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Texas Scaregrounds Review

12.10.2019 (11:39 am) – Filed under: Reviews

October 12, 2019

Score-9

Site here

Facebook here

Online tickets here

Dates and hours open-Open every Friday and Saturday in October, plus Halloween and November 1 and 2. 7pm-midnight.

Price-$20, group rates and combo ghost hunting tickets are available. Ghost hunting tickets, without haunted house tickets are also available, and are $20. Text 817 819 6773 for details about group rates. Bring a can of food and get $5 off the regular haunted house admission price.

Phone-817-819-6773

Address-314 NW 4th Street Mineral Wells TX 76067

Parking-Free. A lot for Texas Scaregrounds is available at Hwy 281 and 4th street, and there is plenty of parking on the streets around the Scaregrounds.

Number of attractions-One, although a ghost hunting trip can be purchased to go with the haunted house.

Walk through time-12-15 minutes. Possibly longer if you aren’t good at mazes.

Review

The setting for Texas Scaregrounds is one of the best I’ve seen. Scaregrounds is located in Mineral Wells, a small town west of Ft Worth, in an old multistory building called Nazarene Hospital. The hospital itself is allegedly haunted, and Baker Hotel, only a few blocks from the Scaregrounds, is on all of the paranormal sites. Nazarene Hospital is a big, creepy looking building, and it’s at the western edge of downtown Mineral Wells. When you drive down the street to the Scaregrounds, it looks like you’re driving off into the country, which helps set the mood for a haunted house. The front of the hospital building is brightly lit with what look like LED lights shining onto it, and the hospital lobby, now the ticket booth, is nicely decorated. The decor in the lobby reminds me of old school 90’s haunted houses, and it’s appropriate for the look Texas Scaregrounds is going for.

So far, Scaregrounds hasn’t used much of the huge hospital building. They are only on the first floor, but they have made the of the most of that area. Greeters begin your experience with a talk about rules and expectations within the haunt. They’re in costume and in character, so the usual bit about house rules is turned into something fun.

Most of the rooms in the Scaregrounds are like mini mazes. They don’t have obvious exits, so you have to feel along the walls and push on doors to find a way out. There are actual mazes in the haunt, which are difficult enough that one group of girls accidentally exited the house and had to be let back in to finish their trip through. Lighting is dim or dark, for the most part, which makes the mazes and mini mazes even more difficult. Actors are allowed to touch in the Scaregrounds, and they usually went for my ankles, while they were under a bed, or behind a door. When you combine very dim lighting with difficult to navigate rooms, and actors grabbing at your legs, you end up with very startled guests. There was a great deal of screaming inside the Scaregrounds. Much of it came from guests, but a fair amount came from the actors. There were several actors who screamed loudly and frequently, and I have to admit that it was unnerving. There were also lots of actors in every area and room. I use a voice recording app on my phone to make notes while I walk through haunted houses, and I like to speak into the phone when there are no actors around. In the entire haunt, I was only alone twice, so I ended up making notes with actors around me, screaming quite a bit of the time.

Props and decor inside the haunt do their job, which is to set you up to be scared by the actors. I like the creative use of space to break the place up and increase the walk through time. Being as dark as it is, some of the guests were frightened enough to panic and back up, and, as I mentioned, one group backed up all the way out of the place. It’s an intense experience, so you might want to avoid bringing very young kids, unless they are very difficult to frighten. I was nervous most of the way through, and I’m pretty desensitized to haunted houses, so most guests will end up jumping around at least a few times.

The price at Scaregrounds ($20) is great, and you can get another $5 off by bringing a can of food to donate. I wish that I had scheduled a ghost hunt to go along with my visit to the Scaregrounds, and I suggest that you do just that. You can do both for $35 (with a donation of a can of food) and, if you have the time, you can also go by the Baker Hotel for a ghost walk. That has to be scheduled as well, but you can do it all if you plan a few days in advance. If you are from out of town, highways 180 and 281 have lots of dining options, fast food and restaurants. I suggest that you plan ahead and make a night of your visit to Mineral Wells. I live in middle of DFW, and it took less than an hour and half to get to Mineral Wells. People in Fort Worth and the rest of the western side of DFW can get there in much less time. Ghost hunting at Nazarene Hospital and the Baker Hotel, in addition to Texas Scaregrounds, will make your trip more than worthwhile.

Thrillvania Haunted House Park Review

12.10.2019 (3:40 am) – Filed under: Reviews,Thrillvania

October 11, 2019

Score-9

Site Here

Location-At the southeast corner of I-20 and Wilson Rd in Terrell. 2330 Co Rd 138, Terrell, TX 75161. Across from the TA truckstop. About 25-30 minutes east of downtown Dallas.

