Thrills and Chills on Knott’s “Voyage to the Iron Reef”

Ready to defend the Knott’s Berry Farm boardwalk from a horde of mysterious under-water dwellers? Better get crackin’…er…Kraken! At Knott’s spectacular new 4-D attraction, Voyage to the Iron Reef™, ride-goers become deep sea navigators who have to defeat the Queen Kraken and her army of iron-clad underwater creatures.

Voyage to the Iron Reef On-Ride 1The ride, set to open to the general public on Friday, May 15, puts riders on submarine-like cars and gives everyone a freeze-blaster, allowing riders to compete against each other for high score bragging rights. Through the four-minute ride, more than 40 high definition projectors on screens up to 69 feet long bring the steampunk-inspired world of the Iron Reef to life.

Voyage to the Iron Reef On-Ride 2

We had a chance to preview the ride this week with our young tween and it was genuinely a thrill a minute. Each time we went through (five, but who’s counting?) we had a slightly different experience with just as much fun. The ride is not scary in the sense of roller-coaster thrills, but the animation is dramatic and feels very realistic.

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As you progress through the ride, you’ll find enchanting underwater forests, disorienting ocean current tunnels, and mysterious mechanical wreckage. All told, your submarine will navigate 600 feet of track and 11 scenes featuring hundreds of 3-D animation-based creatures and live action special effects.

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Voyage to the Iron Reef™ is a creative partnership between Knott’s and Triotech, the Montreal-based multisensory interactive attraction company that recently won two top industry awards for their work on Wonder Mountain’s Guardian at Canada’s Wonderland. It promises to be a major attraction for Knott’s as it heads into the busy summer months.

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Also new this summer is an all-new retail shop, Nautilus (formerly Ride Warriors) adjacent to Voyage to the Iron Reef™, with a wide selection of steampunk- and underwater-themed merchandise; and the all-new Boardwalk Arcade, located directly beneath Voyage to the Iron Reef, with a fresh selection of popular video, redemption, and merchandise games, and a new reloadable game card system. Additionally, the laser tag compound inside Boardwalk Arcade will return later this summer with all-new twists, turns and new architectural features inspired by Voyage to the Iron Reef.

Knott’s Berry Farm is located at 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA 90620. Click for the full schedule of park hours.

Blogger disclosure: I was given the opportunity to do an early preview of the ride. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

We Are Now…South Bay Confidential!

We’re moving … up and out! If you’ve enjoyed reading South Bay Sparkle, please visit us over at our new home, South Bay Confidential. You’ll find all sorts of news and tidbits about the South Bay, plus the most extensive real estate search database in the entire area. Check it out, look around, let us know what you think. Thanks again for reading South Bay Sparkle!

Kids at Terranea

family balconyAfter a year as Terranea social media ambassador, I’ve had an opportunity to see Terranea in a variety of situations at different times of the year. And although many of my friends think of Terranea as a place for a romantic getaway, it’s actually a perfect place to spend a weekend with the kids. How will you keep them occupied? It’s more like, how will you have enough time to do all of the fun things Terranea offers? Here are just a few ideas:

3 waterslidesSwimming and waterslide: The 5,000-square-foot pool gives you plenty to do but it’s the waterslide that really sets the Terranea pool apart from other hotel or resort pools. The 140-foot Peninsula Plunge, a slippery and twisting downward spiral, is guaranteed to keep the kids occupied for hours.

Bocce ball: The resort’s competition-style bocce ball court is fun in the daytime and spectacular at night with glow-in-the-dark bocce balls. Never played bocce ball before? It’s easy, and the kids can pick it up in an instant.

rock huntersCove and Tide Pools: All it takes is a hike down to the cove at low tide, and the splendor of the ocean is right at your feet. You’ll see sea anemones, sea slugs, starfish, shellfish, and plenty of rocks and crystals for your budding marine biologists and geologists to admire.

owlbertBirding: On weekend mornings at 11:00 a.m., join Joe the falconer for a free talk right outside the adventure center on the birds of prey that keep Terranea seagull-free. You can even get an up-close meeting with a peregrine falcon, a hawk, or Owlbert, the Eurasian eagle owl. If you want a more in-depth birding experience, you can sign up for a private session at Pointe Discovery.

discovery trailHiking: Discovery Trail runs all along the length of the property parallel with the coastline, so naturally the views are spectacular. But informational signs along the way offer new perspectives on the native plants and indigenous wildlife. Plus, if your kids are tickled by a good ghost story, they may want to learn more about “The Lady of the Light,” a ghostly presence seen at the nearby Point Vicente Lighthouse.

tide pool signKids’ Club: The kids’ club itself is a fun room with all sorts of toys and games. But what goes on at Kids’ Club is so much more than that. Each day, the activities may include an “I Spy” scavenger hunt around the resort; a treasure hunt; a talent show; and glow-in-the-dark activities for nighttime.

firepit boysFire pits: Want to get cozy once the sun goes down? Stop by one of Terranea’s 228 fire pits or fireplaces to roast some marshmallows, sing a few songs, or just cuddle up and watch the flames dance while the ocean crashes in the distance.

terranea kayaksBiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, horseback riding, painting, photography…: If you and your kids have these or any other outdoor-themed interests, you can arrange to have a guided tour or lesson. Stop by Pointe Discovery to learn more about availability.

Do your kids have favorite activities they like to do at Terranea? Let us know!

Knott’s Merry Farm Offers Fun for the Whole Family

KBF Santa snoopyOn the first day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me…A Snoopy in a Christmas tree!
On the second day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me…Two chicken dinners and a Snoopy in a Christmas tree!

