Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Camp Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm - 40th Anniversary (Mega Post!)

Camp Snoopy opened at Knott's Berry Farm, on July 1, 1983.  I had been working at Knott's for a little over a year, when this new area opened on the former site of a guest parking lot.  That summer, employees received one of these pinback buttons, and were encouraged to wear them while working.  These buttons were not sold in the park.

Employees were also given this "employees-only" T-shirt.

Before Camp Snoopy opened to the public, employees were invited to preview the new area.

Knott's published a weekly employee newsletter called, The Berry Vine.  The July 1, 1983 issue featured an article on the opening of Camp Snoopy, as well as photos from "Employee Night."

Notice the adults playing in the former Beagle Ballroom ("ball pit").  Adults were originally going to be allowed into the attraction, and actually were allowed on the employee preview nights.  However, we were informed that because the adults on the preview nights were too rambunctious, management changed their minds before it opened to the public, and designated it a "kids-only" attraction.

This article from the same issue, talks about a McDonald's-Camp Snoopy promotion.  According to the article, this was the first time the fast-food chain had ever entered into a national promotion with an amusement park.

These are the souvenir Camp Snoopy glasses that were sold at McDonald's, that summer of '83.

A Knott's discount coupon was included inside every souvenir glass.

I saved this advertisement from the July 10, 1983 edition of  The Los Angeles Times.  Incidentally, this was the same summer that Disneyland's "New Fantasyland" opened.

These next two pre-opening ads were from "Great Times," which was an annual summer "supplement" to The Los Angeles Times.

"Beatlemania" was also debuting at Knott's that summer.

Now, we will take a look at some of Camp Snoopy's original attractions and features.

When Camp Snoopy was being built, the park's Stagecoach route was extended around the new area, and included a new wooden trestle over the entrance.

The waterfall to the left of the entrance (with Snoopy & his little bird friends), was not an opening day feature, and did not appear until the 1990s.

However, the sign to the right of the entrance was original, and remained in place for over 30 years, before being removed. Why was the sign removed, did you ask?  I have no idea, but it has been gone now for almost 10 years.  I always thought it was a cute idea, especially with it's declaration of the population being, "Peanuts."  It also reminded me of the entrance sign to Bear Country, at Disneyland.

Just inside the entrance to Camp Snoopy, was the Rocking Horse Toy Shop (Snoopy's Camp Store, today).

Above the store's entrance is a large mechanical clock.  This clock also reminded me of Disneyland, upon seeing.....and hearing it for the very first time.  There is a very loud "tick-tock" sound that comes from the clock, and just like a certain famous Disney clock, it was designed to put on a show, every fifteen minutes.

When the clock would reach the quarter hour, the gears would all start spinning around.  Next, Snoopy would rotate towards the crowd, raise his hand up to his mouth, and "blow" his bugle.

Finally, Snoopy's little bird friends would strike the bells the appropriate number of times, to announce the correct time of day.  Sadly, the clock either broke, or was turned off many years ago.  I'm guessing that it broke, because the audio continued to work, so you would still hear the sound of the gears spinning around, the sound of Snoopy's bugle, and the sound of the bells ringing, but nothing moved other than the hands on the clock and it's swinging pendulum.  Sad!  By some miracle, if the clock has finally been restored, someone please chime in (no pun intended) and let us know!

Located across from the toy shop, was "Knott's Landing," where you could board the Walter K. Steamboat, for a trip around the neighboring "Reflection Lake."

Unfortunately, the Walter K. was removed in 2007, and replaced with the "spinning" roller coaster, Sierra Sidewinder.  It's route had already been drastically shortened prior to that, for the construction of another roller coaster, Silver Bullet, which opened in 2004.

The "Knott's Landing" boat dock sign (seen above, on the boathouse), turned up in an auction of Knott's items, back in 2017.  The winning bid was $1,075.50!

The Walter K. can be seen below, cruising past The Church of Reflections, and The Little Chapel by the Lake, the structure that used to house the "Transfiguration of Christ" attraction.   Both of these churches had stood at the edge of Reflection Lake for decades, but were removed in 2003 for the construction of Silver Bullet.  (The Church of Reflections was relocated to the Knott's parking lot, across Beach Blvd., and unfortunately, The Little Chapel by the Lake was demolished.)

The Walter K. Steamboat was a nod to the Cordelia K. Steamboat (below), which had been located across the street at the Knott's Lagoon.  The Lagoon area closed in January of 1983, six months before the opening of Camp Snoopy, and was paved over for additional guest parking.

As a side note, I think it's funny when the Knott's marketing department doesn't even know the history of their own park.  A Knott's collector's pin was released in 2021, featuring the Cordelia K.  The info on the back of the pin card stated that the Cordelia K. was relocated to Camp Snoopy in 1983, and remained there until the construction of Silver Bullet (in 2003).  Not only was the Camp Snoopy boat not the same boat as the one from the Lagoon, but it didn't even have the same name.  Sheesh!

The koi pond in Camp Snoopy was also removed (replaced by "Woodstock's Airmail" ride), along with the neighboring Animal Farm.

The Animal Farm and it's "Mule-Drawn Merry-Go-Round" ride, had been relocated from Fiesta Village to Camp Snoopy in 1983, and was renamed Pig Pen's Petting Zoo.

Here's a publicity photo of a "kid feeding a kid," in the new Petting Zoo.

I took this photo inside the Petting Zoo, back in 2002, about a year before it was removed.  Notice the "food pellet" dispenser mounted to the post, on the far left.  Food had just been purchased and placed on that bench, because someone was afraid to feed the goat with their bare hands.  Hey, do we really need all of our fingers?

Pig Pen's Petting Zoo was replaced in 2003, by a new Camp Snoopy Theater.

