My son and I spent a few days finding the best things to do in Buena Park, California during his Kindermoon. Scroll down for all our adventures!
WHAT’S A KINDERMOON?
When I first heard the term “kindermoon” several years ago, I thought it was just another thing to add to our calendar.
I mean, how many graduation ceremonies do we need during the toddler and preschool years?!?
But, now that my own son wrapped up his final year of preschool and is getting ready for Kindergarten this fall, I totally get it.
I was looking at the school calendar and it hit me just how little “free” time we were going to have to go on our adventures.
A kindermoon is a trip you take with your child before they start kindergarten. It’s like how couples go on a babymoon before their baby is born.
It’s a way to signify that things are about to change and to soak in those precious one on one moments.
While we travel together a lot as a family, the last time I traveled alone with my oldest was when I was pregnant with my youngest, several years ago.
I thought this would be a great opportunity for us to create special memories without worrying about my toddler’s nap schedule!
WHY WE CHOSE BUENA PARK CA FOR OUR KID-FRIENDLY TRIP
I visited Buena Park in Orange County for the first time earlier this year as part of the AWEsome Retreat, a conference for theme park bloggers.
I was blown away with the sheer amount of kid-friendly activities and things to do in Buena Park for families.
So, after showing my son photos and videos of some of Buena Park’s best attractions, he was pumped!
My 5 year old got to decide how long we spent places, what activities to do, and what treats to indulge in!
We spent a few nights at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel, which is located right between Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Soak City and is just a short drive from tons of kid-friendly things to do in Buena Park.
5 Best Things to Do in Buena Park, CA with Your 5 Year Old
1. Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
I’m sure you’ve heard of Medieval Times, a themed dinner theater restaurant where you can gnaw on turkey legs while watching knights joust.
The Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is very similar, except that it’s pirate-themed and it’s incredibly interactive.
If your child is remotely outgoing, the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a MUST! And it’s a great excuse to dress like a pirate!
There are so many opportunities for kids to participate in the show. We saw children carrying treasure chests, helping with cannons and high fiving pirates!
There’s even a part where kids are selected to go on stage and mimic a pirate’s silly dance before officially becoming pirates themselves!
My son got to wear a life jacket and race around the pirate ship in a little boat while making silly faces as part of a competition between the pirates!
His favorite part was cruising through the ship where he got to see more pirates!
What’s for dinner?
Dinner is a 3-course meal. There’s the option for soup or salad to start. The main course for adults was 1/4 chicken, mashed potatoes, and sauteed vegetables.
They do a really nice job with the kids meals. My son got a plate with macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets and cantaloupe. And none of the food was touching!
Dessert was chocolate cake with raspberry drizzle and even though we were full, we managed to gobble up the entire piece!
At the end, there was plenty of time to take photos with the pirates!
Insider tip: There are some loud noises from a pop gun, so you might want to warn kids who are sensitive to loud sounds.
Buy your Pirate’s Dinner Adventure tickets here.
2. Knott’s Berry Farm
One of the most popular things to do in Buena Park is play at Knott’s Berry Farm. It started as a farm nearly 100 years ago and now it’s a huge regional theme park.
What I love about Knott’s Berry Farm is that they have the super crazy roller coasters for older kids, teens and adults, but they also have a large selection of rides geared for little ones.
My son and I spent almost all of our time playing at Camp Snoopy, which is geared for toddlers, preschoolers, and young kids.
If your child is taller than 42 inches, there are lots of rides they can do without an adult! This was perfect for our family because my son can hop on rides more frequently than I can, so it was win-win!
Even though we came in the summer, the lines for the rides weren’t very long. And because of all the trees, we were shielded from the sun while we waited.
Plus, Camp Snoopy had a lot of places to sit and relax in the shade!
If you are a Snoopy fan, you can meet him and other Peanuts characters throughout the park as well as a special photo op area.
And you can watch a Peanuts show multiple times a day. There’s tons of seating and it’s a nice place to rest.
Insider tip: If your kids need to burn off some sugar, have them do Huff and Puff. It’s a ride where they have to power themselves in order to move. And then, take them to the swinging bridges where they can run and climb on the rocks.
Get your Knott’s Berry Farm tickets here.
Find out the best places to take Knott’s Berry Farm photos here.
3. Knott’s Soak City
Summer vacations and water parks go hand in hand. Thankfully, there’s a kid-friendly water park right across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.
It’s called Knott’s Soak City and it has everything from super high water slides to a wave pool and little kid play structures.
My 5 year old started off braving the medium size slides at Beach House, a 3 story structure with water cannons and a huge bucket of water that gets dumped every few minutes!
And then he headed to Gremmie Lagoon where he spent hours exploring the submarine, splashing in the water, and repeatedly riding the small water slides in this kid play area.
We had a cabana and it was nice to have a shady spot to relax and recharge before heading back out to play!
I appreciated that it came with a safe so I was able to easily access my camera and wallet and then lock them up when we hit the slides.
Plus, we had a waiter who brought me the best shrimp ceviche to enjoy on a sunny California day!
Insider tip: Don’t forget to bring your own towels!
Get your Knott’s Soak City tickets here.
Find out the best tips for Knott’s Soak City here.
