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17 Must-Do Knott’s Berry Farm Rides for Every Age

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Just down the road from Disneyland is another iconic and historic theme park. Located in Buena Park, California, Knott’s Berry Farm has been open since 1940, when rides and attractions were added to keep guests entertained while waiting for Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken dinners and boysenberry pies.

The park is now owned and operated by Cedar Fair which manages more than a dozen other amusement parks and water parks in North America. And if Cedar Fair knows anything, it definitely knows coasters and rides!

Knotts Berry Farm Silver Bullet Inversion Loop

The result is that Knott’s Berry Farm has evolved into a major theme park destination. It has retained its unique rustic charm and theming consistent with its agricultural roots and history as a quirky roadside attraction. But it has become one of the top theme parks in the country with the addition of many more rides and coasters over the years.

If you are planning a trip to Buena Park, here are 17 of the best Knott’s Berry Farm rides to add to your travel plans. Whether you have little ones looking for easygoing kiddie rides, thrill-seekers ready to tackle every coaster, or simply want some ride options for the whole family to experience together, you’ll find more than a couple of attractions in every category to ride on this list.

(Trips With Tykes uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through links in this post. See our full disclosure policy linked in the menu at the bottom of this site.)

Best Thrill Rides & Coasters at Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is probably best known for its scream-inducing thrill rides and roller coasters that adults and teens love. All of these coasters have height minimums, so be sure to measure any fearless younger kids in the family to avoid disappointment. Here are the top options that the adrenaline junkies in our family thoroughly enjoyed at Knott’s.

1) HangTime

Hang Time at Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 48 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Boardwalk

Who needs vertical drops when you can go beyond vertical? Yes, Hang Time is dive coaster that actually throttles you forward at a greater than 90-degree angle from heights of over 150 feet. But it doesn’t do that until it taunts you first. It slowly edges riders forward towards the drop, staring down at their doom!

HangTime is one of Knott’s newest coasters (it opened in 2018) and it absolutely delivers the thrills. The ride itself is on the longer side as far as coasters go – about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. It has multiple inversions and includes a cobra roll element.

Believe it or not, you will complete all of this action with just a lap bar. There are no shoulder restraints so that adds to the fear factor. It feels a lot more like you could fall out (of course, you can’t!). At night, HangTime has a vibrant lighting package – gorgeous viewing for the non-riders below.

2) GhostRider

GhostRider Wooden Coast in Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 48 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Ghost Town

Set among the wild west setting of Knott’s Ghost Town, GhostRider’s wooden beams are thematically fitting. But don’t let the rustic and rickety look fool you.

As much as I love the history, I’m usually hesitant to ride wooden coasters because of their brain-rattling ride experience. But GhostRider is one when it’s worth taking a leap of faith. The coaster was re-tracked just a few short years ago, making for a ride experience that is substantially smoother than even a lot of steel coasters!

Ghostrider is the longest and fastest wooden coaster in the country. It has an intensity that you probably haven’t experienced elsewhere. The pacing is just relentless. Riding it feels like a constant shot of adrenaline until it’s over. And it isn’t over until far later than your brain might be anticipating – 2 minutes and 40 seconds worth!

On our family’s last Knott’s trip, this was the coaster we all agreed we HAD to make time to do a second time, so it’s definitely not to be missed!

3) Pony Express

Pony Express Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 48 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Ghost Town

Opened in 2008, Pony Express is a steel motorbike coaster – a less common ride vehicle where guests straddle a central hump made to resemble riding a horse. Disney fans take note – Pony Express did first what the Tron attraction in Shanghai Disneyland (and more recently Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom) does. Despite the negative press Disney has gotten for Tron’s lack of accessibility, Pony Express’s design somehow accommodates larger riders much better.

The ride on Pony Express delivers moderate thrills topping out at 38 mph. The ride itself is quite short, making only a single loop around the track in 35 seconds. So the only negative is that you’ll probably be left wanting more. It’s also very low capacity, so the line can grow long compared to the short ride experience. I recommend hitting Pony Express early (perhaps second after rope dropping GhostRider which is nearby) if you want to experience shorter lines without paying a pretty penny for them.