The original Camp Snoopy Theater was located just slightly north of this.  In the early years, the theater hosted such shows as "Snoopy's Animal Friends," "Feathered Follies" (as seen on the posted sign, below), and the "Campy Snoopy Magician" (magician, Tom Ogden).

When the new theater replaced the Petting Zoo, the old stage structure just became a giant "sign" for a new carnival-type flat ride called, "Joe Cool's Gr8 Sk8."

After the removal of that ride in 2013, the structure became the backdrop for a "meet 'n' greet" with the Peanuts characters.

Just across the walkway, guests can board the Grand Sierra Scenic Railroad, a 24" gauge steam engine train.

The train used to go all the way around the perimeter of Reflection Lake.  However, with the construction of the "Silver Bullet" roller coaster in 2003, it's route was shortened, and now it only passes by the eastern edge of the lake.

 Note the "Cordelia K." painted on the side of the train's engine.  (The engine was originally labeled with a "#83".)

Moving further north, and past the Grizzly Creek Lodge (which we'll come back to, shortly), there used to be a long suspension bridge, going over the main walkway.  Guests had to climb up some stone steps to reach this bridge.  The steps still exist today, but the bridge does not.

The photo below shows just one of two sections of the suspension bridge.  There was a tower with a stationary platform, between the two sections.  This area also gave off a bit of a "Disney" vibe, with it's suspension bridge above, and it's pontoon bridges, below.

Today, the pontoon bridges still exist, and if you look carefully at the rocks above them, you can tell where the suspension bridge used to be attached.  The rockwork at the very peak doesn't quite match, because it was added later, to close up the opening where guests exited and entered the suspension bridge.  Again, there are steps that still exist today, which now just lead up to a rock wall instead of the bridge.

The same thing can be seen on the opposite side of the walkway, where the other end of the bridge was attached.  And below that rockwork is, "The Cave Inn," a snack bar which goes back to opening day of Camp Snoopy.

Located on top of The Cave Inn, is the queue for the Balloon Race ride.

The Balloon Race was also a Camp Snoopy opening day attraction, and is still operating, today.

Another surviving opening day attraction is the "Huff 'N' Puff," a child-powered car ride.

The cars follow an hourglass-shaped track configuration, and at one time, used to circle around "Rocco" the dinosaur.  Rocco was carved out of serpentine marble by sculptor, John Cody, and was originally located at the entrance to the former, "Kingdom of the Dinosaurs" attraction.  Does anyone know where Rocco is today?  I hope he didn't end up in the same place as The Haunted Shack!

Located next door to the Huff 'N' Puff, were the Beagle Ballroom and the Bounce 'N' Pounce attractions.  Both of these have since been removed.

At some point, the Bounce 'N' Pounce's original wood building was demolished and replaced by a new structure, with a giant inflatable Snoopy on the roof.  Today, "Charlie Brown's Kite Flyer" ride is in this location.

Next door to the Bounce 'N' Pounce, was the "Tubs Of Fun" ride.  This was a simple "spinner" type of kiddie ride.  I don't have any photos of this attraction at Knott's, but I did find a version of the ride at another venue.  The Knott's version had wooden boards around the outside of the vehicles, to make them look like old-fashioned "washtubs."

The "Tubs of Fun" was replaced in the early 1990s, by the Rocky Mountain Trucking Co. ride.

At the northernmost end of Camp Snoopy, is the High Sierra Ferris Wheel.  This attraction is still standing, although it's original entrance structure and signage (seen below) were removed in 2014.

The views from atop the Ferris Wheel are pretty nice.  This is the view looking to the south, above the treetops of Camp Snoopy.

Here's the view looking west.

Looking to the north, we can see across La Palma Ave., to the land formerly occupied by the California Alligator Farm.

And to the east, we get a glimpse through the trees, of the Knott's-themed mural on the bank building, across Beach Blvd.

Now we will be working our way back, on the opposite side of Camp Snoopy.

The Old Mill Funhouse included activities like a rope ladder, a spiral slide, fun house mirrors, and a mirror maze.  In the late eighties, after the closure of the park's "Knott's Bear-y Tales" dark ride, some of the ride's props and figures were moved over to the fun house, and it was renamed the "Bear-y Tales Play House."

The building was re-themed one more time, and became the "Peanuts Playhouse," but was eventually torn down in 2008.

Behind the Old Mill Fun House, was the Timberline Twister "kiddie" coaster.

The coaster had multiple paint jobs over the years.

Knott's originally promoted the fact that the coaster's trains went between the natural "V" shaped branches of a real tree.  That tree was cut down some years later, and the coaster itself permanently closed, just this year.

There is one Camp Snoopy attraction that has had two different names, and three different locations.  That attraction is the Flying Ace ride.  The loading station for Montezooma's Revenge can be seen in the background of this next image.  The ride used to be located on the western side of Camp Snoopy, between the Balloon Race attraction and the Huff 'n' Puff car ride, and was originally called, The Red Baron.

In later years, it was moved to the eastern side of Camp Snoopy, between the original Camp Snoopy Theater, and Pig Pen's Petting Zoo.

Prior to the opening of Camp Snoopy, the ride was located in the Roaring 20s Airfield section of the park, between the Airfield Eatery and the "Propeller Spin" attraction.

And finally we arrive at the restaurant that serves the area, the Grizzly Creek Lodge (renamed Lucy's Lunchbox at one point, but returned to it's original name in 2014).

When the location opened in 1983, a couple of the most popular items on the menu were the miniature hot dogs and hamburgers, which were served in tiny little paper sleeves and cardboard boxes.  However, Knott's did away with the "miniature food," many years ago.

