Disneyland, or the Magic Kingdom, as some people call it, opened in 1955, and by doing so became the first major theme park attraction in Southern California. Its success spawned many other parks in the region and throughout the country. Walt Disney World opened 16 years later in Orlando, Florida, as part of a much larger complex that includes the Epcot Center, the Disney Animal Kingdom, and the Disney Hollywood Studios, but for many years, it was just Disneyland in Southern California. Then came Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, just a stone's throw away from Disneyland.
Knott's touts itself as "America's 1st Theme Park," and technically it is, but its beginnings are not like Disneyland. Knott's was originally a place where local residents could buy berries and preserves. It did not become a major theme park attraction until well after Disneyland was built. Nevertheless, it is today one of the favorite attractions for both young and old visitors to the region. The park features world-class roller coaster rides, and shows. It also has an annual Halloween themed night called "Fright Night," which has become a very popular attraction in the past 20 years.
Another famous theme park in the L.A. area is Magic Mountain, which is located in Valencia, California, just a few miles north of the Los Angeles basin. It also features world-class rides and attractions, and has been featured in several Hollywood films, including the original vacation movie with Chevy Chase. These three parks form the core of Southern California-based theme parks, but there are more theme parks in the region including Legoland, Sea World, Universal Studios, and the California Adventure next to Disneyland. These are just some of the major attractions Americans can visit to have a good time in Southern California.