Returning to Knotts pt.2

Continuing my trip from May 21st I will say the staggered entrance times and social distancing in the queues and rides did make for a pleasant experience, we had ride cars all to ourselves and we were able to breeze through lines. This is something that will be missed following the changes in state guidelines that removed these precautions.

A quiet queue for the Calico Mine Train

Knott’s put the park’s downtime to good use, sprucing up paint jobs and effects inside the park. The cavern room and dynamite scenes on the Calico Mine train have seen some lighting and smoke/fog upgrades. (note: Between my May 21st and most recent visit I also noticed a change in the train narration.)

With the queues being so short it also meant it was prime time for coaster riding. I admittedly struggle with coasters, thanks to an anxiety condition. Before the pandemic my plan for 2020 was to slowly build up my coaster experience to where I could enjoy a trip to somewhere like Six Flags, and now I can try to put that plan into motion again. My partner has been -very- supportive in this and after 20 minutes of coaching me next to the boysenberry orchard, he got me to ride Silver Bullet! For myself the issue is the slow build-up and height before the initial drop, and I fair much better on launch coasters like the Incredicoaster that don’t give me much time to contemplate my own mortality before it starts. But once we hit the first loop it was smooth sailing on the rest of the ride. When I’ll get the courage up for Hang Time has yet to be seen but baby steps!

The beautiful berries of pre-ride contemplation

As part of the 100th Knott’s is celebrating its history in every nook and cranny available, creating special photo ops, live music and performances, and lots of merch. Staggered throughout the park are photo areas dedicated to prior rides and icons such as Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, Soap Box Racers, and the Mystery Shack.

Along these photo ops and attractions you can find these “Moments in Time” QR code signs that when scanned will open up a webpage with a video containing historical information about the area in question. The example below was taken from one of the California Mission displays.

Many of the shops, such as Virginia’s Gift Shop and The Factory store, are fully stocked with posters, glasses, t-shirts, and more celebrating the rides of Knott’s past. An entire side of the Factory store in particular is dedicated to the past and present incarnations of Bear-y Tales. One of the items I left with was a Sad-Eye Joe poster that will be going up on my Knott’s wall.

Sky Drop shotglasses
Knott’s said Furry Rights

One of my favorite things I stumbled upon was in Fiesta Village, where I caught a performance by the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. They are a puppetry group that is based out of a historic children’s theater in Los Angeles. Let me tell you watching some Cacti puppets dancing to Herb Alpert’s “Tijuana Taxi” was one of the most specific meetings of interests I have ever had and I was probably the most enthusiastic person there. 10/10 recommend.

 

Dancing Flowers are also highly delightful

Rounding out my visit was a trip to the recently re-opened Geode Shop. The Geode shop has an impressive collection of gem, mineral, and fossil displays. These displays often include not only the specimen properties but locations they were sourced from, which is often an indicator of more ethical sourcing. (Something that, with the current popularity of crystals, is a rising issue.) Prominently displayed outside the shop is a Geode cutter where guests can pick from an assortment of rocks to have cut open for them revealing the sparkly contents inside. Prices range from $10 to $100+ depending on the size of the Geode. Speaking to a lovely young gentleman working there I found out that a retired Geode Shop employee had recently passed and had willed his private collection to them for display and sale. From what I understand many of these Geodes had been hiding in storage since the 1970s. Luckily one of the geodes was within my price range so I went for it.

 

What it turned out I had was a very pale amethyst geode containing some angel wing calcite, a very beautiful piece indeed that is now displayed with the rest of my rock collection.

It was around this time I noticed that the crowds started picking up in the park as folks rolled in for the summer nights festivities which is when we decided to call it a day. (We’re planning a dedicated summer nights trip later into the season.) On our way out we hit up the berry market where we purchased some fudge including the cotton candy flavor, which was much more delicious than it had any right to be.