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Air station Marines catch a thrill-a-minute ride on the Silver Bullet at Knott?s Berry Farm, Bueno Park, Calif., Nov. 22. The Marines went to the 160-acre amusement park for free as part of the park?s annual ?Veteran?s and Military Tribute,? which ended Thursday.

Photo by Cpl. Giovanni Lobello

Marines enjoy free fun at Knott’s Berry Farm

1 Dec 2005 | Cpl. Giovanni Lobello

It starts by ascending several hundred feet in the air with nothing in sight but a view of the city and open space. Shortly after, the body experiences severe twists and turns reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour, all while those aboard scream and laugh with excitement and enjoyment, hoping the feeling doesn’t end. However, about 30 seconds after the twisting and turning starts, the screaming and laughing comes to a halt. The cart stops and those aboard are asked to disembark to allow the next group of brave souls to board.

That is what most people experience while they are on a roller coaster ride in a theme park.

For the 15th consecutive year, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., allowed active military personnel and a spouse or guest to enter the park free of charge during the “Veterans and Military Tribute” Nov. 1-24.

The park was also open to veterans with proof of military service, such as a DD-214 or some type of Veteran’s Administration identification. Service members were also able to purchase six additional tickets for $10 each.

“I decided to go this year for two reasons,” said Arizona Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Miko Booth, the wife of another military member who attended. “It seemed like fun on the Web site and because the entrance was free for service members.”

The free admittance not only saved service members money, but afforded them the opportunity to get out of town and do something different.

“I think going to Knott’s is a good idea because it breaks up the stress military members experience daily,” said Lance Cpl. Johnny Gonzalez, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron legal clerk. “Knott’s is a good place to have fun for an entire day and break away from the monotony of the everyday grind of being a Marine.”

For those who visit, Knott’s Berry Farm features several themes and rides throughout the park. The themes range from Camp Snoopy for children to Ghost Town and Wild Water Wilderness. The park features rides such as Xcelerator and the Silver Bullet, both roller coasters, along with water rides.

“My favorite ride in the park was the Silver Bullet,” said Booth, a native of Yuma, Ariz. “It had a lot of turns, corkscrews, and it went fast.”

Gonzalez said he also enjoyed the rides available at Knott’s Berry Farm.

“The ride I enjoyed the most was Xcelerator,” said Gonzalez, a native of Los Angeles. “It doesn’t start with a long climb like most roller coasters. It just launches you from the starting point. It was a real fun ride.”

“The rides in the park were better than I expected,” said Lance Cpl. Choung Le, H&HS legal service specialist. “I thought they wouldn’t have any big rides. I would like to go back again in the summer so I can ride the water rides. It was too cold to get wet and spend the rest of the day in the same clothes.”

In addition to the rides, Knott’s Berry Farm is also famous for one of their snacks.

“I heard about Knotts’ funnel cake with jam prior to going, and that was one thing I was looking forward to eating while there,” said Booth. “The funnel cake with jam ended up being the best one I’ve ever had.”

Knott’s Berry Farm attendees can enjoy both savory food and memories.

“I have been there several times before, but this was the best visit yet,” said Gonzalez. “Being there with other Marines from the station made the experience more fun. It’s more enjoyable when you go to a theme park with a group of friends. You’re able to enjoy the park and share your experiences with friends.”

Those who visited the park were also grateful for the reward given to service members.

“I appreciate the fact that Knott’s Berry Farm takes the military’s commitment serious by allowing us to visit the park for free each year,” said Booth. “Hopefully, they will continue this for many years to come so that I can continue to go and enjoy myself with friends and family.”
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