. (min. height 42" or accompanied by a supervising companion) – a convoy of kid-driven semis with room for parents as cargo
- Timberline Twister (between 36" and 69") – kiddie coaster
- Woodstock’s Airmail (min. height 36") – a mini lift ride like a kid-sized Supreme Scream
If parents want to ride on attractions that don't allow small children, Knott's also has a system where parents can stand in line together, and once you get to the front of the line, you can take turns riding, while the other parent waits with the kids.
Two of my favorite activities at Knott's Berry Farm are the horse-drawn Butterfield Stagecoach and the Calico Railroad, a real steam locomotive. Families with young kids have to ride inside the stagecoach, not on top, but it's still an adventure. And what kid doesn't love a train? Watch out for the train robbers! They're armed.
Character Interactions - Parental Guidance Required
Costumed Peanuts characters put on appearances throughout the day in a special area of Camp Snoopy where they pose for photo ops with cartoon set pieces.
In Ghost Town, a variety of western characters are around all day, ready to tell their story to curious kids. Beware, guns and violence are part of the old west theme, so if you don't want your kids exposed to that, avoid Calico Square at gun fight time. It's on the show schedule for the day.
Knott's Shows for Younger Kids
The primary show aimed at younger kids is the Peanuts-themed show on the Camp Snoopy stage, but many of the other shows are family-friendly too. Snoopy on Ice will either keep them engaged or let them fall asleep in the dark if a nap is your goal. The American Indian Hoop Dancer is fascinating for all ages. The outdoor Boom Town acrobatic show will probably keep their attention, but may inspire them to hang from the chandelier and bounce off the sofa. Live bands will give them a chance to dance off some energy, but tend to be louder than is safe for anyone, much less toddlers.
The Mystery Lodge may be a little spooky for toddlers, and you might not want them watching all the fake fighting in the Wild West Stunt Show. It's your call.
The kids' menus around the park are predictably hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken fingers. Sometimes you get a choice of apple slices instead of fries, and juice instead of soda. If you're looking for something healthier, sharing your adult meal may be a better option. Snack stands sell fresh fruit for $3-4 a piece so you might want to bring a few healthy snacks.
A limited number of single and double-seat strollers are available for rent just inside Ghost Town next to the Geode Shop.
Lockers & First Aid
Lockers and the First Aid Center are located together in Ghost Town, across from the giant wooden coaster, Ghostrider, just beyond the Spurs Grill. Some of the lockers include charging stations for electronic devices.
Baby Changing and Nursing Stations
Baby Changing and Nursing Stations are only provided in Camp Snoopy and outside the park gates at the California MarketPlace.