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Buena Park is a city full of fun and exciting activities for families to enjoy. Buena Park offers an array of attractions that can make any family trip memorable. From Knott’s Berry Farm and Medieval Times to delicious dining options, there are plenty of things for your family to explore in Buena Park.
Buena Park, CA is the perfect weekend vacation destination or an add-on to your Disneyland Vacation. After your visit, you will wonder why you waited so long to check it out. Get ready for a weekend of adventure – let’s get started exploring!
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Visit Buena Park. All opinions are 100% my own.
Things to Do In Buena Park with Kids – Theme Parks
When most people think about theme parks in Southern California, they think about Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood. Both are nearby Buena Park (which makes it a great home base for these vacations) but did you know Buena Park is home to America’s First Theme Park – Knott’s Berry Farm?
Let’s break down the theme park options in Buena Park.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm is “America’s First Theme Park” located in the heart of Buena Park, California.
From Small Roadside Farm Stand To Amusement Park
Beginning in the 1920s, a family-owned berry farm grew on what is now known as Knott’s Berry Farm. Walter and Cordelia Knott began selling berries, jams, and pies to local customers out of their small roadside stand. The road was eventually named Walter Knott Avenue in their honor.
As the popularity of their products grew, they opened a restaurant with an old-fashioned western theme in 1940. This restaurant would later become one of the main attractions at the park and draw visitors from around the country.
In 1968, the Knotts decided to expand their business into an amusement park with rides and attractions inspired by Old West culture. The park continued to grow throughout the 1970s and 1980s with new rides and attractions being added each year.
By 1995, Knott’s Berry Farm had grown into one of California’s largest theme parks with over 100 rides and attractions for guests to enjoy.
In 1999, Cedar Fair purchased Knott’s Berry Farm from the Knotts family and began investing more in new rides and attractions for guests to experience.
Since then, several roller coasters have been added including Xcelerator in 2002 and Coast Rider in 2014 which have made Knott’s a destination for thrill seekers as well as families who want to experience some historical nostalgia within this classic amusement park environment.
Today, over 3 million people visit Knott’s every year making it one of Southern California’s most popular tourist destinations.
Things to Do In Knott’s Berry Farm with Kids
I have visited Knott’s Berry Farm with toddlers, kids, tweens, and teens. Between my own kids and going with friends, we have explored the park in detail.
Toddlers and young kids will enjoy Camp Snoopy. This area has rides perfect for smaller guests, including Linus Launcher, Huff and Puff, Timberline Twister, and more.
Tweens and teens that enjoy thrill rides will want to try as many of the amazing coasters as possible. From the wooden coaster, GhostRider, to Silver Bullet and HangTime, there are plenty of coasters for thrill enthusiasts to fill up a day.
Insider Tip: Knott’s Fast Lane pass gives you priority boarding on select rides, as many times as you want, all day long. They limit the number of sales of these passes, so I suggest purchasing yours early online (this is a separate purchase from your park ticket). With the unlimited access to participating rides and limited sale of these passes, I think this upgrade is totally worth the cost.
Knott’s Berry Farm for Foodies
If you are a foodie looking for things to do in Buena Park, do NOT rule out a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm. Even if theme park rides aren’t your thing. There are plenty of delicious eats in the park.
Knott’s Berry Farm has become a favorite food festival park among locals and for good reason.
During our recent visit, we were able to experience Knott’s Boysenberry Festival.
Not going to lie, I was a bit worried about how my kids would like the food offered at the festival. But we all found dishes we loved!
The Boysenberry Food Festival is an annual event taking place every spring, and I definitely suggest planning a trip for it.
Knott’s Berry Farm Tasting Cards
During their food festivals, Knott’s offers tasting cards that guests can purchase, allowing them to sample 6 items at a set price. These work very similarly to the sip and savor cards at Disneyland except that they do not have tabs that rip off, but a QR code that team members scan.
My Family Is Part of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town
Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town has a lot of history in it. One of those items is the schoolhouse. The entire school room is filled with furniture from a schoolhouse from 1879 Kansas… and my Great-Great Grandma’s desk which she carved her name into, is also in that room.
I was pretty bummed that the schoolroom was closed when we were there, as I wanted to show my kids, but we still took a photo outside the schoolhouse.
Knott’s Soak City
One of the popular things to do in Buena Park in the summer is to visit Knott’s Soak City Water Park. The Water Park is open on select dates from mid-May to early September.
Knott’s Soak City Water Park is the perfect place to cool off and have some fun in the sun. With countless attractions, there is something for everyone.
Take a ride on one of the thrilling slides, like Shore Break or the Pacific Spin, or head straight to relaxation with a trip down Old Man Falls. For those looking for some family-friendly thrills, make sure to check out Tidal Wave Bay or Sunset River for some gentle waves and carefree drifting.
Don’t forget about Surfside Leadge either; it offers an immersive experience along with breathtaking views. Once you’re done making a splash, grab a bite at one of the delicious restaurants available before venturing over to Knotts Beach Boardwalk to check out all their exciting games.
Full Disclosure: My family has not visited Knott’s Soak City yet. We hope to be able to visit soon. (We may need to plan a trip for this summer.)
