Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Day at Knott's Berry Farm

This morning, I went to a big record sale in Buena Park with my friend Phil.  As we were driving down Beach Boulevard, past Knott's Berry Farm, I casually asked Phil, "Wanna go to Knott's?"  Phil's eyes lit up, and it was on!  He invited his girlfriend Camille (It turns out they have season passes) and we had an absolute blast at Knott's Berry Farm.  It has been at least 15 years since I visited Orange County's other amusement park.  Here are some pictures (with commentary) of my wonderful day.

Before entering the park, we checked out Independence Hall, a replica of the one in Philadephia.  Walter Knott, founder of Knott's Berry Farm, was a conservative super-patriot.  He used to sponsor anti-communism schools.  The building is impressive.  The interior is slightly creepy.

George Washington and Betsy Ross...

Life size Liberty Bell replica...

America!  And boysenberries!

Then we headed over to the amusement park...

The first ride we went on was Supreme Scream.  It's a good thing we ate after going on that one!

The main theme of Knott's Berry Farm is "Old West" so there are gold miners, horses, trains and other "Old West" things.  It's pretty cool, in a sort of consumerist ahistorical sense.

Here Phil pretends to be a corpse at Boothill Cemetery.  The "Old West" was a violent place.  I don't think Phil or I would have survived long there.

Really old employee taking a break...

You can pan for gold at Knotts.  I informed Phil that the people who made the real money during the California Gold Rush were people like Levi Strauss, who sold miners jeans.  Actual mining didn't "pan out" for most miners, who never struck it rich.

At the Western Trails Museum, you can look at what is supposedly the world's largest collection of barbed wire.

Here I am with some "Old West" prostitutes.

The Log Ride is a lot of fun, once you get past the creepy animatronic miners scattered throughout the experience.  These miners both look and sound like they have absolutely lost their minds.  Phil informed me that the first person to ever ride the Log Ride was John Wayne.  I informed Phil that John Wayne's birth name was Marion Morrison.

We saw two live shows at Knotts.  The first one, at the Mystery Lodge, was pretty good, if a bit condescending toward Native Americans.  The second one, entitled "Snoopy Unleashed On Ice" was an absolute disaster.  There was no story line, and some of the routines didn't even involve any characters from Peanuts.  Camille told me that the "Christmas on Ice" show was much better.

The Calico Mining Co. ride was fun.  My only criticism was its depiction of Chinese American rail workers, which is historically accurate, but calls to mind a very disturbing bit of history that was quite distracting.

A real stage coach!  Did you know horses have only one toe, and their their hooves are like giant toe nails?  Evolution is weird.

Sidewinder is a good coaster.

I remember going on Montezooma's Revenge as a child.  It may have even been my first roller coaster experience.  The theme of the ride is the Aztec King Moctezuma, who was defeated by European conquistadors, and is said to have cursed visitors to Mexico with monstrous diarrhea or nausea, which the ride can also create.

The ride Jaguar is located right next to Montezooma's Revenge, and continues the theme of exploiting ancient cultures for modern amusement.

We headed back to "Ghost Town" which I informed Phil and Camille didn't really qualify as a ghost town, as it was filled with thriving businesses, and was in the center of an even larger business.

Step right up, folks!  Get your tonics, elixirs, and snake oils!

They have a full size steam engine!

All in all, it was a really fun day of rides, shows, and decontextualized "history."  

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