…On the 12th day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me… 12 skaters skating, 11 artisans crafting, ten carolers caroling, nine storytellers spinning, eight miners mining, seven rides a-spinning, six kids a-laughing… five boysenberry piiiiiiiies…four maple lollipops, three jolly snowmen, two chicken dinners and a Snoopy in a Christmas tree!

Knott's Merry Farm LogoAre you ready for Knott’s Merry Farm? Because we’re so ready we’ve even started singing about it! Now in its 29th year, Knott’s Merry Farm is a seasonal celebration at Knott’s Berry Farm that brings all the warmth of old-time holiday traditions into a fun adventure for the family. The event, which runs from Nov. 22 through Jan. 4, includes park-wide lavish decorations, live entertainment, festive food, and a shopping wonderland filled with local artisans. Visiting Knott’s Merry Farm always gets our family in the holiday spirit – and in fact it’s is one of our family’s favorite days of the year!

KBF singersThis year’s celebration includes live entertainment such as the live ice spectacular “Merry Christmas, Snoopy,” along with Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting, Engine 41 storytellers, local artisans and crafters in Christmas Craft Village, the Calico Carolers, and the Ghost Town Miners bluegrass quartet.

Of course Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa Claus, which is why the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town is transformed into Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. Guests can take photos with Santa as well as enjoy Santa’s homemade cookies, a hot fudge sundae bar, hot chocolate topped with hand carved chocolate shavings, and winter wine and craft beer tastings paired with fresh fruit and cheese.

KBF craft fairOther seasonal treats around the park include fresh made-to-order Maple Lollipops, churros from the Churro Factory, cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men in the Farm Bakery, as well as the legendary cooking at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

All in all, it’s a great way to spend a day with the family. For admissions information, park hours, and directions, visit www.knotts.com.

Big Changes Coming Soon

Thanks to all of our loyal South Bay Sparkle readers. We wanted to let you know that we’ve temporarily moved over to focusing on Manhattan Beach news at DigMB.com – a new 100% local Manhattan Beach site. However, we still have more South Bay news to come! Stay tuned for an announcement about a new South Bay site we’ll be rolling out soon. Thanks for your readership and patience!

“Sweet as Honey” Dining at Terranea Resort

When you think of Terranea Resort, you probably think of gorgeous views, golfing, swimming, and fine dining…not about bees. But in fact, honeybees at the nearby Catalina View Gardens are busy even as you read this making fine honey that will be used in Terranea’s amazing restaurants.

Terranea’s bees were the main focus at a recent “Sweet as Honey” dinner (part of the resort’s Chef’s Cooking Series) highlighting the contributions of bees to fine cuisine as well as the perpetuation of gardens and crops. The dinner fit in with Terranea’s ongoing focus on farm-to-table dining by incorporating produce from its own crops at Catalina View Gardens, as well as local ingredients such as figs from Rolling Hills and pink peppercorns from Ranchos Palos Verdes. Proceeds from the dinner benefited the California State Beekeepers Association.

“The Chef’s Cooking Series is a unique opportunity for us here at Terranea to highlight what we do well in terms of supporting the local community, but also bringing in the learning element and enabling us to grow together and learn new techniques – both the internal culinary team and the guests who attend the event,” says Gaye Vancans, Terranea’s community relations manager.

Ahi belly tartare served over hearts of palm "linguine"

Ahi belly tartare served over hearts of palm “linguine”

The dinner menu began with hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Elie Chow: slow-roasted garden beets with Rancho Palos Verdes pink peppercorn aioli and organic honey; squash blossom fritters with olive tapenade and crispy bee pollen; ahi belly tartare with heart of palm “linguini” and honey-mustard dressing; and jicama-wrapped ishibashi avocado mash with sea salt honey based pancetta lardons. Chef Alessandro Serni then served an appetizer of grilled and smoked local octopus with squid ink aioli, piperade, and peppered honeycomb.

Chef Charles Olalia prepares an organic duck breast

Chef Charles Olalia prepares an organic duck breast

The main course, prepared by Chef Charles Olalia, was a caramelized organic duck breast with Rolling Hills figs in bigarade sauce. Chef Pierino Jermonti wrapped up the meal with a honey-goat cheese lavender mousse with a walnut crisp and poached pears.

Diners enjoy a warm night under the stars on the patio at Terranea

Diners enjoy a warm night under the stars on the patio at Terranea

Tempted by the amazing food as well as the setting? We are too! The next cooking series event at Terranea will be an Autumn Coastal Harvest, benefiting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, on November 7.

Noosa Yogurt at Seaside Lagoon

Seaside_LagoonAre you beach-bound for Labor Day weekend? If you head to Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach on Saturday, Noosa Yoghurt is going to make it a sweet experience for you and your friends and family!

On August 30, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., the first 500 people visiting Seaside Lagoon will receive FREE admission at the Portofino Way Turnabout (look for the Noosa flag!). In addition, everyone entering Seaside Lagoon will receive free samples of Noosa’s two new tropical flavors – Coconut and Noosa Pineapple yoghurt – along with classic summer swag such as frisbees, sunglasses, suntan lotion.

If you haven’t tried Noosa yet, you’re in for a treat. Noosa is made with whole milk — the freshest you can get – sourced from cows raised and fed (without growth hormones) on family-owned farms in the Colorado foothills. Noosa adds just a touch of honey to give its yoghurt that luscious, tangy taste; and its fruit purees are made from real fruit – no fake stuff in there! Noosa yoghurt is available at Target and other retailers.

Head down and tell them South Bay Sparkle sent you!

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