For families with young children, Adventure City may be a great option. With the tagline “The little theme park that’s big on family fun,” it offers rides for kids at an affordable price.
The prices at Adventure City are also very reasonable and make it one of the most budget-friendly options in the area. At the time of publishing, the price for admission is under $30 per person. They only offer one-day tickets.
The park offers a small offering of attractions, including two small coasters. Adventure City also has a petting zoo, a mini golf course, and plenty of arcade games to satisfy any gamer’s craving.
There are food options available throughout the park, plus you can even bring your own picnic lunch or snacks if you prefer.
Things to Do In Buena Park with Kids – Entertainment
Looking for fun activities to do in Buena Park with your kids? Buena Park has many parks, historic locations, and more to explore. Looking for something else? Below are some of our favorite activities to do in Buena Park.
big Air Trampoline Park
Okay, we have trampoline parks where we live, but Big Air Trampoline Park put them to shame.
Big Air had everything from trampoline dodgeball to a ninja warrior course. This was perfect for my kids to burn out some energy after our flight to Southern California.
My kids want to visit again to try out one of their Cosmic Nights on Saturdays from 7-10 pm.
NOTE: While I loved Medieval Times, I am currently not recommending this location as the workers are currently on strike. I support the cast in their strike.
Medieval Times in Buena Park, California is a great place to experience a taste of the Middle Ages. From jousting knight tournaments to feasts fit for a king, Medieval Times has re-created the pageantry and grandeur of yesteryear in an easily accessible setting.
A few years ago I was able to attend Medieval Times as part of a conference. My friends and I had a blast watching the knights battle it out in the arena with swords, maces, and lances.
It was an experience I’ll never forget! The atmosphere was one of anticipation, adventure, and excitement. From the grand arena to the elaborate costumes, it was truly a unique event.
I will note that this dinner show is a bit long, and younger kids may lose interest. Especially if their knight is one of the first eliminated. But I think most kids over the age of seven would enjoy this.
Pirates Dinner Adventure
On our latest trip, we took our family to visit Pirates Dinner Adventure. This is located just a few doors down from Medieval Times on Beach Blvd.
We all had an incredible time.
The show is full of energy and adventure – with a mix of thrilling stunts, acrobatics, and swordplay that left us spellbound. The humorous antics of the cast kept us laughing throughout the performance.
The food was good, with a variety of dishes to choose from. It was one of the best parts of our trip.
John’s Incredible Pizza
I debated putting this under the “places to eat” category, but John’s Incredible Pizza is more than a restaurant. From the amazing pizza to the rides and arcade games, it is a great place to take the family or hang out with friends.
Best Places to Eat in Buena Park with Kids
Buena Park has a lot of amazing places to dine, drink, and mingle. Here are my family’s favorite places to eat with kids while in Buena Park.
Portillo’s Hot Dogs
My kids wanted to check out Portillo’s Hot Dogs. We ordered a cheeseburger, hot dog, and two of their famous cake shakes. All the food was a HUGE hit with my family.
The walls display pictures of famous patrons of the restaurant (all signed), famous mug-shots of criminals, and more.
Porto’s Bakery is a Cuban bakery with various locations in California. They offer cakes, pastries, breads and beyond.
Porto’s does get busy, so be sure to head in early. I have found that 10:30 am beats the crowds.
Broken Yolk Cafe
The newest location for Broken Yolk Cafe is located in Buena Park. My family ate breakfast here and we were stuffed!
The food was delicious, the serving sizes were amazing, and the staff was great.
It is located on the corner of Beach and La Palma, just about a half block down from Knott’s Berry Farm’s main gate. This makes it a perfect spot to dine before heading to Knott’s for the day.
Old Ferry Donut
When my family learned that the very first Old Ferry Donut shop to open in the USA was in Buena Park, we knew we had to try it.
Old Ferry Donut is South Korea’s first premium donut brand. The owner based it on the donut shops in New York.
In December of 2022, they opened their first (and so far only) US location at The Source Mall in Buena Park.
The donuts here have unique flavors and fillings and are DELICIOUS! We tasted several kinds and even purchased an extra box to bring home.
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant
You can’t spend time in Buena Park and not try Mrs. Knott’s Famous Fried Chicken. I mean you could, but I highly recommend you give it a taste if you like chicken.
Mrs. Knott’s started selling her fried chicken dinners back in the 1930s and they opened the restaurant in the 1940s.
You don’t have to dine in to get this iconic meal. You can order Mrs. Knott’s Famous Chicken Dinner to go as well. You do not have to enter the park to go to the restaurant either.
The Best 3-Day Buena Park Itinerary for Families
You can use the map below to see the locations mentioned above and in the itinerary, as well as price hotels in the area.
Buena Park Itinerary Day 1
Arrive in Buena Park and check into your hotel
We flew into Santa Ana/Orange County (SNA) for our visit and grabbed an Uber to our hotel in Buena Park. We landed at 2:30 and were in our room by 3:30 pm.
We stayed at the DoubleTree in Buena Park. It is down Beach Blvd from many of the area attractions.
