Fifty years ago last Thursday, Knott’s Berry Farm opened the Calico Logging Co. log ride (now known as the Timber Mountain Log Ride), the first– and still one of the very few– heavily themed log flume attractions in the world.

Today the Timber Mountain Log Ride stands among Knott’s Berry Farm’s most consistently popular rides, and has undeniably helped inspire other world-famous attractions such as Splash Mountain at Disney theme parks. I visited Knott’s on Thursday for a ride on what has become a Southern California favorite over the past five decades.

Watch POV Timber Mountain Log Ride 50th Anniversary at Knott’s Berry Farm:

Timber Mountain Log Ride facts:

  • Calico Logging Co. first opened at Knott’s Berry Farm on July 11, 1969.
  • The ride initially cost $3.5 million dollar to construct and was designed and built by Bud Hurlbut, who also contributed the Calico Mine Train to Knott’s.
  • Actor John Wayne served as the master of ceremonies (and was the first to ride) on its opening day.
  • Was rededicated with a second grand opening ceremony on May 13, 2013, with all-new animatronics by Garner Holt Productions.
  • The mountain housing the attraction is 85 feet tall, while the main drop plummets riders 42 feet down.
  • The ride’s water current is controlled by three 125-horsepower pumps that circulate 24,000 gallons of water per minute from a reservoir of 350,000 gallons.
  • Was originally intended to be a roller coaster, “built in a trough so the vehicles would look like they’re floating.”
  • Hurlbut’s log flume ride system was first built at Six Flags Over Texas as El Asseradero, which proved to Knott’s Berry Farm owner Walter Knott that the concept was feasible.

In celebration of the attraction’s 50th Anniversary on Thursday, Knott’s Berry Farm handed out these nifty buttons commemorating Timber Mountain Log Ride.

Knott’s Berry Farm has been operating in one form or another for nearly a hundred years in Buena Park, California. For more information or to purchase advance tickets, be sure to visit the park’s official website.