Knott’s Berry Farm, a SoCal local favorite amusement park, continues to raise the bar every year with their fun mix of thrill rides and down-home Old West atmosphere. It’s a winning combination that culminates with the Grand Opening of the Calico River Rapids on May 16, 2019.
Calico River Rapids (formerly known as BigFoot Rapids) is a completely new overhaul, but it’s not just an amusement park ride. The attraction adds to the story of Calico, and you become the explorers on a search for new land. Frontiersmen Potts and Colter have plotted your path through the Calico River, and you’ll encounter a variety of new surprises as you float down the rapids in a circular raft ride (seats 6). These surprises may include indigenous wildlife, peculiar homesteaders and even a Big Foot!
Join the citizens of Calico, including Potts, Colter and the Mayor, as they host a Grand Opening ceremony.
That’s just one example of how fun it is to interact with the citizens of Calico. On my walk from the Main Entrance towards the Calico River Rapids, I ran into several residents, including the Sheriff and his posse, two lovely older gentlemen and the shop girl who is also an apprentice seamstress. Taking just a little time to chat with them is half the fun! I happened to be wearing my Captain Marvel hoodie, and the Sheriff was very interested in my odd outfit. I told them I was “a Captain” and garnered much respect for the rest of the evening.
After the Grand Opening, we all trooped onto the ride in full daylight. Before you even reach the rafts, the storytelling begins. In the queue you’ll notice HUGE footprints. Could this be that mysterious Big Foot? The queue leads you further and further from civilization, on footpaths and through covered bridges, until finally you reach a mysterious lodge with two beds. This must be where the explorers live as they explore even further beyond the town.
Now YOU are the explorer, as you board your 6-person circular raft. The ride begins and the river lulls you into a false sense of security as you drift past woodpeckers and raccoons. But then, the water starts flowing more rapidly as you pass by a howling wolf and a shack. When you see the bear, watch out! Great plumes of water start shooting high into the sky! You start moving downriver towards a cave, but what’s inside?? It’s Big Foot!! The churning water spits you out of the cave into droves of smoke. For a minute I thought I was at Knott’s Scary Farm! Luckily for my backside, there was no giant drop on this water ride. We still got a little wet, but not soaked.
At the opening, I was lucky enough to speak with the legendary, award-winning Garner Holt, Founder and President of Garner Holt Productions (The Tiki Room, Abraham Lincoln animatronic, Fantasmic dragon). Here he explains working on the various animatronic figures, the importance of storytelling in the ride and why you should ride both during the day and at night.
Immediately after this interview, I walked outside and saw that the sun had set – so I went on Calico River Rapids for the nighttime experience. The ride is spookier! You hear sounds of animals but don’t necessarily see them right away. Big Foot packs a bigger punch. And that Scary Farm smoke? It just adds to the eerie atmosphere.
Not a fan of water rides? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. Folks on dry land can use “dynamite” and send water plumes high into the air, to drop down on the unsuspecting riders. Calico River Rapids is fun for all ages!
For park hours and more info on Knott’s Berry Farm, head to knotts.com. Say “HI” to the citizens of Calico for me! For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagram, twitter and “like” our facebook page too.