After the restaurant opened, children's birthday parties started being held in a private/reserved section on the second floor. 

In the 1980s and 1990s, all birthday party attendees used to receive one of these buttons:

This beautiful mural has been located on the upper floor of the restaurant, since it's opening.

And speaking of murals......some years later, this mural was added to the lobby of the restaurant.

For some inexplicable reason, Flintstones-themed coin-operated machines were also added to the lobby, around the same time as the mural.  Talk about a clash of themes, and intellectual properties!  The machines were eventually removed, along with the mural.

An interesting thing about the mural was, that it depicted the Peanuts characters driving vehicles from the Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars ride, which is located on the other side of the park, in the the Boardwalk area (formerly, the Roaring 20s).  And even more interesting.....the characters were driving these "bumper cars" through a forest setting.  Also, those particular vehicles hadn't been used in the park, for many years.  The vintage style bumper cars had been replaced with more modern-looking ones, long before the mural was ever painted.  Here's what the original cars looked like:

Now here are some "odds and ends," just to make this truly qualify as a "Mega Post."

When Camp Snoopy opened, the Rocking Horse Toy Shop (Snoopy's Camp Store) originally had a separate entrance/exit at the front of the park, just to the right of the Knott's Main Entrance.  That part of the store still exists today, as seen below.  The recessed archway with the two light fixtures on either side of it, used to be an open portico, which led to a doorway into the shop.  And those two square architectural features to the left (outlined in purple), used to be store windows.

The first summer that Camp Snoopy was open, an employee was posted at that doorway to the toy shop, allowing guests to exit the park through the store.  What I can't remember for sure is, if they ever let guests enter, or re-enter the park through the store.  I want to say that they did at least allow re-entry into the park, if you already had a hand stamp.  I know for sure that they allowed guests to use it as an exit from the park, at least for that very first summer, but I don't when they discontinued that.  It was probably when they got tired of paying an employee just to stand there at the open door!  The lower part of the "employee preview" invitation (seen earlier in this post) does show that at least on those preview nights, they were allowing people to enter the park through these doors.

When Camp Snoopy was being built, some employees were speculating that the reason for the separate outside entrance into Camp Snoopy, might be to allow guests to purchase a ticket at a reduced price, just for Camp Snoopy alone.  This assumption was being made because the children's area across the street, Knott's Lagoon, was closing and was basically being replaced by Camp Snoopy.  The Lagoon had been there for several decades, and was always free-of-charge to walk around the area, with guests just purchasing tickets for the individual rides. The area also contained a train ride, a steamboat ride around a lake, and a children's play area, all of which were now being recreated in Camp Snoopy.  I do wonder if this was the original intention for that separate entrance, and then after construction was completed, someone changed their mind about offering a separate admission ticket for just the new children's area.  I remember that there were plenty of complaints from guests, when Knott's got rid of the admission-free Lagoon area.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Camp Snoopy was built on the former site of a guest parking lot.  The Knott's San Francisco Cable Cars used to go right through this parking lot, taking guests to and from the Main Entrance, as well as the Knott's shopping and dining area ("Knott's Marketplace").  The photo below, was taken approximately from where the High Sierra Ferris Wheel sits today.

This map shows the location of the parking lot, which was that grassy area just to the right of the Main Entrance.  In the early days, that parking lot was mostly unpaved, with guests parking on the actual grass.  A Cable Car is shown going around the lot, and the Knott's Lagoon area can also be seen, just across the street.

For several decades, at the corner of that parking lot, stood the iconic figures of a prospector and his burro, created by artist Claude Bell.

When Camp Snoopy was being built, The figures were carefully removed and the rockwork beneath them was demolished.  A wall was then built around the new area, and the figures were placed atop the wall.

At some point, and I'm not sure exactly when, Claude Bell's original figures were replaced, because the ones that are there today are standing in a different pose.  There are other details as well, which don't match the originals.

The figures can also be seen from inside Camp Snoopy, especially now that they have trimmed some of the tree branches away from them.

This article from that same July 1, 1983 issue of The Berry Vine, talks about Claude Bell's inspiration for his prospector statue, and the pair's return to the corner after a temporary absence.

****Bonus Items****

Here's an issue of The Berry Vine, from February of 1983, which featured an article about the "new children's area" that was currently under construction.  The article provides a good descriptive 'tour" of the area, explaining what one could expect to see once it opened.

The article also stated that the "Cordelia K." steamboat "will be moved over from the Lagoon lake and join another sternwheeler."  So, the original plan was to create a new boat (the Walter K.), and also, to move the existing Cordelia K. over to Camp Snoopy.  I wonder what happened to that plan?   Maybe when lifting the Cordelia K. out of the water, they dropped it on the ground and had to scrap it, just like Disney supposedly did with their steamboat, "The Admiral Joe Fowler," at Walt Disney World.  The article also mentions how the "Ball Crawl" attraction (Beagle Ballroom) was going to have two separate sections, with one of them being designated for adults and older kids.....but we know why that never happened!

This part of the article talks about a Computer Center, which I did not mention earlier.  That building is located next to the Ferris Wheel, and is now "Peppermint Patty's Candy Cabin."  The article also states that most of the trees in the former parking lot were being saved, and how many of the new attractions and buildings were being planned around those existing trees.

The article also mentions that the model of Camp Snoopy could be viewed at the Knott's Main Entrance.  I remember the model being out on display, during the months leading up to Camp Snoopy's opening.  Here's a press photo of Charles Schulz, Virginia Knott, and Marion Knott viewing the model.

This next photo, which was taken the same day, shows the three of them standing in the middle of the Camp Snoopy construction site.

