Knott’s Berry Farm has announced that the Calico Mine Ride will reopen on June 14, 2014. The top-to-bottom refurbishment began in early January and includes dozens of new richly-detailed animatronic figures, state-of-the art lighting, audio, and all-new special effects. When the classic railroad adventure reopens in June, passengers will embark on the most immersive mining journeys the “Calico Mining Company” has ever offered.
The basis of the iconic attraction was a simple handshake agreement between Knott’s founder, Walter Knott, and theme park pioneer Bud Hurlbut in 1959. From that handshake emerged a first-of-its-kind “dark ride” with elaborate show scenes and full-sized human figures. The attraction was an instant hit with guests at its original November 22, 1960 opening, and earned back Hurlbut’s initial $1 million investment in less than two years. The groundbreaking attraction had a special place in Walter Knott’s heart, who worked in actual mines around the turn of the century in the Calico mining region of San Bernardino County before calling Buena Park home. Hurlbut worked tirelessly to incorporate authentic touches into the attraction. For the real stories of men who worked in the frequently dangerous mining world, he befriended actual miners and visited dozens of mining sites around California to observe the workmen, their tools and environment.
Knott’s Berry Farm’s Design Team, in partnership with Garner Holt Productions, Inc., has elevated Hurlbut’s 1960 design while preserving the original mining experience. Nearly fifty animatronic humans and dozens more animals populate the updated adventure, with more than 120 characters spread through classic and re-imagined scenes. New denizens of the mountain include an old miner just inside the first tunnel who will welcome guests into the Calico Mine and warn them of dangers that lie along the rails ahead. Despite the massive mining operation depicted inside the Calico Mine, since the attraction first opened, no character has ever actually found gold in the mountain. As part of the renovation, beginning June 14, one lucky miner will be seen striking it rich with gold in-hand!
New excitement is also coming to the “chain lift”, where trains will pass by a nervous miner carrying a canary in a cage for safety into the unknown diggings ahead. The animatronic canary is just one of many new animals coming to the attraction. Other wildlife will include a donkey, vultures, a playful dog, countless bats, and blind fish in the eerie Lake Room.
Beginning June 14, 2014, Knott’s Berry Farm invites guests to embark on new mining adventures through the twisting tunnels and unforgettable scenes of the beautifully resorted Calico Mine Ride. Also celebrating its grand reopening on June 14 is a fresh Camp Snoopy, featuring three new rides and exciting surprises around every corner of the high sierra playground for kids and families.