I don’t do a lot of reviews, but sometimes I encounter something that really needs to be shared. I had a great time at Bat City Scaregrounds, and I think you will too.
Yes, this place feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s actually not too bad to get to. Parking is ample and free. Flashing arrow signs help keep you pointed in the right direction as you make your way in. You might want to have a light to get you through the parking lot, which is dark and a little rugged. Your phone light will do.
As you walk into the gate Scarah, Damsel of the Doomed, and Count Orlok greet you with an offer of candy. I know you shouldn’t take candy from strangers, but Count Orlok is so familiar he feels like an old friend and what danger could there possibly be from someone as amiable as Scarah? I took some banana Laffy Taffy for personal reasons.
The grounds are spacious with a central stage for entertainment, which was continuous during my stay. There is gorgeous artwork and displays everywhere that prepare you for the scares to come.
Curia Arcanum's Caravan of Curiosities
My first stop was with our friends at Curia Arcanum in their Caravan of Curiosities.
The Caravan is an old Austin Dillo bus that has been transformed into a bohemian shop filled with magic and wonders. In many ways it is a micro version of the store on Congress Ave. There are books and curios arranged tastefully for an intimate shopping experience. (It’s a little bus.) In the back, there is a nook set up for cartomancy. Maddie, who I worked with before at an event that had multiple readers, is here most nights, gleaning details from the cards which lay before her. She’s really nice and a good reader. Give her a chance to show you something wonderful!
Count Orlok's Castle
My first stop was Count Orlok’s Castle. I purchased the Fast Pass ticket which, for $10 extra, gives you a secondary line to avoid the main wait. I thought it was worth it and didn’t have to wait more than five minutes for each attraction.
Photography is not permitted inside the attractions, so I can’t show you anything.
This is a two-story attraction. Everything is extremely well built. I felt safe on all the stairs and all the platforms. It is bigger on the inside, which is a lot of fun. Everything is just gorgeous. There are several chicken-out points, but where is the fun in that? Several jump scares were well blended and everyone seemed to be having fun. I ended up going through by myself, which can be challenging for the actors. Groups jump and scare more easily than an individual. I tried to be in the spirit of it all, though. Several of the jump scares were extremely well camouflage as fixed displays. A few of them really did take me by surprise. There are some fantastic hidey-hole scares that will jump out in front of you or creep up behind you!
After my first set of thrills, where I was repeatedly invited to become one of Orlok’s undead minions, which I declined courteously, it was time for a little break. The have a snack bar with food and sweets and some picnic tables. You’re not going to find any salads here, but the food is reasonably priced—like really reasonably priced—for a theme park environment. I had the grilled cheese with bacon and came back later for loaded fries with extra jalapeños. Hot chocolate and cider were good additions.
From the picnic table I had a good view of the stage, which had variety acts throughout the night. Performers for each night are listed on the web site. I was treated to music by That Damned Band, grinder dancing by Zen PoiZen, and sideshow exhibitions by Gay Satan. Sound wasn’t over-cranked, and I enjoyed being able to understand the words to the clever songs being sung.
Ancient evil takes us back into the depths of history and those monsters that come from the older times, the elder gods.
The first portion makes me think a little bit of the film, Midsommar, but not so bright. These are old monsters that come from old superstitions, and they’re looking for a sacrifice!
From there we go into a beautifully constructed ice cave. The soundscape is just spectacular here. Even though the temperature was warm, the sounds of the ice and the wind howling through the cave chilled me.
One display that was so gorgeous I just wanted to spend time admiring it. All I can tell you is that there is a ghostly ship with a water effect that really makes you feel as though you are stepping into an ocean moment from a sailor’s worst nightmare. Walking through the scene is truly eerie.
Finally we find our way into ancient Egypt but a much darker version. The guardians of these tombs brook no trespassers.
This attraction was heavier on the animatronics but they were used very effectively. Larger than life figures reach for you with blood curdling howls. Rarely does an animatronic feel truly threatening but there were a few moments where it seemed like one of these things might actually grab you! I truly enjoyed this theme!
If you are coulrophobic, Clownocalypse will not be for you. If you don’t know what that means, then you may be in for a hell of a ride.
First they give you these glasses which create a startling 3D effect on all the crazy artwork inside. At some points you feel like you’re almost floating above the floor as the artwork hangs in the air. You’ll understand when you see it!
All the scares are clown-based and there is some pretty wacky scenery along the way, including a dilapidated ice cream truck, a creepy playground, and some pretty psychedelic scenery. I really enjoyed how the glasses affected the experience. Unfortunately, you need to return them at the end. Would have made the drive home very interesting!
Check it out!
I visited Bat City Scaregrounds because with everything going on I needed a release and an escape. I absolutely got that! Tickets are $30/person ($40 if you choose the fast-pass option). You’ll want to be prepared for some food and shopping. There are only portopotties for your mortal needs, but there was hand sanitiser at the ready. Grab some friends and make the trip. It’s a much nicer experience than some of the gritty, rickety offerings elsewhere. I will definitely look to going back!