Phone  972-428-9653

Dates and hours open-Fridays and Saturdays in October. Saturday, October 12, from 8:30-10:30pm, Friday, October 18, from 8:30pm-10pm. Saturday, October 19, from 8:30pm-11pm. Friday, October 25, from 8:30pm-10:30pm, and Saturday, October 26, from 8:30pm-11:30pm.

Price-General admission tickets are $32.99, plus tax. Speedpass tickets are 52.99, plus tax. A $3.75 is charged for online ticket purchases. Parking is $10 per car. Tickets can be bought online here.  Group tickets (15 or more) and combo tickets with Cutting Edge are also available here.

Miscellaneous-Thrillvania is a haunted park, so wear comfortable shoes with good traction. Thrillvania does have concessions, with great corn dogs, among other offerings. There is a second concessions stand just inside the park, but it only has snacks and soft drinks. Go to the concessions stands and see Verdun and Cassandra’s before you enter the trail. The trail leads to the park exit, and you will not be able to reenter the park after the trail. A pumpkin patch is located just inside the park grounds.

Number of attractions-Three: Verdun Manor, Cassandra’s House of Clowns, Sam Hain’s Trail of Torment.

Walk through time, for all attractions: 30-40 minutes, depending on how fast you and the people in front of you walk.

Review

Improvements have been made in all three main attractions at Thrillvania, and there were far more people in the park than last year when we reviewed. All animatronics were working, though there seemed to be fewer of them than in the past. It would be nice to see more merchants in the midway in coming years, since one of the things that made the old Thrillvania special was that it was a Halloween festival, in addition to having Verdun, Cassandra’s, and Sam Hain’s. Food concessions are still in place, with the main concession close to Verdun Manor, and a smaller concession close to the park entrance. When you’re at Thrillvania, you need to get at least one corn dog. Your visit won’t be complete without it. The main concession stand has great corn dogs, plus frito pies, funnel cakes, and other carnival food. The smaller concession stand has candy and soft drinks only. If you’re in the market for a pumpkin or two, you’re in luck because you have to walk through a pumpkin patch to get into the park.

This year, a park employee greets you as soon as you enter, and lets you know that you won’t be able to reenter the park after you’ve exited Sam Hain’s trail, and suggests that you see everything before entering the trail. You can start with Verdun Manor, but I think it’s best to begin with Cassandra’s House of Clowns. It’s right in front of the park entrance, and the line won’t be long if you arrive early, so it’s a fun way to get the evening started. Cassandra’s is a 3D clown house, featuring a vortex tunnel, lots of neon paint, an area divided by high wire fences, and lots of hyper clowns climbing the fences. High energy, club music plays loudly, which is disorienting, and makes it more of a challenge to get through the house. The actors are the best part of Cassandra’s. Getting in your face is their thing, and they do it in every part of the house. The 3D glasses reduce peripheral vision, so the clowns tend to come at you from the side. They make good use of hiding places and sometimes circle back to scare you again.

The best time to get your corn dog is after Cassandra’s and before Verdun, since you have to walk through the midway to get to Verdun. The Manor was bathed in eerie red lighting as we approached, and the mist in the graveyard in front of Verdun enhanced the atmosphere. The lamps around the trail and entrance to Verdun were great looking, with about six lights per lamp. The graveyard in front of Verdun was heavily fogged, which got customers in the mood for the Manor.

Once you get into Verdun, you walk through the parlor, dining room and library. They look good, much as they did 20 years ago. Attention to detail in decor has always been a strong point for Verdun. The actors blend in well with life sized figures, and have good enough timing to frighten guests regularly . The stairwells aren’t as well decorated as in the past, but this isn’t a big deal. I like the upgrades to the laboratory, the catacombs are as good as ever, and the evisceration area is still cool looking. The residential area upstairs is probably the best part of Verdun now. It didn’t seem like Verdun took as long to go through as usual, but it’s still fun and the props and decor are great.

As I mentioned before, be sure that you do not want to do anything else before entering Sam Hain’s trail. You’ll exit the park after the trail. There are three shacks that are large enough for actors and scenes, including one that has fog some fog in it. There are lots of hanging figures in the trees, and the lighting is effective in creating an eerie atmosphere through the trail. The actors do a pretty good job of frightening the guests, for the most part, but it would be nice if the actors in the very good looking jack o’lantern display would either let people just enjoy the display, or jump out and scare people, instead of standing there trying to carry on a conversation.

There aren’t too many nights left for you to see Thrillvania, and it’s definitely worth a look, even if you’ve been there in the past. Enough changes have been made to keep it fresh, even if you’ve seen it many times in the past.