Monday, August 04, 2008

Knott's Fun-pak!

Raise your hand if you want to see some vintage photos of Knott's Berry Farm! You're not raising your hand, you're just sitting there. What gives?

I love this strangely-colored photo of one of the big, shiny locomotives at the berry farm. This is the "Gold Nugget", it got its name because it was actually carved from a single giant gold nugget. The engineer (?) is adjusting the flux capacitor, if I know anything about trains. The yellow passenger cars are bigger cousins to Disneyland's! I still have vivid memories of boarding them, and being just a bit nervous when the train was "robbed", and the thief looked right at me! But he must have figured that I probably didn't have much cash on me, because he walked right past.

How many amusement parks let you pan for a few specks of real gold? This great photo shows the setup in nice detail; there are plenty of extra pans, a few old coffee cans (wonder what those were for?), a towel (self explanatory), and a walrus. Ha ha, made you look! My primary memory of this attraction was that, just as I felt like I was getting the hang of panning for gold, swirling the water and the dirt just so, one of the prospectors would take the pan from you and finish the job. I guess most kids would spend all day there without a little help! Notice the little girl, interested in the water as it pours down into the trough.

In case you wanted to get the "lay of the land", here you go!


TokyoMagic! said...

I'm raising my hand. Can we see more? I love vintage Knott's. It's sad...but Knott's has been destroyed maybe even more than Disneyland has. That whole area around the Pan For Gold attraction was filled in years ago. I know they had moved it over near Boot Hill, but is it still there? Is Boot Hill even still there? Every time I go, another vintage section of the park has been bulldozed. Last time I was there, I asked a manager in Guest Relations what they had done with The Original Berry Stand and she didn't even know what that was!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Yikes, is the Berry stand gone???

I remember the prospector always taking my pan too! I used to think they would "place" those flakes of "gold" in the pan just to get you out of there. I did love that attraction however, we always did the Haunted Shack next! Thanks for the cool Knott's photos!

Anonymous said...

I remember this well, and visited many times. Lost track of my little bottle of gold, but it lives in memory. The coffee cans were used to "re-salt" the sand with gold. I remember the miner dusting the sand, and I would try to pan where he last sprinkled the gold dust.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yes, the Berry Stand is gone. It was replaced by the loading station for the Silver Bullet rollercoaster. Nobody there seems to know where it is today...or even what it was. The Haunted Shack was removed years ago and I was told that it was "in storage"....yeah right. The
Church of Relfections was moved across the street, but The Little Chapel By The Lake was bulldozed. The "peek ins" that contained the models of the missions are all gone too. I heard that the rollercoaster that they just opened replaced Boot Hill, but I don't know that for sure. I was wondering about Pan For Gold because that's where it had been moved. The mine entrance to get down to the old Pan For Gold location is still there, but it is much shorter in length and it doesn't slope down like it used to since they filled that sunken area in. It is now just used as an entrance to the queue for Ghost Rider. Shame on you Cedar Fair!

Westcot2000 said...

The Pan for Gold is still there...with a lame roller coaster looming over it.

The Haunted Shack was bulldozed by Cedar Fair and replaced with an "upcharge" attraction that was removed for safety reasons. It was replaced with yet another upcharge attraction, "Screamin' Swing".

Shame on Cedar Fair, indeed--but Ghostrider was commissioned under Knott family management!

Shame on the Knott family for removing the piano chicken. Maybe they ran short over at the restaurant? The Knotts also removed Bear-y Tales.

At least they've kept Sad Eye Joe!

Does anybody know what's with all of the midway games? They are everywhere! I guess Cedar Fair has never heard of diminishing returns.

Anonymous said...

What a sad commentary on the end of past "attractions". I need to hold on dear to my memories...and my vial of gold fom long ago. It's been years since I've been inside Knott's. The "free" area had already changed so much there isn't much interest on my part to visit when I head down to SoCal these days.

Chiana said...

What gives? mm lazy. That's all.

I have a lot of great memories of Knotts. The last time I went I was a little puzzled. Change is good but I got the impression they were financially struggling. Strangely they had put up a big ol roller coaster that must've cost a lot. The theme-ing was kinda messed up.

But I refuse to write them off! There was still a lot there like the vintage train and profoundly above your average fair or something. When I go down there (I'm in central CA) I'll have to go visit. I'm afraid I won't recognize it much but I hope it's better than it was last time... it looks like they need more loving ownership and/or oversight and I hope that great place gets it.

Debbie V. said...

I also enjoy seeing and discussing Knotts of days gone by. I never did get to pan for gold, but we often stood and watched from above. I did feed the seals almost every visit.
My dad and I often went Christmas shopping at Virginia's Gift shop. Sunday afternoons my parents and I would stroll the grounds. The eucalyptus trees rustled in the breeze. I loved the place where they sold jellies and fruit.
I bought my husband (then boyfriend) his first sheepskin lined cordoroy jacket at Bob's Mens Store in 1970. He used to fry chicken for Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant.
It has been 38 plus years since I've been there. Even if I were to be fortunate enough to visit the area, it would be hard to see it now.

405Fwy said...

Chiana, don't be fooled. Change is bad.