There is footage on YouTube (I will include a link at the end of this post), showing Virginia Knott taking that "ranger" hat out of a bag and giving it to Charles Schulz.  I wonder if she ever sold those in Virginia's Gift Shop, or anywhere else in the park?  I really don't remember seeing any guests wearing them.  Perhaps it was a prototype for a souvenir which was never produced?

And speaking of souvenirs, here are some (mostly) vintage Camp Snoopy items.

A "press kit" folder from the July 1983 grand opening:

I saved one of the park's merchandise bags, from that Summer of '83:

View-Master reels:

When I finally get a scanner that allows me to scan the miniature transparencies on a View-Master reel, I will scan all of the images and post them!

Lucite key ring:

Lunch box:


Embroidered patch:



Employees were given this pinback button to wear during "Camp Snoopy Days," which was held in the Spring of 1988.  There was even a "Camp Snoopy Days Parade."  I suppose this event could now be considered a precursor to the park's annual "Peanuts Celebration" event, which began 30 years later.

A commemorative plate and T-shirt were created for Camp Snoopy's 10th anniversary, in 1993:

An embroidered patch commemorating Camp Snoopy's 20th anniversary, in 2003:

A limited edition set of pins was available earlier this year, for Camp Snoopy's 40th anniversary:

The set included pins for the newer rides, which have been added to Camp Snoopy over the years.  The three newest rides; Charlie Brown's Kite Flyer, Linus Launcher, and Pig Pen's Mud Buggies, were all added in 2014, during a major refurbishment of the area:

Knott's claimed that the 2014 refurbishment was for Camp Snoopy's "30th anniversary," but it was actually for the 31st anniversary.  I guess when they tell fibs like that in their advertising, they are just hoping that the average guest won't really know the difference.

For Knott's 100th anniversary, there was a series of 100 pins released over the course of two years.  Camp Snoopy was represented by several of the pins.  This one was #63 in the series, and featured the original Camp Snoopy logo:

Pin #62 had a "rocking" canoe (attached to a spring), just like the one at the entrance to Camp Snoopy:

We will end this post with a few vintage video clips.

This Camp Snoopy announcement/promo begins with footage from several Knott's commercials, from the early 1980s, including one from 1982, the year that Snoopy first "arrived" at Knott's:


This pre-opening commercial includes a brief glimpse of the Cordelia K. steamboat, which never made the move over to Camp Snoopy.  The footage of it here, was shot over at the Lagoon:

An animated commercial from the Summer of 1983, featuring the Peanuts characters:

A Camp Snoopy birthday party commercial, from 1983:

Camp Snoopy opening day footage, with various Knott Family members, and Danielle Brisebois:


In that previous video, you could see Danielle Brisebois of "All In The Family" and "Archie Bunker's Place," surrounded by children.  The children were all wearing banners with the names of various countries......more shades of Disney!  I wonder if they were all asked to bring containers of water, from the oceans and rivers of their respective countries?  According to this publicity photo, the children were part of the "International Children's Choir."

For people who like models, here's a 22 minute video with multiple close-up shots of the Camp Snoopy model:


And finally, here are several McDonald's commercials, promoting the sale of their Camp Snoopy glasses:


2nd McDonald's commercial:


3rd McDonald's commercial:


 ****Post Update****  (8-31-23)

Meet The World reader, "Brandon," recently left a comment about the "Knott's" sign at the corner of Beach Blvd. and La Palma Ave.  He had noticed just last week, that the sign is boarded up and was wondering why.  The sign has actually been that way since October of 2020, when a drunk driver reportedly hit the wall, and damaged the sign.

Here's a pre-2020 photo of the sign:

And here is a photo that I took in October of 2020, not too long after the accident.  Notice the section of railing that was still missing at that time (bottom left corner of the photo).  You can also see where a section of that little hedge was damaged, however, those flowers were replaced pretty quickly.  It's hard to believe that three years have passed now, and management still hasn't replaced the sign.  Someone needs to hang a "Six Flags Over Buena Park" banner on that wall, just for kicks!




Awesome post! I didn’t spend much time in Camp Snoopy when it was new …. I was in high school then … I remember the landscaping was beautiful. In the late 90’s I was at Knott’s with some Disney friends and I was taking some pictures of the area since I had never really explored the theme area. After taking some shots of the waterfalls I turned and went back up the “rock” steps and tripped and MUNCHED IT!! My camera hit the paving and the roll of film popped out … my camera bag opened up upon impact and can rolls of film lens cleaner pads and some park brochures scattered all over . Passing guests and my friends came running over to see if I needed help. I was mostly ok … but mega embarrassed because I had intended of keeping a low profile while taking pictures of the “kiddy “ area. Ironically in 2019 a similar thing happened to me AT KNOTTS . I was meeting sone friends for an early dinner at Knott’s and I parked in the main lot. They had changed some of the landscaping where you enter the walkway from the parking lot… I was looking UP at the directional signs and tripped over a blue handicap parking bumper and fell foward…. But I did that thing where you keep running to try and catch your balance and not fall . All I did was build up speed and momentum until I finally fell …… into a decorative split rail “wood” fence!!!! The fence isn’t wood at all but made from cast concrete to LOOK like wood ! Msn I was in pain …. My sunglasses broke into pieces and I was scraped up and bleed on my face and especially my legs… and my leg and neck hurt from hitting the concrete fence. My face was bleeding from my sunglasses smashing apart into my face! Again passing by guest cane running over to help me .. this time I wasn’t embarrassed but pissed off and I was in pain. And I recalled my similar fall in Camp Snoopy 2 decades ago… what the hell was with me and falling at Knott’s !??? I never fell at Disneyland … anyway I spent two hours at Knott’s first aid and when I texted my friends where I was they thought I was joking.