4) Xcelerator

Knotts Berry Farm Xcelerator
  • Height Requirement: 52 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Boardwalk

Editor’s Note: Xcelerator finally reopened in November 2023!

Xcelerator is both the fastest and tallest coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm, so it’s definitely worth adding to your thrill ride list. The name gives away that this is a launch coaster, blasting to top speeds in a mere 2.3 seconds. It reaches 82 MPH, featuring a 90-degree drop from 205 feet. The ride itself is fairly short at just over 1 minute.

Unfortunately for thrill ride fans, Knott’s has been keeping Xcelerator closed since 2021. There seem to be signs of repairs underway as of spring 2023, with Theme Park Tourist speculating about a potential summer 2023 return. Fingers crossed that this classic makes a comeback soon!

5) Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet Knotts Berry Farm Entrance
  • Height Requirement: 54 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Ghost Town

Located right near the entrance to the park and visible from outside the gates, Silver Bullet is the coaster that is the most well-known symbol of Knott’s. It also delivers the most twists, turns, and rolls of all the coasters we experienced at Knott’s during our recent trip. It’s an inverted coaster, meaning that guests sit with their legs dangling, with the track above, much like the classic Flight Deck at my family’s home park up north, California’s Great America.

The coaster reaches top speeds of 55 MPH and has a run time of a little over 2 minutes. Its central location offers some spectacular views of the whole park – assuming you aren’t so scared from the ride itself that you close your eyes!

6) Montezooma’s Revenge (MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress)

  • Height Requirement: 48 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Fiesta Village

Editor’s Note: The refurbishment of MonteZOOMA’s Revenge has stalled without comment from Knott’s. There are rumors that this ride may not return, so stay tuned for more news.

MonteZOOMA’s Revenge dates back to 1978 when it launched. The ride is somewhat simple and short by modern coaster standards. It launches from a central boarding zone and accelerates into a vertical loop. The coaster then ascends a spike before pummeling backward through the same vertical loop, passing the boarding zone. It then passes up and down another spike at the other end. The coaster has only lap bars as rider restraints.

But all of that could change soon, as the ride is re-launching later in 2023 as part of a larger renovation to the Fiesta Village area of the park. The ride will get a revised name as MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress. It’s quite possible that the ride may be substantially different at that point, so stay tuned for updates. Given its history and the money Knott’s is investing into the refurbished offering, we’re cautiously optimistic that MonteZOOMa’s newest iteration will deliver as well.

7) Supreme Scream

Supreme Scream Knotts Berry Farm Drop Tower
  • Height Requirement: 52 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Boardwalk

Giant drop rides are certainly a dime a dozen at amusement parks all around the world. But Knott’s version delivers the thrills better than most. Supreme Scream accommodates 36 riders at a time – 12 on each of three towers that drop at faster than free fall speed using magnets to pull the carriages downward for extra speed.

At the time it launched in 1998, Supreme Scream broke drop ride height records at 252 feet. While it’s no longer the tallest Turbo Drop ride, it has magnificent views of the entire theme park, 50 MPH speeds, and 3 seconds of complete weightlessness.

Best Knott’s Berry Farm Rides for the Whole Family to Do Together

If you’ve had enough of the thrills or have family members who aren’t fans of mega coasters, Knott’s has several slower or medium-paced attractions to investigate. Our younger child isn’t yet a fan of major thrill rides, so we always prioritize lots of family rides at theme parks. Our family’s top recommendations are:

8) Jaguar!

Jaguar Coaster in Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 48 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Fiesta Village

While Jaguar! is a coaster that could easily go into the thrill ride list above, it’s one of the more easygoing coasters in the park. Its thrills are equal to or a little bit less than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland and Disney World. It’s an older steel coaster (circa 1995) with just a lap bar. There are no inversions but there are plenty of moderate drops. Its tracks are intertwined with MonteZOOMa, making for some cool coaster views when both are running.

