Both my husband and I grew up in Orange County and spent several summer days, special occasions and Halloween nights at Knott’s Berry Farm. As we walked out of the saloon with a boysenberry beer last weekend, we reminisced about how Ghost Town had always been an after-thought at the end of a very long day at the amusement park. You didn’t want to leave Knott’s without peeking into the jail or feeling the heartbeat beneath the grave in the cemetery but Ghost Town wasn’t a main attraction. Times have changed and Calico is jumping this summer with their interactive adventure called Ghost Town Alive!
We stumbled right upon Sheriff Wheeler as we made our way through the town of Calico just after arriving at Knott’s. He was having a good old time celebrating Founder’s Day and letting the kids have a turn behind bars. But things got serious real quick when the Sheriff got word that the notorious Mayfield gang had been spotted.
Does Knott’s Berry Farm even have rollercoasters? We wouldn’t even know because we spent most of our morning through mid-afternoon in Ghost Town playing along with Ghost Town Alive! The sheriff, the bandits, the banker, the dressmaker and everyone else completely stayed in character as we interacted with them. At one point, Abigail Dynamite, Calico’s gunsmith, had a full conversation about my husband’s recent shoulder surgery but she never missed a beat and stayed in character the entire time.
The real fun of Ghost Town Alive! is how they make you part of their narrative. We weren’t just watching a performance but instead we were part of it. At the request of several of Calico’s citizens, my daughter and her friend, were asked to pick up packages at the Pony Express and deliver them to other areas of Ghost Town – like the lawyer’s office and the bank. We watched a couple get married in Town Hall, we participated in a vote, kids were asked to draw wanted posters that were hung in the bank, questions were asked by Calico’s newspaper reporter on what we saw during the bank robbery and we ended the day at the Founder’s Day hoedown.
There is nothing like getting more than you bargain for. We were invited by Knott’s Berry Farm as part of a media event to experience Ghost Town Alive! first hand. I figured we’d walk through Calico then speed off for rollercoasters and a Knott’s Berry Farm Fun Bun. I was floored when my daughter and her friend wanted to stay in and around Ghost Town because they didn’t want to miss the next part of the ongoing story. My husband and I couldn’t really argue with them. We were having a great time! We grabbed a fantastic steak sandwich from Ghost Town Grill (the best food I’ve ever dined on in an amusement park, ever) and my husband went back to the Saloon several times for a Shock Top Boysenberry Wheat beer.
We say bravo to the producers of Ghost Town Alive! Every character was engaging and the experience was fun. We loved that we could stay in Ghost Town the whole day but still had time between events – such as when Mayfield arrived on the train or when the bank was supposed to be held up – to run off and ride a coaster or grab something to eat. They were constantly reminding us of the times to come back to Ghost Town so we wouldn’t miss the next chapter of the story.
Ghost Town Alive! is running until September 4, 2017. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this awesome, interactive experience for kids of all ages and parents too! I really hope you make Ghost Town your first stop next time you’re visiting Knott’s Berry Farm. Of course, you’ll also want to ride as many coasters as you can (or get wet on the Timber Mountain Log Ride!) and catch Snoopy’s Magnificent Magical Revue or Circus of Wonders (show times vary).
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