Tokyo : I think I read in The KNOTTS PRESERVED book that CAMP SNOOPY has originally been designed to be a separate ticketed area and part of the design featured multiple entries and exits …. But by the time the area was expected to open they had abandoned the separate admission format.

Incidentally there had been a similar idea for Disneyland’s GALAXY EDGE … that a separate admission fee would be used for the first few years from opening….

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, I was a little disappointed to see that Knott's was using all of that valuable land, for a children's area. They could have used just a part of it for that, and still put in something like a roller coaster. The park only had two coasters at that time...two very short coasters! But they didn't ask for my opinion! Also, just like many other people, I was very sad to see them getting rid of the Lagoon, across the street.

I have had the "Knott's Preserved" book ever since it first came out.....I guess I really should read it! I've actually read most of it, but I think I might have skipped the sections on the "newer" stuff. But that does confirm the employee speculation at the time, about that separate entrance. Management never mentioned it to us back then. Not only should Star Wars Land have had a separate entrance and admission, it should have been built somewhere else! Anywhere else!

I'm sorry to hear about your multiple falls at Knott's, but I'm glad that you didn't end up breaking anything! Knott's is a very hazardous place! I remember on a windy day, they had put all of the outdoor table umbrellas "down." But one of them popped open, rose up out of it's hole in the table, and flew across the park and knocked a lady down to the ground. I remember another time when a chunk of a building fell off, and landed on the ground just inches away from a guest. I could go on and on about all the employee hazards, but I won't!

Stu29573 said...

Wow! Just wow!
I totally missed the birth of Camp Snoopy (or any of Camp Snoopy, actually) but this Mega-Post really brings me up to date- 40 years later! I haven't watched all of the video yet, but I will. Thanks for the fun!


The commercial with the kids trying to get their parents to take them to CAMP SNOOPY features LIZA JANE WILDER … from Little House on the Prairie playing the part of the “mom”. She’s almonzo’s brother and Laura’s future sister-in-law. After thinking she was being courted by Harve Miller, she finds out he was just friends with her and Marty’s another girl. She lies and tells everyone she is getting married and leaves town ( presumably for San Francisco) she doesn’t really get married and writes a few letters then she is never heard from again … Mr. ingals confronts Liza Jane after finding out she wasn’t married but reluctantly promises to keep the secret. Lol. But now I see SHE DID get married almost 100 years later and has kids who love Knott’s Berry Farm & Snoopy!

Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, it’s so weird to read about Camp Snoopy, a place I have been aware of for decades, but even today have still never set foot in. I always felt weird about that addition to Knott’s… I grew up loving “Peanuts” (maybe equally with Disney), but it seemed very strange to devote a whole “land” to Snoopy. At Knott’s Berry Farm!

As always I love how thorough your articles are, chock full of photos and info - it’s truly impressive!

Funny that they allowed adults in the Beagle Ballroom, it seems like a bad idea on many levels, plus we now know how unsanitary those plastic ball play areas are. Yuck!

The waterfall sculpture at the entrance to the camp is actually pretty cute, if only it was bigger. Maybe they didn’t want it to overwhelm small children? The mechanical clock is a fun idea too, I always appreciate when they go the extra mile when they could have just had a boring static sign. It’s great to know that the clock was restored.

I miss features like the Walter K. steamboat, so charming and picturesque. I wonder how the Knott family felt when the Little Chapel by the Lake was razed? I know how I feel about it! Meanwhile, paving over that beautiful lake just hurts to think about. It’s not a surprise that the current management known little about the park’s long history.

That poor boy with the googly eyes, I think he can’t get special glasses to treat that malady! I have been totally unaware of the Grand Sierra Scenic Railroad! I wish I’d seen it when it did its full route.

You’re right, those two bridges are very “Tom Sawyer Island”. Not a complaint! I wonder, did they consider the suspension bridge to be a hazard? I’ll bet the Huff ’N’ Puff is a lot of work, it makes me tired just thinking about it. And I love the serpentine dinosaur, he has to be around somewhere!

The Rocky Mountain Trucking Co…. SNORE. But then again, I understand that Camp Snoopy is aimed at the younger kids. Which explains all of the “spinning in a circle” rides that kids never tire of.

I had no idea that the former location of the Alligator Farm was now a parking area!

They used to have a Dino (Flintstones) ride very similar to the one seen in your photo in the lobby of the Hanna-Barbera office when it was briefly in the old Sherman Oaks Galleria.

Interesting that they considered making Camp Snoopy a sort of stand-alone park. It probably wasn’t practical financially, but what do I know!

There’s Seldom Seen Slim! I feel the urge to blow him up.

I wonder what Charles Schulz thought of the camp? Maybe he loved it because they backed up a dump truck full of money into his driveway.

Fun to see all of the pins and merchandise, and the commercials and other TV footage.

Great post! Thanks TM!

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, I didn't even recognize Lucy Lee Flippin in that commercial! Thanks for pointing her out. She is always great, in any part she plays. She played a hotel desk clerk in the "Grab That Dough" episode of The Golden Girls (Season 3). She also played Polly Holliday's sister when she left Alice for her own spinoff series, Flo. Now I'm trying to remember, was part of the reason for Miss Wilder lying to everyone.....or at least, not telling them about the misunderstanding, because she wanted to let Laura have the opportunity to be the teacher? It's been a while since I've seen those later episodes.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I know what you mean about devoting a whole land to Snoopy. I guess Knott's desperately wanted a mascot to compete with Mickey and the gang at Disneyland, and Bugs Bunny and the gang at Magic Mountain. And I guess Whittles wasn't cutting it, back then! Although, they have brought Whittles back now....or at least they did for their 100th anniversary. At the time, I was just wishing that they weren't devoting such a huge chunk of land to just a children's area. Knott's didn't have that much land available and it seemed like too valuable a piece of property to make it entirely for children....even if they do say that it's a place for adults and kids to have fun together. It certainly wasn't "Fantasyland" at Disneyland.

