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Meet Knott's Most Legendary Creature: Catawampus

Jill Parkin

Jill Parkin is an Orange County native and the writer and creative mind behind the well-known Southern California lifestyle blog, Sandy Toes & Popsicles. This is where she shares the best things to do in Orange County, recipes, crafts and travel tips for families. Jill is the mom of three boys ages four, nine and eleven, and they along with her husband are constantly on the go; enjoying the outdoors, road tripping and exploring new places. She loves documenting their adventures on Instagram under the hashtag #popsicleadventures, hoping to inspire others to make adventures of their own. She’s very grateful to be able to share her love for Knott’s on the Berry Blog.

In Ghost Town, at the end of Main Street near the base of the old windmill, lives one of Knott’s most legendary creatures. It’s a very strange creature made of an old tree branch, a bristle brush and a set of ram horns. What is this creature? It is called a CATAWAMPUS.

The Catawampus originally lived near the storage area where Walter Knott and Paul Swartz used to store the lumber that they used to build their buildings. The Catawampus was then relocated to Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s had an area called Jungle Island many years ago, where strange creatures called “Woodimals" and later renamed “Woodniks,” lived. These creatures resembled the Catawampus as wooden animal figures. Jungle Island was the home of the Woodimals and could be reached by presenting a "C" ticket from the Super Bonanza Book. Yes, there was a time when you would purchase tickets for individual rides at Knott’s. Using the “C” ticket, guests would go across a shallow moat and arrive at a forested hill. Here they could play games of hide-and-seek and tag amongst these strange creatures. 

Woodimals, including the Catawampus, were "creatures" made from twisted branches of wood with glowing googly eyes that also made sounds such as mooing and moans. Kids could teeter-totter on a Woodimals at the water's edge, activating fun splashing effects, or ride on one like a rocking horse to spray water across the moat. However, Jungle Island is no longer a part of Knott’s Berry Farm. Jungle Island, along with the adjoining Burro Trail, was incorporated into the private picnic grounds in the 1990s, both of which are still there today. And with that, the Woodimals have all but disappeared...EXCEPT for one!

Today the last "Catawampus" lives beside the windmill in Ghost Town. Look closely, and you will find it. At night, the glow of its eyes can be seen amongst the shadows of the cacti. He is a quiet, solitary creature, and if you listen—you will hear it’s faint moo. 

The sign underneath him reads: Of the vast herds of Catawampus which centuries ago roamed the western plains, this is the only one left. According to Professor Ananias, when the Catawampus is gone the species will be extinct. Who is Professor Ananias….we may never know.

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Jill Parkin

Jill Parkin is an Orange County native and the writer and creative mind behind the well-known Southern California lifestyle blog, Sandy Toes & Popsicles. This is where she shares the best things to do in Orange County, recipes, crafts and travel tips for families. Jill is the mom of three boys ages four, nine and eleven, and they along with her husband are constantly on the go; enjoying the outdoors, road tripping and exploring new places. She loves documenting their adventures on Instagram under the hashtag #popsicleadventures, hoping to inspire others to make adventures of their own. She’s very grateful to be able to share her love for Knott’s on the Berry Blog.

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