We took my 9-year-old son, who is a thrill ride skeptic, on the attraction on our most recent trip. It pushed his comfort zone just enough without being too terrifying. I’d definitely recommend trying Jaguar! if you have younger children curious about coasters but who need time working up to the bigger twists and turns.

9) Calico Mine Ride

Knotts Berry Farm Calico Mine Ride Caves
  • Height Requirement: 46 inches minimum (or no minimum when accompanied by a supervising companion)
  • Park Location: Ghost Town

Calico Mine Ride is a classic dark ride that opened at Knott’s in 1960. It transports guests down into the tunnels of the gold mine, introducing them to animatronic miners at work along the way (who look like they could be cousins of some pirates who reside in an attraction the next town over). The historic attraction received a major refurbishment in 2014.

If you only do one non-coaster at Knott’s, I can confidently say it should be this ride. It’s uniquely weird and wonderful in much the way Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland or Cave Train at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk both are. Some of the visual sets and effects are quite beautiful, with well-lit caves and water features we were all craning our necks to see more of.

The Calico Mine Train ride vehicle is a long train with bench seats along the sides facing inward, making views a little challenging in places. Additionally, the train slowly ascends and descends at a couple of places in the ride, which can be awkward while side-facing. But that’s part of its historic charm for sure!

10) Calico Railroad

Knotts Berry Farm Calico Railroad
  • Height Requirement: 46 inches minimum (or no minimum when accompanied by a supervising companion)
  • Park Location: Ghost Town

Right next to Calico Mine Train is another railroad that transportation-loving families need to experience – of the larger and authentic variety. Calico Railroad runs with historic turn-of-the-century steam engines on narrow gauge rails. The train makes a complete circle into some backstage areas of the park and along the park’s perimeter.

Ominous looking bandits always hold up the train and banter with guests, making for entertaining interactions that my younger child couldn’t get enough of (the actors are also in the area outside the train to meet and greet guests in between rides).

11) Timber Mountain Log Ride

Timber Mountain Log Ride
  • Height Requirement: 46 inches minimum (or 36 inches when accompanied by a supervising companion)
  • Park Location: Ghost Town

Like Calico Mine Train, Timber Mountain Log Ride has a long history at Knott’s and was recently refurbished to preserve its classic glory. It continues a similar story and theming, with animatronic loggers from the old west set in scenes throughout the attraction.

As the name makes clear, the ride is a log flume attraction, with ride vehicles that seat 4 front to back in a straight line. Kids as small as 36 inches (the size of an average 3-year-old) can ride accompanied by an adult. The ride ends in a traditional log flume-style drop. Given the age of the attraction, the drop isn’t as steep as what you might find at modern takes on this kind of attraction like Disney’s Splash Mountain (soon to be Tiana’s Bayou Adventure). Nevertheless, the ride is plenty thrilling, and ticks along at a pretty speedy pace.

There’s a decent chance you’ll get wet on the ride, making it a nice place to cool down on warmer SoCal days. That said, guests don’t seem to be randomly completely soaked as is the case at Disneyland. The ride is often closed for annual refurbishments in colder months.

12) Calico River Rapids

Calico River Rapids at Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 46 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Ghost Town

If you aren’t wet enough from Timber Mountain Log Ride, take the family next to Calico River Rapids – Knott’s whitewater river raft ride. Formerly known as BigFoot Rapids, the classic attraction received major updates and a re-branding in 2019. You’ll see many of the same animals and old west miners and settlers as you will on both Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Train, giving this area of the park a common thematic feel.

Guests board rafts that seat 6 in a turntable loading zone and then cruise through scenes that give a back story to Ghost Town. The thrills are pretty moderate, but are elevated by the unpredictable factor of the water. It’s impossible to know in advance whether you are going to be a rider who gets soaked or one who mostly escapes unscathed!

Even if you have little ones too small or just not ready to ride, this is an attraction that you may still enjoy watching. Guests not on the attraction can control the dynamite section of the ride near the end where water cannons blast other guests on the ride.

13) Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair

Family on Knotts Bear-y Farm Return to the Fair Attraction
  • Height Requirement: 46 inches minimum (or no minimum when accompanied by a supervising companion but must be able to sit upright and unassisted in separate seat)
  • Park Location: Boardwalk

Knott’s Bear-y Tales is a modern reimagining of a classic attraction from the 1970s and 1980s. The ride follows a pair of bears who go to the county fair and attempt to stop a scheming coyote thief determined to steal boysenberry pies. The ride features interactive gameplay with riders seated in a row of four using blasters to snatch the pies back from the thieves.

If you are familiar with Toy Story Midway Mania or even WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disneyland, this attraction probably won’t satisfy to the same degree in terms of gameplay. In particular, we found the jam jar blasters to be too heavy to hold steady to aim and shoot for the length of the ride. But the sets are well worth a viewing. And the ride is one that is fun for the whole family to do together.

Best Knott’s Berry Farm Rides for Young Kids

Knott’s doesn’t leave out the littlest of visitors – there are a surprising number of attractions for babies, toddlers, and younger kids too. (See this guide for all the tips for visiting Knott’s Berry Farm with kids.) The Camp Snoopy section of the park is where these rides are mostly located. Several of the attractions have height maximums, so parents and older siblings may need to wait for the little ones on these rides – for once!

While quite a few of the rides are of the kind found in a variety of amusement parks and state fairs, there are a few unique attractions among the bunch. And even the pre-fab ones are well-themed with Peanuts scenes and characters so younger kids will enjoy them anew.

14) Linus Launcher

Linus Launcher in Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 42 inches minimum (or 36 inches when accompanied by a supervising companion)
  • Park Location: Camp Snoopy

For kids ready for a few very mild thrills, Linus Launcher is the place to visit first in Camp Snoopy. Linus Launcher is a Zamperla Kite Flyer attraction which is a pretty rare find in amusement parks (and was new to our family). Guest lie face down, as if they were atop Linus’s security blanket, and are locked in before being spun in a circle, Dumbo-style.

This ride is probably the best option in all of Camp Snoopy for the entire family to do together. My 14-year-old got a kick out of the unique ride format and my husband and I really enjoyed it as well. Just be aware that adults need to be pretty agile to get into the ride itself. To board, you must hoist yourself up into the vehicle and crawl into it face first. Even if you are nimble, it’s awkward for adults. But if you are not afraid to look a little silly in the boarding process, Linus Launcher delivers a ton a fun.

15) Huff and Puff

Huff and Puff Mine Cars in Camp Snoopy Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 52 inches maximum
  • Park Location: Camp Snoopy

Editor’s Note: Huff and Puff is slated for retirement when Camp Snoopy gets a big refurbishment in 2024. Ride it by January 7, 2024 before it’s gone!

With so many attractions at Knott’s having a height minimum, Huff and Puff is finally payback time. It’s one of the only attractions in the park to have a height maximum! Here, little ones take command of a mining cart, using their own brute strength to pump the lever and make the vehicle move. It’s hard work, but ridiculously cute for parents and older siblings to watch. Knott’s employees often are able to help with an extra nudge to move the youngest of riders along if they have any issues.

16) Grand Sierra Railroad

Grand Sierra Railroad Peanuts Characters Knotts
  • Height Requirement: 46 inches minimum (or no minimum when accompanied by a supervising companion)
  • Park Location: Camp Snoopy

If you have kiddos who can’t get enough of train attractions, Grand Sierra Railroad is a smaller railway that takes guests through some of the Camp Snoopy section of the park. Along the way, the train passes through several scenes with their favorite Peanuts characters in action. It’s an easygoing ride that has a higher capacity than many of the attractions in Camp Snoopy so lines are often shorter here during peak times than at other attractions.

