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Family Guide to Ghost Town Alive at Knott’s Berry Farm with kids

Become an honorary citizen of Calico at this unique summer event at Knott's

It is no secret that this family loves Knott’s Berry Farm as it is historical and hosts a number of seasonal events. Recently, we were invited to experience their summer event, Knott’s Berry Farm Ghost Town Alive. Wow, what an event it is!

I immediately thought of Westworld because if you’ve seen the show, you know what’s up. Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town Alive is not ruthless like WestWorld, but it does suck you into another place and time. The whole town really comes alive as actors play out an entire storyline throughout the day, beckoning guests to play an active part in the unfolding story.

I love the ghost town area of Knotts Berry Farm anyway, but when it is alive the fun is on a whole other level. Today, I am spilling all the details so that you don’t miss a thing when you plan your visit.

Money Saving Tips:

Great news! There is no extra charge to experience Ghost Town Alive. Daily tickets can be purchased online for as low as $45, but as always I recommend getting the seasonal pass if you can for the best value.

What, Where, When:

Ghost Town Alive is a summer event held from the end of May until early September. The whole event happens in the ghost town section of Knott’s Berry Farm, fashioned to replicate California’s very Calico Ghost Town (which Mr. Knott actually owned once) and Tombstone, Arizona. The event is actually a full on storyline that starts in the morning when the park opens and continues throughout the day until 6:00 pm.

This interactive story actually started last summer ending with the Mayfield Gang escaping Sheriff Wheeler. Now the story continues with Annual Founder’s Day Celebration. Some of the Mayfield Gang have been locked up, but are set for release. The day starts with the welcoming to the Annual Founder’s Day Celebration before we are gathered to witness the release of the Mayfield gang. After the release, the town functions as it would in the 1800’s. The store fronts are open with actors playing the roles of towns’ people and merchants, interacting with you in full character. There are various town announcements made for visitors to follow the Mayfield storyline including an election for the new sheriff as well as a few skirmishes; ending with big hoedown. It is amazing.

Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town Sheriff office

Why We Loved Ghost Town Alive

Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town Alive is truly an interactive and immersive event. It is really easy to get sucked into the storyline. As a visitor, you are considered an honorary citizen of Calico Ghost Town and treated as such. The actors in town respond to you in character and you really begin to feel a part of Calico. My kids were completely invested in the story and actually had emotional reactions to the characters and what happened to them throughout the day.

Kids wanted in Calico Knotts

Meeting The Mayfields

As part of our family media day we were actually assigned a team. We were given black bandanas and a cowboy hat, signifying that we were a part of the Mayfield Gang. Upon learning our role, the kids were eager to meet the Mayfield, even if they were locked up at the time.

Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town Alive Jail

Siding With The Law

After the release of the Mayfield boys, my kids decided to converse with Sheriff Wheeler. He told them that since they were good Mayfields they could help him keep the bad boys out of trouble. The Sheriff took into the Sheriff’s office and deputized them, which they loved, by swearing an oath to uphold the law and be good citizens of Calico. In fact, my daughter liked Sheriff Wheeler so much that she was very upset when Mayfield won the town election for new sheriff.

Knotts Ghost Town Alive Sheriff

Being A Citizen

CuddleBear decided to check into the Pony Express to help the town make deliveries. At the Pony Express CuddleBear was given a package to deliver to Goldie’s Boarding House as well as a cute stick pony to ride through town while he made his deliveries.

Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town Alive

CuddleBear also took the time to read the Calico Gazette and to gossip with the paper boy. There was lots going in town to talk about and CuddleBear loved being a citizen.

