After my daughter was born, people were often surprised that she and I were out and about as soon as the doctor released all activity restrictions. There is a certain confidence that radiates from second-time parents who have been around the proverbial parenting block. We've learned to meet their basic needs under nearly every circumstance and that babies are actually quite adaptive to a wide variety of circumstances. But beyond that, my 2 1/2 year old little boy needed to be out running and playing and exploring his world. So, with a diaper bag, a stroller and a baby carrier in tow, our days became mini adventures within our city. We'd often find ourselves at our local amusement park because it was convenient to have access to rides, attractions, activities, and a myriad of food options in one central location.
Featuring more than 40 rides, shows, and attractions, Knott's Berry Farm appeals to families in all stages of life. Tweens, teens and young adults love the thrill of Boomerang, Silver Bullet, and Xcelerator while school-aged children can't get enough of the Peanuts-themed rides and shows inside Camp Snoopy. But many families with young children under two often find themselves wondering how to enjoy the park and make memories when their infants and toddlers aren't tall enough to ride, need to stop for feedings and diaper changes, or simply require some down-time for a nap. As a family-centric park, Knott's Berry Farm has taken special measures to ensure families with the youngest of tots can still enjoy a full, engaging day at the park.
Before you venture out for a day at Knott's Berry Farm, download and print the park map to plan your day. You can also download Knott's Berry Farm's free mobile app for iOS and Android-based devices which will provide a GPS map to locate rides and attractions, a car finder to help you remember where you have parked at the end of the day, a friend finder to track friends and family members in your group, entertainment listings and showtime reminder alerts, and complete ride descriptions with photos and height restrictions. Being prepared will help you maximize your time at the park while planning around your infant's feeding and diaper change schedule or your toddler's nap time.
Once inside the park, remember that Ghost Town will be your central location for locker rentals, stroller rentals, and First Aid. Changing and nursing stations are available right outside the park at the California MarketPlace and inside Camp Snoopy near Timberline Twister. If your child were to get lost, the park's KidTrack program helps families quickly reunite with their children. I recommend registering for the program at Guest Services near the park's entrance. Kids receive a wristband, which includes the name and telephone number of their parent. If your child were to become separated, he/she could notify a Knott's Berry Farm employee wearing a name tag who will then walk the child to the Information Center to be assisted in calling his/her parents.
For many families with young tots under two, Camp Snoopy will be their central location, and much of the day will be spent enjoying the rides, shows and attractions specifically designed for them. Here are my favorites, none of which require a minimum height requirement as long as the child is accompanied by an adult.
1. Balloon Race: Soar through the trees in a brightly-colored balloon that offers sweeping views of Camp Snoopy.
2. Huff and Puff: Little tots looking to expend some energy will enjoy pushing and pumping their own mini-mining car around the track set up in Camp Snoopy.
3. Grand Sierra Railroad: Replicated after a real steam locomotive similar to the one that operates in Ghost Town, this train takes families on a scenic journey through Camp Snoopy and Fiesta Village. If your child is fearful of the bandits on the Calico Railroad, this is an ideal alternative.
4. Camp Snoopy Theatre: Join the Peanuts Gang for one of their engaging musical performances. At present, the theatre presents Charlie Brown's Happy Campers in a lively, outdoor-themed show.
In addition to the above rides, there are several low and mild thrill rides with height requirements matching that of 2-year-old children. I recommend referring to the Rider Height Guide for options suitable for your family. While it may be tempting to stay within the borders of Camp Snoopy, there are a number of family-centric rides, shows, and attractions throughout the park. Here are a few of my favorites, which can be enjoyed by guests of all ages.
1. Calico Mine Ride: Hop aboard an ore car for an authentic venture into the tunnels of a working gold mine. Recently refreshed, guests are immersed within the rich mining history of the 1850s in one of the world's most immersive dark rides.
2. Calico Railroad: When your infant or toddler is ready for some downtime, take a ride on this authentic Denver and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge train used in the early 1900s. *Note* Ghost Town bandits continue to hold up departures which may be frightening to young children.
3. Merry-Go-Round: What might seem to you like a traditional carousel, is actually one of the oldest working Dentzel carousels where families can climb aboard hand-carved lions, tigers, giraffes, horses, and more to the tune of an antique band organ.
4. Sky Cabin: The best view in the park offers 360 degree panoramas of Orange County, Catalina Island, and the LA Basin on a clear day.
5. Stage Coach: I don't know many places in Southern California where families can ride an original Butterfield Stagecoach pulled by real horses. See the park from this unique vantage point while taking a moment to step back in time as you experience 19th century transportation.
6. Native American Dancer: Families and children of all ages celebrate the myths, legends, music, and dance of Native American tribes in a show which encourages audience participation.
7. Mystery Lodge: Venture deep into the Native North American West with the Old Storyteller in an experience filled with excitement and wonder.
8. Wild West Stunt Show: Take a walk on the wild side at the open-air Wagon Camp theater for an exciting visit to the West.
One of my best tips for families with small children is to consider investing in a season pass. With so much to see and do, you'll be able to experience all there is to do at Knott's Berry Farm on your timeline without feeling rushed or pressured to see and do everything in one visit.