View Full Version : San Diego Zoo, Sea World, or Knotts Berry Farm

01-18-2001, 07:20 AM
I have most of our trip planned out except Saturday. We have decided to arrive Friday afternoon so I have all day Saturday open.

Do we drive 2 hours and pick up the Zoo or Sea World (with maybe a stop at Capistrano to see the swallow parade) Our only concern about the mission is that it is the Big Swallow return weekend. Will we be able to even get around. Thinking about a drive to the mission while we are at the beach on Thurs/Friday

Or should we non-LA drivers avoid the interstate system and just go to Knotts Berry Farms


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01-18-2001, 09:02 AM
To me, the drive all the way to San Diego is not worth it! There is so much to do in SD, that that should be a weeks destination all by itself! I haven't been to KBF lately, but plan to add it next time I'm in SoCal. I've heard it's gotten a little run-down, but it's a different kind of park from DL. (It's a typical amusement park.)

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01-18-2001, 09:17 AM
We were at KBF this past Thanksgiving. It is very run down, terribly rude and slow employees. I'd skip it, unless you were going there very first thing on your trip. You will be so disappointed after being at Disney. How about Universal Studios if you don't want to drive to San Diego? I'd vote Sea World if you were going to make the drive. Another option is Legoland which is in San Diego now. It's on the northern edge, so a bit of a shorter drive. It's also doable in one day and kind of cute. Interesting to see, but not the type of thing you'd want to do over and over. (You might already have this planned).

01-18-2001, 10:34 AM
Robin, it's a LONG drive to head to San Diego and back in a day, so unless you were staying overnight I think I'd stick around here instead. I haven't been to Knott's in years so I can't vouch for how the park is now, but when Sammy was younger she loved the Camp Snoopy area there, and it was worth it to go for a day. It's a tough decision, San Diego is beautiful but it's just not a day trip, unless you enjoy 4 hours of driving!

Good luck! :)

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01-18-2001, 04:00 PM
Robin - I think your choice depends upon the weather. If it is raining, San Diego Zoo and Sea World would not be a good choice. And I would never drive Interstate 5 in inclement weather.

I last visited Knotts in October 99. There are many good thrill rides. The Camp Snoopy area is great for small children. They ride the rides by themselves. However, it is not Disney.

Legoland is a good choice for children under 10. I was a chaperone for a Kindergarten class and the kids had a fantastic time. The park is just over 1 year old. There is lots to do and the rides are geared for children. From Anaheim, you could make it to Carlsbad in about an hour.

There are also excellent children's museums and space museums in the Southern California area.

Please feel free to email me if you need any other ideas.

01-18-2001, 04:57 PM
The freeways on a Sat. are usually very easy to navigate and it shouldn't take you more than 1 hour to get to Legoland. Other ideas for closer activities would be the Long Beach Aquarium or the Discovery Science Center. The Irvine Spectrum is good for a few hours and has a lot of nice shops, restaurants and both regular and IMAX theaters (I'm not sure if the new Downtown Disney has this). I hope that you have fun! :)

01-18-2001, 05:04 PM
I actually didn't have a problem with the Hour and a half drive down and back. Although I agree that there's too much to do in one day. Unless you got free Sea World passes with your package, I'd do the Zoo, or the Wild animal park. General admission for the Zoo is the cheapest, BUT, be prepared to walk up and down mountains literally. If you don't mind spending the money, you could always buy the bus tour that covers Most of the zoo (although you miss a lot of the most interesting parts) and it only takes maybe half a day. you can also get combination tix with the Wild animal park and do that in the PM. they also sell Wild Animal/Zoo/Sea World passes.

Another good option, if this sort of thing appeals to you (and you are going before march) is to go to Newport Beach, or Better Dana Point and for about $15 a person, go see some whales and/or dolphins. My GF and I did this and we loved it, plus, if its not Spring Break time, you can explore Laguna Beach on the way

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Mary Jo
01-18-2001, 10:31 PM
http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/flowerface.GIF <font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=navy>Growing up, we would often visit the San Diego Zoo for the day when relatives came out, so to me it does not seem like such a long drive to spend the day there & see Sea World or the zoo. Also, if you haven't been out here before, the drive to San Diego is a nice one.

As for San Juan Capistrano - there is usually a celebration for the return of the swallows. The celebration is most likely very nice, but I don't like all the chairs set up on the mission grounds. It detracts from the beauty of the mission. We were there after the celebration itself. The town around the mission is also very quaint.

I have also gone to Knotts Berry Farm, and think that if you are going there before Disneyland, then you maybe won't be comparing it. I have always enjoyed Knotts, and really don't find it to be run down. When my kiddos were kidlets, they loved Camp Snoopy. Also, the Ghostrider coaster is the best wooden one I've ever been on (of course, this could be influenced by the fact that I've only ridden it once, and that was during Knott's Scary Farm, Friday the 13th, when the full moon was glowing bright and orange ;) ). Knotts is only about 15 minutes away, so if you don't want to drive far, it's a good option.

We also have Universal Studios - about an hour's drive.

If you want something different, there is also the LA observatory, La Brea Tarpits, etc.

Los Angeles/Orange County/San Diego have a lot to offer. :D

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01-18-2001, 11:18 PM
I think it might depend on what type of zoos you have where you are from. I know that the zoo in Cincinati is excellent. Our family really enjoyed the zoo in San Diego, but the zoo we have to compare it to is very small.

You could consider riding the Amtrak down and back. There is a station on or near College Avenue. About 5 years ago, DH, DS and I rode the train down from Northridge. It was a beautiful trip, since the train seemed to follow along the coastline much of the way. If you take the train, you would not have to hassle with the car or the drive and the kids (and yourselves) could rest on the way back and be ready for your days ahead.