Knotts Ghost Town Alive with kids

The old schoolhouse is always a favorite of my children, but it was made even better during Ghost Time Alive as lovely school teachers from the 1800’s were there to engage with the kids. My kids made themselves really comfortable, talking the poor ladies’ ears off. I had to physically remove them to continue on with our day of events

Knotts Berry Farm Schoolhouse


This was probably our favorite part of the day. The Ghost Town Alive event concludes with the town hoedown. At first the kids said they were tired and weren’t going to dance, but as soon as we arrived they changed their tune fast. All the characters from the town come out to dance with the guest. My kids were immediately swept up by performers they had seen throughout the day to dance as partners, including the beautiful dancers from the Calico Saloon show that we saw earlier in the day. It was so much fun! For kids who said they weren’t going to dance they ended up dancing the entire hoedown. So be sure not to miss the Ghost Town Hoedown!

Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town Alive Hoedown

Shows at Knott’s Berry Farm

Between town weddings, elections and skirmishes, there were several summer shows to enjoy.

Snoopy’s Magnificent Magical Revue Show

This show was actually located in the boardwalk section of Knotts Berry Farm, but it was new and we had to see what it was all about. If your kids like magic and illusions, then they will love this show. Featuring illusionist Greg Wilson, Snoopy and the Peanut Gang help bring magic to the stage. What I loved was the dance numbers. The costumes, music and dancing were fantastic. This show is slightly interactive, so have your kids sit toward the front for volunteer opportunities and on the isle to high-five the characters as they make their way to the stage.

Calico Saloon Show

Located in Ghost Town at the Calico Saloon, the show happens several times per day behind the bar top. The saloon is two stories and the show is viewable from the second story. I love the Calico Saloon Show for a couple reasons. First, there is beer and wine. YEAH! Second, the music, dancing and comedy is darn entertaining that the kids are fascinated the whole time. Third, the atmosphere in the Calico Saloon feels so authentic to the time era it represents. If they sold whiskey, I would never leave.

Wild West Stunt Show: Frontiers Feats of Wonder

This show is located at the entrance of ghost town and is completely outdoors. The show occurs several times a day, but be aware of hot afternoons. The sun hovers right over the audience and unless you get there early to grab a covered wagon seat, you be roasting. There is a splash zone that the kids might enjoy. It doesn’t get too wet where you would have to worry about a change of clothes, but enough to cool you down. The show is very funny and the stunts are heart stopping. It is definitely worth the visit.

Circus of Wonders

Held on the Calico Mine Stage, this show is a throwback to the days of the traveling circus. It is held after dark at about 8:45pm, so unfortunately we had to miss it. We were at the park since opening and the kids were done. Plus, it was a school night. I’m totally bummed though, because it looks amazing with crazy stunts, acrobatics, pyrotechnics and more. Since it happens all summer long, hopefully we can catch before it ends.

That’s A Wrap

All in all, Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town Alive is one of my favorite events. The actors really make the town come alive, making you believe you are actually in 1800’s Calico. With so much going on in ghost town, you don’t even need to explore the rest of the park. Every time we thought we would venture off, something new was going down and we didn’t want to miss a thing. We just loved it and I think you will too! Ghost Town will be alive all summer long, so get your butts to Knotts Berry Farm!

For Information on visiting Knotts, see these related posts:

Ultimate Guide to Knotts Berry Farm

Guide to Knotts Merry Farm

Ultimate Guide to Buena Park

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I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".


  1. What an fun filled event! I love how everything is worked out and all the details (seem) so accurate to me! Must be great to spend the day there with the kids.

    • Ha yeah, my kids were so upset when the first sheriff lost the election. They were so involved with the story.

  2. This looks like so much fun. I would love to take my nephew there. The interactive / immersive story sounds a lot more fun than other period / re-enactment attractions I have been to.

    • Yeah, it really made you feel like you are a part of it, plus the characters interact with you all day. It is improve at its best.

  3. Hahaha, glad to hear that it’s not as ruthless as Westworld, which is of course notorious for being a genuinely dangerous proposition! So cool that you get to be involved in an unfolding story, and it looks as though there is something to appeal to everyone here 🙂

  4. This definitely looks like a great full day event. I didn’t realize how much was put into this. Looks awesome for kids!

  5. haha totally like a real life Westworld! I never knew that this took place at Knotts. Definitely a great place to bring the kids

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