I guess by having that "ball crawl" have a separate section for adults and teenagers, they could claim that the area wasn't just for children! It's funny how the adults employees ruined that before it ever opened to the public. But I bet the "general public" adults would have acted just as bad, if not worse!

It’s great to know that the clock was restored.......Major, I don't think it has been restored. At least, it hadn't been as of my last visit to Knott's, in 2020. I was just saying that if it has been restored since then (which is highly unlikely) for someone to please let me know.

I'm not sure if the Knott Family cared about things like the Little Chapel by the Lake. They ruined/destroyed plenty of things, during the time that they still owned the park, including The Covered Wagon Show, which included their very own family's history.

As for making Camp Snoopy a "stand alone" park, I'm guessing the original plan still involved it being connected to the rest of the park, and not completely separate. My guess is that it would have operated like their "Christmas Crafts Fair" which they started in 1985 and had free admission the first few years. Ghost Town would be open, free of charge, for anyone who wanted to shop there at Christmastime. They had a couple areas set up between Ghost Town and the rest of the park, with temporary turnstiles, so if you tried to leave Ghost Town and go into the other part of the park, you had to show your ticket and/or hand stamp. Of course, this meant having to have employees manning the turnstiles in those areas. They could have done the same thing with Camp Snoopy, and then anyone who had toddlers and didn't want to go into the rest of the park, could have bought a ticket for just Camp Snoopy and remained in that area only. I think that would have satisfied a lot of the guests who were unhappy that they could no longer go over to the Lagoon "free of charge." Although, they may have still complained that they had to pay something to get into Camp Snoopy.

I'm guessing that Charles Schulz was happy with his dump truck full of money! And I'm sure they pulled another one into his driveway, when Knott's opened a Camp Snoopy in the "Mall of America" in Minnesota. That amusement area in the mall is now "Nickelodeon Universe," but I believe there is a Camp Snoopy (or a Planet Snoopy) in most of the Cedar Fair-owned parks. Just think of all those royalties!

Oh, and at some point, Knott's added plywood cutouts of the Peanuts characters along the Grand Sierra Railroad's route. Then, about 10 years ago, Garner Holt was hired to do a revamp of the ride, and swapped out the plywood cutouts with three dimensional figures. Maybe I should have included some photos of those newer figures.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major (continued),

And speaking of figures, you leave Slim and his burro alone! ;-) I didn't mention this because the post was already getting too long, but in 2020, someone drove their car into that wall, below Slim. They didn't damage the figures, but they really messed up the wall and the rear-lit letters that spelled out "Knott's Berry Farm." Rather than repair the sign, they just used corrugated wood paneling to cover over the damage. The last time I checked, which was about 13 months ago, the sign still hadn't been repaired. How are people from out of town going to know what that park is, without a name on the corner?


I know former imagineer Eddie Sotto who also designed Knott’s Wacky Soapbox Racers designed the Camp Snoopy Clock and he said the Small World clock was directly the inspiration for it. I think the clock is still there … but other than the time I can’t recall it doing anything recently …. But I honestly have not walked thru Camp Snoopy in about 2 years .

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, yes....I'm pretty sure the clock is still there. It was there in 2020, anyway. It's just that it hasn't been "performing" for many years now. That must be frustrating as a designer, to see something that you created, neglected and not doing everything that it was originally intended to do. I wonder how much it would cost to fix it? At least they painted the clock a decent color scheme again. There for a while, it was painted in ugly pastel colors. It's almost like they were taking another cue from Disney, when they painted the It's A Small World facade and clock in those pastel shades.

Andrew said...

I love this post TM! Even though I breezed right through this area during my visit, I really appreciate your effort to record the history of such an under-documented part of Knott’s. There are too many "Planet Snoopy" areas at the Cedar Fair parks (mostly cheap flats with bright colors, often a reskin of an old Nickelodeon-themed kiddie area) and not enough Camp Snoopys! But Cedar Fair has added a couple new Camp Snoopy areas to Carowinds and Michigan's Adventure just in the last couple of years. It really says something that they are still willing to invest in this concept 40 years after its inception!

I enjoyed reading the description of the opening with the "aerial cannon salute," marching band, and massive balloon release.

The "Huff 'n Puff" is just a take off of the old hand-crank kiddie handcars. With no electricity cost, they will probably be there forever!

Not the truck ride with those obnoxious horns!

The mural with the Peanuts driving bumper cars through the woods, mixed with the Flintstones coin-op rides... LOVE this! :-)

I'm sure you're aware of the Claude Bell prospector at Calico Ghost Town in San Bernadino county?

Thanks, TokyoMagic!, for another great "mega post!"

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, I was a teenager when Camp Snoopy opened, so I never fully appreciated it at that time. Again, I just felt like it was too large of a space and too valuable of a piece of property, to devote entirely to a children's area. But now I can really appreciate the design and planning that went into it.....or at least, the original layout, before they started messing with it. And it does seem like Knott's might have the best version of a "Camp Snoopy," when compared to the other Cedar Fair parks.

I guess they wouldn't be able to do a balloon release like that (for the grand opening), today. I believe that kind of thing is now prohibited, due to environmental concerns.

Ha, ha! Yes, those horns on the "truck ride" are SO incredibly obnoxious. I meant to mention the horns in my response to Major P., when he commented about them. I honestly don't know how the employees can work that attraction. Just walking by the thing, with all the kids honking the horns at the same time, is enough to make someone "snap." Imagine a six or eight hour shift of that!

