Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive! Returns as Part of Action-Packed Summer

Looking for an in-person Wild West experience? From Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, Ghost Town Alive! has returned to Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California for another action-packed summer complete with bandits, cowboys, robberies, judges, a good ol’ western hoedown, and much more! Guests can visit the beloved town of “Calico” and experience an authentic western adventure by becoming a star in this summer’s story of the Wild West, where the power to unlock adventures is in the hands of every guest. Knott’s invited us to the park to experience Ghost Town Alive!, and become a part of the action. Continue reading for what our family thought of Knott’s Ghost Town Alive!

Visiting with the Sheriff during Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town Alive - photo by Drew Kaplan

Visiting with the Sheriff during Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive – photo by Drew Kaplan

Sheriff Wheeler announcing that Mayfield is coming in on the train as part of Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town Alive- photo by Drew Kaplan

Sheriff Wheeler announcing that Mayfield is coming in on the train as part of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive- photo by Drew Kaplan

Transporting guests back in time to the late 19th century, when mining was the primary economic engine of a western town, Ghost Town Alive! is an immersive experience and can be fascinatingly educational, too. With various activities around a small town (yes, within Knott’s Berry Farm), guests can learn about how such a town might have operated. While visiting Knott’s Berry Farm this past Sunday, I checked out what the festivities were for a few hours with my kids. Beginning at 11am, a living play takes place at various points around the Calico town, with a storyline involving drama. The storyline for this summer picks up where last summer’s story of the notorious Mayfield Gang having escaped the custody of Sheriff Wheeler. With the Mayfields having been spotted back in Calico and the townsfolk being in need of some help in capturing the bandits and keeping the town safe, Ghost Town Alive! offer guests a firsthand experience to play an important part in this unfolding story of the wild west, with specific tasks and activities and an essential role as an honorary citizen of Calico.

Charges being announced against Mayfield at Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town Alive - photo by Drew Kaplan

Charges being announced against Mayfield at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive – photo by Drew Kaplan

I found Ghost Town Alive! an engaging storyline, especially how it can make kids think about engaging in civil society, even – or especially – in a small town seemingly on its own. Whether its legislative, juridical, or voting, it can help engage youngsters in thinking differently about how we construct and maintain civil society. For instance, when we saw the arraignment of one of the Mayfields at town hall, we got to see the charges read against him and the announcement of his upcoming trial (in just one hour), it was clearly a much different context and circumstances than we would experience today in America. What was so enjoyable and lively about it was not simply that it was taking place and we were watching it, but that we were there, with the actors and actresses embedded amongst us.

A romantic moment at Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town Alive - photo by Drew Kaplan

A romantic moment at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive – photo by Drew Kaplan

But beyond the really neat experience of being within a roving play, of sorts – and it surrounding us – was how incredible the actors and actresses were to stay in-character even between the scenes of the various mini-plays about town. I was very impressed by how well the actors and actresses remained utterly in-character when interacting not only with each other, but guests, as well. I was blown away. One interaction that was very minor, yet was a great example of how well they were in-character, was when a young lady was sitting by a tree, writing in her notebook (clearly, in-character) and a young man approached her to give her a flower as a token of his romantic interest. What was incredible was that I noticed it simply by walking by and that it wasn’t done only once an audience had gathered. It had simply taken place as an example of how [they tried to show that] people lived in the town. That really stuck with me.

In the schoolhouse at Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town Alive- photo by Drew Kaplan

In the schoolhouse at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive- photo by Drew Kaplan

“Ghost Town Alive! has taken Knott’s summer entertainment and the idea of ‘playing in a theme park’ to a whole new level. Guests of all ages will have the opportunity to not just interact with the citizens of Calico, but will have the ability to influence how the story takes shape,” said Jon Storbeck, General Manager of Knott’s Berry Farm. “Our Entertainment team has been working all year in developing new storylines, adding new characters and activities that make up the lively town of Calico.”

Along with the return of Ghost Town Alive! The park debuts Snoopy’s Magnificent Magical Revue, a jaw-dropping magic show starring the World’s Most Famous Beagle, Snoopy and showcasing the mystifying and amazing magic of Magician Extraordinaire Greg Wilson! The whole Peanuts gang will amaze and confound with their magical exploits and lavish musical production numbers in this family friendly show on select dates, June 10 – August 20 in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre.

Hoedown dancing at Knotts Ghost Town Alive- photo courtesy of Knotts Berry Farm

Hoedown dancing at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive- photo courtesy of Knotts Berry Farm

The renowned “Traveling Circus” returns for another season of exhilarating performances. Set on the Calico Mine stage in Ghost Town, come witness a spectacle, see awe-inspiring stunts, and death defying acrobatics in “Circus of Wonders.” The astonishing 30-minute spectacular will be action-packed with all-time favorite circus attractions such as the trapeze, tightrope, aerial acrobatics, trampoline, and of course, clowns, incorporating lighting and pyrotechnics, making this nighttime show a totally unique event! Select dates, June 10 – August 20.

Whips out at the Wild West Stunt Show as part of Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town Alive - photo by Drew Kaplan

Whips out at the Wild West Stunt Show as part of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive – photo by Drew Kaplan

The live entertainment continues with the explosive Wild West Stunt Show and the high kickin’ Calico Saloon Show, all in Ghost Town. At the Wagon Camp Stage, get “krazy” when Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies mount their toe tappin’, knee-slappin’, gut-bustin’ country comedy show that will have audiences clamoring for more! In the evening, a group of krazy talented performers will have guests kicking up their heels with vine dancing, a down home jug band and dueling fiddlers and banjos!

While I had wished we could have stayed the entire day and taken in all of the entertainment offered, we had to return home for naptimes, but we will be sure to return to Knott’s this summer to check out the many exciting activities has to offer! Knott’s also invites guests to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend and Labor Day weekend at the park for a special nighttime firework display. The Buena Park skyline will glow with a brilliant fireworks show on July 1-2 & 4 and September 3rd, exclusively at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Family playing poker with sheriff as part of Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town Alive - photo courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm

Family playing poker with sheriff as part of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town Alive – photo courtesy of Knott’s Berry Farm

DISCLOSURE: Adventures by Daddy was invited to Knott’s Berry Farm and received complimentary admission to experience Ghost Town Alive. However, all opinions are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on InstagramTwitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Drew Kaplan