Spooky Ranch (Columbia Station, OH)
“Terror at The Devil’s Playground”
By Noah Wullkotte: Jollypumpkin@aol.com
During the day, Rockin’- R- Ranch is home of the Old West Pumpkin Fest. This great event features live shows, pumpkin picking, pony rides and just about everything a child enjoys during Halloween time. But when the sun goes down, Rockin’-R-Ranch becomes Spooky Ranch.
The 4 hour trip from Cincinnati, Ohio is well worth it because we know that we’re going to have a screaming good time. Spooky Ranch has just about every type of haunt you can think of, but their Famous Haunted Hayride is what we look forward to the most. It’s the attraction with the longest line and the best scares.
The Famous Haunted Hayride is an exciting trek through the unknown. Columbia Station, Ohio can be a scary place at night thanks to Spooky Ranch. Much of the hayride features scenes on both sides of the wagon and there’s nowhere to hide. The wagon was full of passengers who were covering their eyes or holding on to the person next to them. The hayride is a safe attraction, but there’s a sense of danger when you’re unsure of what’s going to happen next. It’s exciting and scary.
The scenes aren’t over the top gory or controversial, but they’re fun, humorous and sometimes scary. A scene that The Famous Haunted Hayride is well known for is the outhouse surprise. The wagon will pass an old outhouse with a ghoul who proceeds to urinate all over passengers. It’s pretty gross and a simple effect I haven’t seen other hayrides use.
Other scenes include a tractor crash with a victim who is going through shock and a driver who looks like he has a mental imbalance. You’ll also experience a nuclear wasteland, a scarecrow village and much more. A scene that is pretty effective is the Sunset Casket Company sales pitch. The casket company owner is a decent actor and really targets people who are obviously frightened out of their mind. The scene lasted a little too long and lost its impact after the first 2 minutes, but it’ still quite effective.
The sets are pretty impressive. The mini water tower looks like a real water tower and has a victim hanging from it. Many of the sets look like they are straight out of a spaghetti western. The Famous Haunted Hayride has plenty of eye candy such as a giant animated rat, the animated corpse of an old woman, a large dragon with blue glowing eyes and more.
The Famous Haunted Hayride has some very creative scenes. One of the most startling is the live execution. A convicted criminal is hanged at the gallows for deplorable crimes against human kind, but is he really dead? The Haunted Barn is the highlight of The Famous Haunted Hayride and it can almost be considered a mini attraction. Enter the mouth of a skull with glowing eyes and let the darkness consume you. Inside The Haunted Barn, you’ll witness things you never thought existed.
Do you believe in dragons? Do you believe in werewolves? Are you ready to go toe to toe with a monster vampire bat? You’re held captive as a horror show develops in front of you. There’s no escaping. The Haunted Barn is an incredible finale to a great haunted hayride. Our only gripe with The Haunted Barn is the audio. It’s a bit muffled and it’s hard to understand what’s being said.
You’ll be done with The Famous Haunted Hayride in 20 minutes. The next haunt you’ll enter is Extreme Nightmares. Extreme Nightmares begins as you meet Ghostly Gus. Gus loves rats and wants you to meet his pretty pet. Ghostly Gus is played by Gus Maurer whose characters can be seen regularly at haunt conventions across the US. If you have a fear of rodents then I wish you luck. I’m usually not one to get startled, but it can catch you off guard when you have rat testicles in your face.
Extreme Nightmares focuses on your worst nightmares and your childhood fears. If you’re afraid of being buried alive then Extreme Nightmares has your number. You’ll have the opportunity to walk through a casket after you escaped the cemetery. If you have a fear of loud noises then cover your ears because Extreme Nightmares features some loud air cannons that sound almost like small fireworks. Some people are afraid of the darkness and Extreme Nightmares capitalizes on this. There are areas of the haunt that are pretty dark and frightening.
There’s a lot of ghostly activity going on at Extreme Nightmares. Pans mysteriously fall without anyone in sight. A girl talks to herself in the mirror or is someone behind her communicating? A haunted library holds secrets in its words and what’s that noise I just heard. This is a suspenseful haunt where anything can happen and actors are hiding everywhere you go. Everything is out to get you including the props. A rat tail moves back and forth in the sewer and various props lunge at you from every which way. Total tour time is around 15 minutes.
Crazy Clowns 3D is Spooky Ranch’s amazing 3D attraction. It’s only about 5 minutes long. It might be short, but it’s very entertaining. You’ll walk through an alien invasion, a hazardous waste zone, an Egyptian Temple and you’ll meet a massive demon who wants to eat you for dinner. The 3D art is impressive and the actors are good. It’s not too scary, but it’s very fun.
Last, but not least is the Funny Fun House. This short walk through attraction is meant for a younger audience who can’t handle the scarier attractions at spooky Ranch. It’s like an old fashioned funhouse from the 1970’s with bright lights, magic mirrors, a few props and more. You can enter as many times as you want.
Don’t forget to get a bite to eat after you’re done touring the attractions at Spooky Ranch. There’s plenty of food available such as hamburgers, funnel cakes and everything you would expect from a carnival. There’s also plenty of gifts available in the Farm Market like costumes, shirts, crafts etc.
Spooky Ranch has it all. Tickets are $20 a person for all attractions. Package 2 includes the Famous Haunted Hayride, Crazy Clowns 3D and The Funny Fun House for $18 a ticket. Package 3 includes The Famous Haunted Hayride and The Funny Fun House for $16 a person. Ticket prices vary for children 10 and under.
Spooky Ranch knows how to deliver scares and create a carnival style atmosphere you can enjoy on a cool fall night. Just recently the Columbia Chamber of Commerce awarded Rockin R Ranch / Spooky Ranch Columbia Station’s Business of the Year for 2013. They’re one of our favorite fall destinations and you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.
Final Stab For Each Haunt
The Famous Haunted Hayride (Includes Haunted Barn)
Length-9 Design-9 Props/Animatronics-9 Acting-8 Scare Effect-9 Final Stab: 8.8
Length-8 Design-9 Props/Animatronics-8 Acting-9 Scare Effect-9 Final Stab: 8.6
Crazy Clowns 3D
Length-5 Design-7 Props/Animatronics-7 Acting-7 Scare Effect-7 Final Stab: 6.6