Knott's Berry Farm



Knott’s Berry Farm, America’s first and oldest theme park located in Buena Park, California, has renovated two of its more popular attractions and lands – Calico Mine Ride and Camp Snoopy – and used Acclaim Lighting products supplied by Pacific Coast Entertainment as part of the lighting makeover.

Owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Knott’s Berry Farm celebrated the grand re-opening of the two attractions on June 14th with in-house designers James Sidler and Kyle Arnold handling the lighting design for Calico Mine Ride and Camp Snoopy respectively. Knotts technical staff completed installation of the products.

Calico Mine Ride

The Calico Mine Ride is a Knotts Berry Farm classic and has been a staple ride for fans since it opened in 1960. Knott’s Berry Farm’s Design Team, in partnership with Garner Holt Productions, Inc., has elevated the original 1960 design while preserving the original experience. The top-to-bottom refurbishment includes dozens of new animatronic figures, state-of-the art lighting, audio, and all-new special effects and re-imagined scenes.

Lighting Design Specialist James Sidler, who designs and programs lighting for a wide variety of areas and park needs, was tasked with redesigning one of America’s first immersive “dark” rides, while maintaining its original design. “Specifically, our ultimate goal in the refurbishment of the entire mountain was to mimic what one would see, hear and feel when venturing through a real working mine in the 1800s,” he stated. “Lighting played a huge part in this by ensuring that the animatronics (both moving and static), wildlife, natural and artificial lighting in each scene was historically accurate.”

Sidler chose Acclaim Lighting products for the renovation because he felt they excelled at creating the overall look that he envisioned for the classic attraction. “The quality, affordability, and versatility of the product made all the difference when choosing Elation/Acclaim,” he said. Sidler used a combination of Acclaim Rebel Drums and Acclaim Dyna Flood QA fixtures.

The Acclaim Rebel Drums are used as uplights for the various waterfalls throughout the interior and exterior of the ride while the Dyna Flood QA fixtures are used in every room throughout the ride, as well as the exterior of the attraction. Sidler comments: “The Dyna Flood QA fixture has the same RGBA and RGBW color mixing option coupled with a pristine color mixing technique that  is seen in the ELED’s, plus they also have the option of 20, 40 and 60 degree beam angles. We also looked for a fixture that is IP66 and can therefore withstand inclement weather and those crazy sprinklers in the planters.  Lastly, the light was well suited due to its smaller fixture profile that conveniently takes both data and power separately within the fixture itself and does not require an external power supply with a proprietary cable.”

The Rebel Drum Series, submersible LED fixtures in a stainless steel housing, were quite suited for the project because of the numerous options of size and output it offers. Four models are available (3, 6, 12 and 18 LEDs) in single color or RGB variants. “The opportunity to use different sized underwater lights in various applications that are powered from the same energy source, simply made things easier,” Sidler says. Furthermore, as the Mine ride also gets a full makeover each year for Knott’s Scary Farm, the Calico Mine Ride LED lighting system will allow the park to easily change the look and create a new ride experience.

Pacific Coast Entertainment introduced Acclaim to the Knott's Berry Farm Design team in the early stages of the project. “They were great to work with when it came to the attraction’s planning stages and during the project itself,” Sidler says. “They continuously kept us up-to-date with the status of production and answered any and all questions we had. They were a real pleasure to work with!”


Camp Snoopy

Also celebrating its grand re-opening on June 14th was Camp Snoopy, featuring three new rides. Knott’s lighting designer Kyle Arnold, who focuses on the theme park’s various stage shows and special events as well as renovations and new projects, worked on the revitalization of Camp Snoopy for its 30th year celebration.

Because Camp Snoopy is mostly an outdoor themed area full of kids rides the lights needed to be outdoor rated.  “All throughout Camp Snoopy we are using the Acclaim Dyna Floods to give the area that was originally built in the ‘80s a fresh and naturally illuminated look,” Arnold comments. “The slimly-designed fixtures have been placed under custom-built props inside of the themed area’s lush landscape. The fixtures’ shape and size render them ‘invisible,’ allowing them to be hidden from the view of our guests. We have chosen to light the rockwork throughout the themed area from top to bottom. The nearby picturesque creek and towering waterfall area has also been lit using the Dyna Flood lights, thus expanding the realistic look and feel of the camp.”


In the heart of Camp Snoopy a new character location is opening in which guests have the unique opportunity to meet and greet their favorite Peanuts character. Five Peanuts comic strip-inspired scenes have been created as photos ops. “We used DynaGraze HO series to illuminate all five backdrops,” Arnold explains. “Their ultra-slim profile allowed us to install them without impacting the look of the backdrops as well as providing our guests with a unique photo location from day to night.”


Also as part of the 30th year celebration, the Grand Sierra Railroad route was given new theming and lighting and now features life-sized Peanuts characters in iconic camping adventure scenes. “Here, we incorporated the Dyna Flood fixtures to showcase the Peanuts characters and each scene entirely at night. Additionally, the attraction’s surrounding the rockwork will mirror the look and feel of the rockwork lighting design so as to keep a consistent lighting design throughout. It has been a pleasure working with Acclaim and the new technology implemented throughout the fresh Camp Snoopy has brought new life to the beloved area.”


Pacific Coast Entertainment

Production company Pacific Coast Entertainment of Huntington Beach, California, worked with the lighting and design staff at Knott’s to spec the Acclaim system and supplied them the lighting package. “PCE was chosen to help Knotts with this project because of our service,” states Ryan Steideinger of Pacific Coast Entertainment, who likes to think of PCE as a partner rather than just another vendor. “If they fail, so do we,” he says. “Based on price and feature set, the Acclaim products were the best choice. Most of these rides have never had any advanced lighting features but now they will help create an amazing environment for guests and help bring them closer to the experience. The team at Acclaim did a lot to help us. Without their customer service this would not have been possible.”