17) Woodstock’s Airmail

Woodstock Airmail Camp Snoopy Knotts Berry Farm
  • Height Requirement: 36 inches minimum
  • Park Location: Camp Snoopy

Last but certainly not least is Woodstock’s Airmail. This is an attraction type you’ve probably seen in a lot of family fun centers and amusement parks – a junior drop tower that bounces riders up and down for mild thrills.

This is another attraction that adults can ride with kids. While I watched my son when he rode this attraction, there were a few parents of younger kids who accompanied theirs. And they were laughing and shrieking with glee right along with the little ones.

With a capacity of just 6 riders per cycle, it’s very low capacity. So count the guests in line ahead of you carefully before you commit to standing in line. But when lines are short, this attraction is a winner.

Additional Tips for Visiting Knott’s Berry Farm

Knotts Berry Farm

Looking for more advice to make the most of a Knott’s Berry Farm visit? Here are the tips and tricks that served us well in maximizing our time at Knott’s.

1. Snag Discount Tickets

Don’t pay full price! Never ever walk up to the gates on the same day at Knott’s (or any theme park for that matter these days) and expect to find a deal! Knott’s offers discounts if you pre-purchase online, so it definitely pays to plan ahead.

But you can often save even more by purchasing tickets through my ticket partners at Get Away Today. Get Away Today sells discount Southern California vacation packages and can also help with hotels in the area in addition to saving you money on tickets. (Note: if you don’t see ticket results when using that link, be aware that Get Away Today releases dated Knott’s tickets anywhere from 1-4 months in advance, depending on the time of year. If you are too far out, it’s too early to purchase.)

2. Consider FastLane

If you want to do a lot of rides in a single day – particularly the coasters and thrill rides – you may want to budget for FastLane, Knott’s cut-the-line service. It’s pricey, starting at $74 per person per day, with summer 2023 prices as high as $119. But you essentially walk right on every thrill ride in the park.

Check what rides are covered though if you have younger kids too small to ride or not yet ready for all the coasters. The vast majority of rides on FastLane have height minimums and are thrill rides.

3. Check for ride closures

Knott’s is open daily, unlike a lot of regional theme parks. But it doesn’t operate everything in the slower seasons. Be sure to check for ride closures before your visit so you don’t get your heart set on certain rides and end up disappointed.

4. Have a strategy for Camp Snoopy lines

You might not expect that the kids’ section of the park can require a line strategy, but it does! None of the rides in Camp Snoopy have FastLane, so there’s no way to cut the lines. And many of the Camp Snoopy attractions are very low capacity, causing lines to build. If you have a child who wants to experience many of these attractions, avoid midday. Riding the rides early or later after many guests have left for the day are smarter strategies.

5. Be aware of size limitations

Several of the rides at Knott’s Berry Farm are not as inclusive as you might expect (especially if your reference point is Disney parks – with the exception of Pony Express compared to Tron!). Larger and taller guests may not fit on everything. Try out the test seat near the entrance to all major attractions if you think this may be an issue. For what it’s worth, I have always fit on everything at Knott’s but I find Coast Rider, the crazy mouse coaster, the tightest (or at least the most awkward fit) for many adults.

6. Do more than just rides

While the rides at Knott’s are amazing, the park is about more than just rides. Make some time to experience the entertainment, shopping, food, and theming of the park more generally. It’s very well done – one of the better theme parks in the country in my humble opinion (its closest analog is probably Dollywood, which feels similar in theming in certain places).

Our family of ride junkies especially enjoyed eating our way through the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival as well as watching Krazy Kirk & the Hillbillies. My son also had a blast watching the stage show with Peanuts characters in Camp Snoopy.

Disclosure: Visit Buena Park in partnership with Knott’s Berry Farm provided my family with complimentary tickets to Knott’s and FastLane passes on our most recent visit for review purposes. I have purchased Knott’s Berry Farm tickets and paid related travel expenses to the area on my own on other occasions. As always, all opinions are my own.

Planning a Knott's Berry Farm theme park vacation in Buena Park, California? Don't miss these best Knott's Berry Farm rides, from thrill rides and roller coasters to family and kid-friendly attractions like the rides in Camp Snoopy.

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