4. The Source
We love exploring Asian malls around Seattle and Vancouver because you just never know what you’ll find.
While not strictly Asian, The Source is a brand new shopping center that features some unique places to eat, shop and play in Buena Park.
We started off with incredibly light and fluffy souffle pancakes from Basilur Tea. We tried both the trendy ube as well as the classic strawberry and both were incredible!
They also have a large selection of coffee and tea drinks so you can be fully caffeinated to explore with your kids!
The restaurant is set up so beautifully that you’ll want to just hang out.
Next, we headed to PlayPie, a brand new indoor playground that has activities for all types of children.
Living in Seattle, my family frequents ALL the indoor playgrounds and I can say that we’ve never seen a play area as inclusive as this one.
If your child is more physical, they will love the half of PlayPie that is full of slides, climbing walls, obstacle courses, and climbing structures I haven’t even seen before (and I really thought I’d see them all!)
One of the most unique things is a bristled slide where kids can race down in inner tubes!
And if your child is more imaginative, there’s a full line of playhouses where kids can become firefighters, police officers, restaurateurs, veterinarians, grocery store clerks, etc.
There’s also a whole room where kids can draw on screens and interact with technology. My son loved the activity where he got to basically be a part of an iPad game by jumping on things on the floor!
And I was super impressed with the extensive reading area featuring books in many different languages!
They also have a cafe featuring Asian and American snacks and lots of chilled drinks.
Oh, and I absolutely have to talk about their bathrooms. It’s completely set up for kids (which you’d hope for.)
But, they also have Dyson faucets that include a powerful hand dryer right at the sink! And they have slippers available for those who don’t want to wear just their socks into a public restroom. I love this so much!
Insider tip: Remember to bring socks or you’ll have to buy some there.
What else to do in The Source
We spent a lot of time walking around The Source and I was impressed with the amount of wall art they have. And it’s all so different from each other.
We also saw tons of cute cafes and one place that sold adorable animal shaped macarons.
We were so sad they were closed when we were there because my son had his heart set on getting some Angry Bird macarons!
Another cool store had a section that was an art gallery. It featured an artist who repurposes paper products to create huge robots.
We probably spent a full 15 minutes just looking at all the creation through the windows!
And moms might get a kick out of the KPOP makeup shop and kids clothing stores. Plus, there’s a movie theatre.
It seemed like half the shopping center was still under construction, so there’s about to be even more cool places to visit at The Source!
Trampoline parks are popping up all over the country. We have quite a few in the Seattle-area and each one seems to be a bit different.
Big Air Trampoline Park is set up almost exclusively for kids (as opposed to the American Ninja Warrior style ones for kids and adults.)
There are a couple of sections geared specifically for kids 6 and younger: a foam pit with a bunch of seats around and a little trampoline wall where kids can throw balls around.
Now, the thing that sets Big Air Trampoline Park apart from the others is that they have a kid-friendly mechanical bull for kids ages 5 and older.
Kids get 30 seconds to try to stay on the bull or get thrown into the inflatable pit.
I think the operator has a lot of control over the speed/intensity because my son’s first ride was very gentle and then it got crazier the more times he went on!
My son spent a lot of time in their Zero-Gravity Court, which is just a bunch of trampolines put together on the ground and walls where kids can run, jump and bounce.
He attempted to battle another kid on the Galactic Gladiators Battle beam for the first time, but almost immediately got knocked off.
There’s also climbing walls, places to jump into foam pits, dodgeball courts, etc.
Insider tip: You can rent small or large lockers for a fee. And you’ll need to wear their sticky socks in order to jump.
Buena Park with Kids
And that sums up my top 5 best things to do in Buena Park CA with kids.
We spent a full 3 days playing hard and we could have easily added another day or two just in Buena Park. We would have added dinner at Medieval Times (theme dining experiences are just so fun!)
And we could have easily added another day to hang out at Knott’s Berry Farm. I was surprised how quickly the day flew by and we mostly just explored Camp Snoopy.
See our Buena Park CA Video
Where to Stay in Buena Park CA:
Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel
My son and I stayed at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. It was my second time staying there and I have to say it’s really convenient if you are planning on spending a lot of time at the parks.
I mean, where else can you stay where you can snap a selfie with Snoopy in the lobby?
They also have on-site laundry. And if you download the app, it will tell you when your laundry is ready!
There’s also a nice pool area with a small water feature for kids.
Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim
If you are planning to do Medieval Times and the Pirate Dinner Adventure, you might consider staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim.
Both attractions are a 3 minute walk, which is really nice if you have kids and just want to get back to the hotel room for bed.
I think we spent about 10 minutes trying to get out of that parking lot with our Uber.
It’s also 3 minutes from Porto, an amazing Cuban-style bakery and cafe that is extremely popular (and delicious!)
They also just renovated their lobby.
Hampton Inn Buena Park
Another option is the new Hampton Inn Buena Park. The rooms are huge and people are raving about the facilities on TripAdvisor.
What’s cool about this Hampton Inn is that they offer free breakfast, wifi, and parking. Knott’s Berry Farm is just 3.3 miles away and Medieval times and the Pirate Dinner Adventure are less than 2 miles away.
Thanks to Visit Buena Park for hosting us on this media trip. All opinions are my own.