Those Flintstones coin-op machines were really an odd choice. You'd think that there would be some "Peanuts" themed ones that they could have acquired. Unless the Peanuts character were never licensed for that type of thing. But I Knott's has never been too worried about that type of thing. I have pictures of Disney "Frozen" merchandise being sold in one of the shops at Knott's. And at one point, they used to give out large Mickey and Minnie "plush" toys as prizes, in the gaming areas. Can you imagine Disney selling Snoopy merchandise at the parks? It would never happen!

I did know about the Claude Bell figures at Calico. I have never been there, but I've always wanted to visit. It looks like the figures are about the size of the ones that used to be at the corners of the park property. I'm guessing that there were multiple sets of these made. There was another set, which I believe were slightly smaller in size. They used to sit atop of a fountain in Ghost Town, just across from Claude Bell's Portraits in Pastels shop. That version of the prospector had a slightly different pose, with one arm bent. A duplicate of that set also used to exist outside of the "Wheel Inn" next to Claude Bell's giant dinosaur structures, in Cabazon, CA.

Thanks for commenting, Andrew. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this post!

Dan Alexander said...

Oh wow! What an epic post! I have to come back to watch the videos!

I remember when the Camp Snoopy glasses were at McDonald's and I had no idea at the time that it was tied to Knott's (being in Alabama, I didn't know what Knott's Berry Farm even was, though I remember Knott's items were at the grocery store!).

That press kit artwork is amazing. I remember family members from Arizona giving me a brochure of the park and I finally got to see a park map so I had an idea of what the place was.

Funnily enough, I remember a classmate must have gone there, because I remember a show and tell picture she had with Snoopy in an old west town setting---and the Snoopy costume had those weird breathing/eye holes in his snout!

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan, I'm glad that you liked this post! Yes, it's interesting that even though the glasses had "Camp Snoopy" on them, the name "Knott's Berry Farm" was nowhere to be found on them. I guess that gave them more of a national appeal, rather than just a local appeal.

Those breathing/eye holes that you mentioned were hideous! I was working at Knott's when Snoopy was first introduced to the park, which was one year prior to the building of Camp Snoopy. I remember seeing those giant screened holes on his nose and thinking, really? You couldn't do any better than that? It reminded me of some of Disneyland's characters in their first few years of operation. Disney's costumes had evolved and looked so much better. Why did Snoopy's costume have to look so bad? It was probably a matter of how much money was being spent, and who was making the costumes. I forget now exactly how many years passed, before they redesigned the costume and got rid of those holes!

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan (again), not to obsess over those "holes," but I forgot to mention that they professionally retouched the photos of Snoopy that were used for postcards, publicity pics, etc. And in some cases, you can even see where they temporarily "patched" over them with a piece of similar material, just for pictures and commercials. So obviously, the publicity department thought they looked bad, too!

Dan Alexander said...

Oh wow! Poor Snoopy was leading the charge for celebrities with airbrushed photos. Thankfully the current costumes look great. They definitely went through an evolution. Woodstock had some shapely womanly legs in the past. I actually kind of love the "plastic" head Charlie Brown with the hat and red dress Lucy from the early days.

The McDonald's cups are also interesting in that the commercials mentioned "glasses and cups". Sure enough, there were plastic cups and glasses issued with the same art! I feel like I remember seeing this at that time---I remember stopping at McDonald's traveling to and from Florida on a summer vacation.

Anonymous said...

Camp Snoopy celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 1993, this was the year they added Camp Bus, Snoopy Bounce, Log Peeler, Rocky Mountain Trucking Co and the Thomas Edison Workshop which replaced the Computer room.

Anonymous said...

This was the same year new Camp Snoopy entrance marquee debuted

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan, the Peanuts characters at Knott's have definitely gone through an evolution. Charlie Brown and Lucy used to also have very skinny "human" legs, with just stockings or tights over them, and they wore regular "people" shoes. Now they have thicker padded legs, and oversized shoes. The characters basically look like oversized plush dolls....which isn't a bad look, I suppose.

TokyoMagic! said...

Anonymous, that you for that information! I was curious about the date for that entrance waterfall and canoe. I was also wondering when some of those attractions that you mentioned, were added. I had quit a few years before that, and then some years later when I was visiting as a guest, those things were already there.

Anonymous said...

Love this post by the way and the site as well, keep up the good work. Knott’s is one of my favorite parks. 1983 was the start of a new era for Knott’s. It was 1981 that kind of started it all, Terry Van Gorder became the CEO of Knott's and it was the first time. that the park was being run by someone other than the Knott’s family. Also in 1981, the relationship with Schultz and the peanuts characters came to be, beginning with Snoopy on Ice and walk around characters the following year and became the new mascot of the park. Coincidentally, Walter Knott died in 1981 as well.

TokyoMagic! said...

Love this post by the way and the site as well, keep up the good work.

Anonymous, thank you so much!

I was going to talk about Snoopy's arrival at Knott's, but then decided to leave that for a separate post. I do have an issue of The Berry Vine, which talks about him being the new mascot, and being added to the Knott's summer ice show. I also have something similar to an issue of The Berry Vine....maybe it was a "supplement" to it, which was included in my "new employee" orientation packet. It was devoted entirely to the life of Walter Knott and was obviously put out at the time of his death. I was hired three months after he passed, so they probably still had extra copies of it. I plan to post that at some point, too.

Thanks again, for the kind words!

K. Martinez said...

Great post with a ton of Camp Snoopy information and photos. I always loved this area is it felt the most park like with all the wooded areas and streams. A most lovely setting. I also think the Peanuts gang is a good fit for Knott's. Cedar Fair must've thought so since they incorporated the Peanuts characters and Snoopy into their other parks.