You might want to get other opinions from the Disneyland area board members since it has been quite a while since we rode the train. Just another option that you might want to consider!

Have a wonderful trip! :)

01-19-2001, 06:12 AM
Thanks for all the responses so far. There are some great suggestions. Just one note, we have looked at what is available at Universal and thougth that other than Nickelodeon, that there wasn't much our 5 year old could enjoy.

Legoland may be added to the potential list too.

Looking at Knotts Berry Farm, I think Matt would have a lot of fun, but I was worried about reports of it being run down. I went to Ghost Town in Maggie Valley when I was a teen and it was run down. Don't want that for us. Is it that it isn't up to Disney's quality or is it truely run down? Would it compare to a 6 flags??

As for the drive, both DH and I commute around 45 minutes each morning and afternoon. DS used to come with me to the day care at work. In addition we are used to a 3 hour trip to Knoxville each month to visit Grandma and Nana

Thanks for the recommendations for Newport Beach, we have reservations there for the last two days of out trip. I will definitely look into the whale and dolphin watches.


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Kaos Creator
01-21-2001, 10:46 AM
Knotts Berry Farm is a HUGE waste of time and money. It is rundown, dirty, the employees are unfriendly and unethusiastic. We were less then impressed. Half the rides were broken down when we went. The kiddie rides are cute, but similar to those at an outdoor fair/carnival. Rollercoasters are ok, but IMO, not worth 40.00 to go on a couple coasters! Im not one for water rides, so didn't do those, but I was just unimpressed with knotts. The ONLY good thing was the chicken dinner. I would recommend just going to the knotts market outside the park and going into the restaurant for the chicken dinner! That was fun, and really good! ohhhhhh...my mouth is watering for those potatoes!!!! Hope this helps!

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01-22-2001, 12:03 AM
As someone who has worked at Universal for 3 years your right on in terms of nothing there for 5 year olds. As for knotts it was taken over by Cedar Park inc and are trying to turn it into well a Cedar Park park. They do have Camp Snoopy but I think it's not really worth it. Legoland is my pick for you ...very kid friendly... in fact its so kid friendly that most adults find it kinda boring because there is nothing for them to do there. If your aiming to please your 5 year old this is definetly the place to go.




01-22-2001, 08:27 AM
AND their Wildlife Park.
Neither are cheap to get into. We saved money buy joing the SD Zoological Society prior to going. Members get perks and unlimited access into both zoos. At the Wildlife Park you will still have to pay to park.
Plus by joining, our membership fee was tax deductable.
You will be handing over the money anyway. Might as well get some perks and a tax deduction out of the deal!
It really worked well for us. We didn't originally plan to, but ended up returning to SD within a year!. So we went to both zoos twice in one year.
Also at the SD zoo, members get to ride the Skyfari for free. Non-members have to pay $1.50 (when we were there 01/00) each way, PP!

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Amusement Park Junkie
02-12-2001, 01:42 PM
We really enjoy Knotts. We have AP's for both DL and Knotts. The little kids really do enjoy Camp Snoopy (although DD is 12 now and we only end up there if we're walking thru). I didn't notice it looking especially run down the last few times we were there (Oct and Dec). It isn't as polished and professional as DL, but no park is. We often end up there if we head to DL and it's too crowded. Knotts doesn't get crowded as often as DL. The only thing we avoid is Friday and Saturday evenings, because it tends to get over-run with rowdy teens.

02-12-2001, 04:46 PM
I have been to S.D. Zoo three times, and their Wildlife Park twice.
This time around, we are going to go to the W.P. and skip the zoo. The zoo is great, but I really like the W.P. I wish WDW AK was more like the Wildlife Park.
We have never opted for Sea World. We just didn't think it was worth paying that much money to see big fish we have seen elsewhere.
Just depends on personal preferences. We think S.W. is overpriced. But have to admit, we haven't been there. (But know people who have.)
My sis and I drove into the parking lot of Legoland. (Long story) It did look neat. I would think kids would like it. Like most attractions, it isn't cheap.
I know a good, cheap pottery store in Carlsbad too (where Legoland is), if you are interested.
Right around the area of Legoland is a very nice, LARGE, outlet shopping center too.
AK : Lions, Tiggers & Bears! Oh My

[This message was edited by Luv2Roam on 02-12-01 at 07:53 PM.]

02-14-2001, 10:23 AM
When we go visit our relatives out in LA we always make it a point to visit KBF. Yes some may say it is a little run down, but I think it's great, especially since you say you have a 5 year old. My DSs are 5 and 3 and they adore Camp Snoopy. As a matter a fact, we hardly ever get outside of Camp Snoopy. We have never found it busy. Our boys usually go straight onto the rides, but do note we go during the week day.
KBF has a website www.knotts.com (http://www.knotts.com) so go check it out.

As far as rides go in Camp Snoopy there is
Train, Paddle boat, Balloon ride, Truck ride, Kiddie rollercoaster, School Bus, Ball House, Pony rides, Fun House. There are a few more that I can't remember. There is also a stage coach ride around the park and a bigger train ride around the park. On the other side of the park is a ghost town and they have this famous fried chicken restaurant just located on the outside of the main entrance.

I highly recommend KBF if it's choice between KBF and San Diego. I noticed that you are from TN, so another choice would be a day at the beach or another amusement park called Adventure City. It's located by KBF in the city of Stanton. Their website is www.adventurecity.com (http://www.adventurecity.com)

02-15-2001, 05:47 AM
Thank you to everyone for thier recommendations. I think we have it narrowed between KBF and Legoland. We will probably decide that AM whether we feel up to a drive.

As for the beach, I have two nights book on Newport Beach at the end of our trip.

Thanks again for the help


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