I grew up hearing about Knott’s Berry Farm from my mom, who when she was 17 years old, flew out to Southern California with her fellow classmates from New Orleans for her senior trip and had the time of her life. Fast forward 31 years (sorry for basically sharing your age, mom) and I find myself a recent transplant into Orange County – eager to experience some of the things that I’ve literally been hearing about my entire life.
I’m not sure if you know this or not, but I’m a big kid. I love any sort of amusement park, but I have a special soft spot for water parks. Roll those things together and imagine my excitement when I got an email inviting my family to the opening weekend of Knott’s Soak City Orange County. I ran it by Morgan, and then got it on the calendar right away – I had yet to experience this OC gem and I was so excited for my inaugural visit!
Knott’s Soak City Orange County invited 25 bloggers and their families to spend opening weekend with them – and we were treated like royalty from start to finish. When we arrived our tickets were waiting for us, plus a great beach bag with a Knott’s Soak City towel, a fun squirt toy, some of those famous Knott’s Berry Farm shortbread cookies, and our wristbands for a lunch in the center of the park. Working on our own version of Modern Family, our “family of four” consisted of myself, Morgan, my ex-husband, and our daughter. What can I say? It works for us! When we walked through the gates we quickly rented lockers ($8 with a $5 deposit that you get back when you return the key) for our stuff and took off for the slides!
One of my biggest tips for anyone wanting to visit Knott’s Soak City Orange County – get there right when it opens! We arrived around 10:15 and we were able to get on several of the super popular rides with no more than a 5 minute wait. This enabled us to totally dominate the huge funnel ride called Pacific Spin, which in my opinion is the absolutely best ride in the entire park. We even made a quick 1 minute video trailer about our experience – we call it “Waterslide Kids”.
You know I had WAY too much fun making that. So – yes, get there early and ride Pacific Spin over and over until you get your fill. Then I would advise hitting the other slides – Banzai Falls (6 lanes of slides – super fun to race everyone!), Laguna Storm Tower, and Malibu Run – those are the ones that, throughout the day, seemed to have the longest lines. In the morning we all but walked right on!
Laguna Storm Tower has a 42″ height requirement to ride with a life jacket – so I was super excited and surprised that our 5 year old easily qualified. She loved riding Laguna Storm Tower so much that she did it twice with her dad! Malibu Run, however (the 4 blue slides) do have a very strict 48″ height requirement and I saw the lifeguards double checking smaller kids multiple times – there was definitely the highest level of attention to safety, which I very much appreciated.
The Toyota Beach house was a ton of fun for the preschool and up set – our 5 year old went on the two blue slides there over and over and over again. It was great because we could see her go up the steps and wait in line – so it gave her a sense of autonomy but allowed us, the paranoid parents, to keep a watchful eye on her. The look of joy on her face coming down those slides was the number one best part of our day.
I would advise eating your lunch a bit after the lunch crowd dies down, around 1:30, and after you’ve done most of the bigger slides. Save the wave pool and lazy river for after lunch – not only are the slide lines longer, but you’ll be thankful for the opportunity to let your food digest!
Tidal Wave Bay, the giant wave pool, is an attraction not to be missed. It’s the perfect way to stay cool, avoid lines, but still keep the kids occupied. We spent so much time here with Audrey Grace that we looked like giant prunes. It was totally worth it.
We had an amazing day at Knott’s Soak City Orange County and I want thank Knott’s for being such wonderful hosts – we can’t wait to come back! By the way – if you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids in Orange County, or if you live here and are just looking for something new and different to do this summer, consider getting a season pass. It’s only $60 for the entire summer – plus if you go and spend the day, THEN decide to buy your pass, you can put the cost of your day pass towards a season pass – so it really is a steal.
Disclosure: Knott’s graciously hosted my family for the day at Knott’s Soak City Orange County, but all opinions are 100% my own, as always.