Now if only Hanna-Barbera could find a home in a theme park chain. I guess that group of animated characters is forgotten.

Thanks, TM! So much to look at and see.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, it is interesting that once Cedar Fair acquired Knott's, they did start building other Camp Snoopy's in their other parks, or converting current children's areas to Camp Snoopy. I think I've read that a few of those areas have been re-themed, once again, but can't remember what the new theme was.

Yeah, poor Hanna-Barbera doesn't have a home park! I remember when those characters started appearing at Marineland of the Pacific, in So. Cal. I have pics of the Yogi Bear and Hong Kong Phooey "walk-around" characters, from an early 1980s visit. If I remember correctly, the characters weren't used all the way up until Marineland's closing. Either way, they didn't get to hang around very long!

K. Martinez said...

The Hanna-Barbera characters were really big at Kings Island and Kings Dominion back in the 1970's, even having attractions based on them. Once Paramount Parks took over, they were evicted in favor of Nickelodeon Universe.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, that's right! I forgot about how Kings Island had a dark ride featuring animatronics of many of the Hanna-Barbera characters. And then in later years, they had that Scooby Doo Haunted Castle ride. Someone needs to build a Hanna-Barbera theme park!

Corey said...

Wow, thank you for this! I just went to Knott's Berry Farm for the first time last week (Saturday, August 19, 2023) after living in Southern California for 10 years as of this summer. As soon as I walked in I booked it right toward Camp Snoopy and the amount of nostalgia that flooded me was unreal.

I'm originally from Minnesota, but I was born a year and a week before Knott's Camp Snoopy opened at Mall of America. We lived a few hours away so going there was a real treat growing up, and I was obsessed with Camp Snoopy/Peanuts since they originated in Minnesota.

In the last week I've been doing research on the history and wasn't able to find much until your post, it's amazing!

There was so much that was exactly the same from Mall of America, the mechanical clock, the fencing, the pavement, the light fixtures, exactly as I remember. All those were removed after Mall of America lost the license and it's all now Nickelodeon Universe. The one major thing left unchanged is "Log Chute" which "Timber Mountain Log Ride
" felt like an multiverse alternate of in my mind, except at Mall of America the ride still has a climactic encounter with a gigantic Paul Bunyan after the first "indoor" drop (I realize both drops are indoors since the entire park is indoors, but one prominent in front of the mountain).

Based on some of the comments, I'm thinking in their brief overlap, these two might have influenced each other greatly. If Camp Snoopy celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 1993 - Camp Bus, Snoopy Bounce, the truck ride, and the Snoopy fountain were all present at Mall of America when it opened in 1992 so might be cloned (some flat rides from Fiesta Village too as I've been researching). The Snoopy fountain at the center of Mall of America had the same character figures but they were on a flat raft instead of a canoe.

We did have the same logo though originally though, and in fact I still have the same exact lucite key ring you pictured in my keepsake box. I have a few other mementos too like a snow globe that's missing half the water now and a Camp Snoopy penant flag. At Mall of America though the "canoe logo" sometimes had huge "Minnesota" banner flying over the canoe.

Regarding the mural of the Peanuts characters driving vehicles from the Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars, this was the mural from Mall of America as the backdrop of our bumper car ride, which was under the station for Pepsi Ripsaw, which is a multiverse clone of Jaguar! That might explain why it was sent to Berry Farm without the context. If you look up bumper cars at Mall of America today, it's not Rugrats Reptarmobiles, there are two now, that space was originally Hunter's Paradise, which I believe was also cloned from Berry Farm. When that closed with the switch to Nickelodeon they added some of the figures/animatronics to Log Chute (some rather misplaced in my opinion).

Sorry to ramble, I'm newly in love with Knott's Berry Farm, and it was instant, a lot due to the nostalgia itch and everything that's remained in tact. What luck Knott's did that random side venture that was so impactful on my life and I'm just now experiencing the original.

Thanks again for the post, it answered all my questions, and I loved to compare notes.

TokyoMagic! said...

Corey, I was very interested in hearing you describe all of the details of the Camp Snoopy in the Mall of America, and it's similarities with the Camp Snoopy at Knott's.

I don't think I knew that they also had a Log Ride at the Mall of America! And you are right about Knott's once having a "Hunter's Paradise" shooting gallery. For decades, it existed just to the right of the Calico Mine Ride. Unfortunately, it is now a Panda Express franchise. :-(

That's funny about the "bumper car" mural. I will have to do a Google search, and see if I can find pics of the Mall of America version!

It's too bad that the park switched to a Nickelodeon theme. I guess they eventually ruin everything, everywhere. But I'm glad to hear that you finally discovered Knott's in So. Cal, and that you are now in love with it! It is still a pretty cool little park, even though it has gone through some major changes over the years, and not always for the better!

I have done quite a few other blog posts on Knott's, including my current post. If you are interested, just type "Knott's Berry Farm" into the search box at the top left corner of my blog page. I'm glad that this post answered a lot of your questions.....and thank you for leaving a comment!

Brandon said...

Whatever happened to that sign on the corner of Beach and La Palma? I was just there a week ago and it's all boarded up. It looks like it's been like that for some time.

TokyoMagic! said...

Brandon, you are right, the sign at the corner is all boarded up. And they used that ugly corrugated wood paneling! In 2020, a drunk driver hit the wall and damaged the sign. You'd think they would have repaired it by now. I guess management doesn't care whether or not there is a sign at the corner of the property! I took a pic of that corner, shortly after the accident. I'm going to add the photo to the end of this post. You can see in the pic that a section of the railing in front of the wall is still missing, and that the hedge in front of the wall had been damaged by the car.