The hotel is newly renovated (2022) and we found it clean, and comfortable, and the staff very friendly.
The hotel offers a free shuttle to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and area attractions (the last is on request/availability pending). We were able to take it to the Pirates Dinner Adventure, and also to the Buena Park Mall where we spent our first evening.
Hotel Address: 7000 Beach Blvd
Average Rate: $145/room/night
Amenities: Mini-Fridge and coffee maker in room, connecting rooms available, restaurant on site, pool and hot tub, free shuttle to area attractions
Let the kids burn off energy at the hotel pool or by visiting Big Air Trampoline Park
The Double Tree has a great pool that goes up to 8 1/2 feet deep. It wasn’t quite warm enough to swim so we decided to head to Big Air Trampoline Park.
We all had a blast jumping and doing the other activities offered.
Location: Buena Park Mall
Price: Starting at $27/person who jumps/plays
Need to know: Waivers required
Grab Dinner at John’s Incredible Pizza
John’s Incredible Pizza is a pizza and pasta buffet that also has a game arcade.
My family ate at the buffet, including my husband ordering a spicy peanut butter pizza. Afterward, each of the kids used a $10 game card (with 40 credits on it) to play in the arcade and game zone.
One of our kids focused on games that reward tickets, accumulating 300 tickets with his $10 fun card. Another one focused on doing things like motorcycle racing, car games, etc. The third did a little of each.
In the end, they were very happy with the amount we gave them, and all had a great time.
Location: Buena Park Mall
Entry/Buffet Pricing: Kids aged 3-6 $8.49, aged 7-12 $12.49, Ages 13 + up are $16.99 (weekday specials are offered)
Fun Cards Pricing: Varies
Head to Portillo’s for a cake shake for Dessert
Portillo’s Hot Dogs is just across the parking lot from the Buena Park Mall, and is a great place to go get a dessert after all that fun.
They have a drive through or you can dine in.
The cake shakes are delicious, and we actually found all the food reasonably priced.
Location: 8390 La Palma Ave
Food type: Hot dogs, salads, burgers and shakes
Pricing: Starting at $5/item
Buena Park Itinerary Day 2
Grab breakfast at Broken Yolk Cafe
Head to Broken Yolk Cafe to fuel your day at Knott’s Berry Farm. The food is cooked to order, delicious, and has very large portions.
I do not suggest doing the Dozen Egg Challenge if you are planning to hit up the thrill rides all day.
What is the challenge?
Basically, a 15-inch skillet that includes a dozen eggs, home fries, and more… and one person gets an hour to eat the entire thing.
If you win, the $40 dish is free, you get a t-shirt and your photo on the wall of fame.
This location doesn’t have a wall of fame yet, because they just barely had their first patron complete it… and no, it wasn’t my husband.
Location: 8010 Beach Blvd
Pricing: Starting at $10/entree
Serving: Breakfast and lunch
Spend the day at Knott’s Berry Farm – Including eating their delicious food
Knott’s Berry Farm usually opens at 10 am, so after enjoying breakfast at Broken Yolk Cafe, you can walk on over, or drive and park.
My family only had 6 hours in the park, but we were able to get a ton done. First, because we went mid-week, which tends to have much lower crowds, but also because my family utilized the Fast Lane pass.
These passes are a pretty penny at $74 each, but if you are hoping to do the thrill rides they are the way to go.
I definitely suggest hitting up Camp Snoopy if you are going to Knott’s Berry Farm with toddlers or young kids. While my twins are eight, they still enjoyed this area as they were tall enough to ride everything ALONE! That made them feel super grown up.
For our food, we mostly enjoyed the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. If you are going during a food festival, definitely purchase their tasting cards. They are a great value and the serving sizes are huge.
Location: 8039 Beach Blvd
Dinner experience at Pirates Dinner Adventure
We left Knott’s Berry Farm around 4:30 to catch our shuttle back to DoubleTree. We had about 45 minutes to relax and freshen up before heading to Pirates Dinner Adventure.
I suggest arriving a full hour before the event starts. This will give you time to get your group photo, explore the area’s fun photo ops, and get to your seat before the show starts.
Location: 7600 Beach Blvd
Pricing: Starting at $45/kid and $72/adult
Buena Park Itinerary Day 3
Head to Old Ferry Donuts and walk around The Source Mall
Old Ferry Donuts doesn’t open until the mall does at 10:30 am, so you can sleep in a bit before heading to get breakfast here.
While there, you can explore the mall, that represents the Asian-American population in the area, from the food to the K-Pop stores and beyond.
Location: 6940 Beach Blvd
Pricing: Starting at $4/donut
If you have littles, spend some time at Adventure City
If you have time, and have toddlers or young children, you may be looking for something to do after checking out from your hotel but before heading to the airport or driving home.
Adventure City is a great option to help them get out energy before the plane or car ride home.
Location: 1238 S Beach Blvd
Pricing: Under $30/person
Grab Mrs. Knott’s Famous Fried Chicken for lunch before you head home
If you didn’t grab Mrs. Knott’s Famouse Fried Chicken yesterday, definitely swing by and grab some before heading home.
Location: 8029 Beach Blvd