Scream-A-Geddon puts a scare into any outsider who dares to enter.
Scattered across acres upon acres in the middle of the woods off Saint Joe Road in Dade City, the independent horror park gives its visitors an interactive experience through six distinct attractions.
At one end of the park, in an attraction called “Deadwoods,” visitors navigate through dark, winding trails, where they encounter the cannibalistic Tate family.
At another side of the park, parkgoers wreak havoc on flesh-eating zombies from a militarized school bus mounted with 18 paintball guns in the attraction “Zombie Paintball Assault.”
In another unique area, called “Rage 3-D,” visitors wear 3-D glasses, and get up close and personal with crazed clowns and other abnormal creatures, testing their senses, as they make their way through creepy rooms that twist, turn and rotate in the midst of roaring music.
Meanwhile, “Demon’s Revenge,” “Blackpool Prison” and “Infected: Ground Zero” provide their own sets of horrors — all aiming to live up to their frightening names.
Geof Kledzic, the Scream-A-Geddon general manager, is hard-pressed to pick a favorite.
“There’s great scares all over the place, so I love ‘em all,” Kledzic said. “They each have certain things that make them unique.”
Scream-A-Geddon attracted more than 40,000 visitors last year.
Open every night through Nov. 3, Kledzic expects an even bigger turnout this Halloween season.
“Every year it continues to grow,” he said, noting word-of-mouth about the park has drawn people all throughout Tampa Bay and central Florida.
His main selling point of the horror park is that “you can do things (at Scream-A-Geddon) that you can’t get anywhere else.
“Where do you get to take a walk in the woods?
“Where do you get to ride a militarized school bus and mow down zombies?
“You don’t do that at Busch Gardens or Universal (Studios).
“So, people start sharing that news, and people drive a great distance to come here,” the general manager explained.
Scream-A-Geddon launched in 2015 after its parent company, Indiana-based Point Summit Inc., expanded operations to Florida.
The company also operates Indy Scream Park in Indianapolis, and other adventure parks, including TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park, located on the same property as Scream-A-Geddon.
Unlike other horror parks, Kledzic said Scream-A-Geddon prides itself on a format of sending small groups of visitors into an attraction at a time.
That’s different from what Kledzic describes as “conga lines” of people, which, he said, too often gives away “the scare.”
Upping the scary meter even more, some Scream-A-Geddon attractions give visitors the option to be touched or grabbed by the frightening characters.
“People love that,” Kledzic said of the interactive offerings. “You cannot get that anyplace else.”
For 26-year-old Lakeland resident Kyndil Rogers, the horror park fares favorably to others she’s visited.
“It’s a lot more interactive,” she said. “Really scary.”
Her friend, 29-year-old Brandon Gonzalez, also of Lakeland, was likewise impressed at how Scream-A-Geddon’s attractions and characters were brought to life.
“Here, it’s more realistic,” he said. “It makes the experience a lot better.”
New Port Richey resident Kirsty Roach expressed similar sentiments during her first-time visit.
“The haunted houses are amazing — like a lot better than (Howl-O-Scream) Busch Gardens. I’d go that far. I think it’s that good,” Roach said.
“I like that not everybody’s piled on top of each other,” she added.
Haunted House enthusiast Eva Dunn and her group of friends made the drive from Apopka to see what Scream-A-Geddon was all about.
She left happily frightened.
Among her favorite stops was “Blackpool Prison.” The attraction is controlled by “the worst of the worst” criminals where the only way to get out alive is through them.
It also offers visitors the option to be grabbed, held back, sent into hidden cells, removed from their group or even forced to remain.
“They grabbed a lot more than I thought,” Dunn said, with glee. “They said, ‘grab,’ and you know we’ve heard that before at other places, but here they actually grab you and it was like, ‘Wow!’ (because) they spin you around and shove you.”
“Demon’s Revenge” was the scariest part of the attraction for Dunn’s friend, Richard Doran, also of Apopka.
He said that’s because it is set up like a maze inside a mental ward with walls that gradually close in.
“It’s really nice. I like how it made you feel like it got smaller and smaller as you went through,” Doran said.
Dunn quickly pointed out her friend screamed the whole way through. “Right in front of my ear!” she said, with a boisterous laugh.
Meanwhile, those seeking a break from loud shrieks and bursts of adrenaline can head to the center of the park, called the “Monster Midway.”
It features carnival games, food and drink trucks, and picnic tables set near a bonfire.
Visitors, however, shouldn’t let their guard down too much.
Roaming throughout the park on any given night are hordes of ghoulish creatures, clowns and zombies, keeping visitors on high alert.
What: Tampa Bay’s haunt experience features six terrifying attractions in one location.
Where: 27839 Saint Joe Road, Dade City
When: Every night through Nov. 3. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Who: Recommended for adults and teens, but younger children may attend with parent or guardian.
Cost: Prices start at $28.95. Fast pass and group packages also offered.
Info: Visit ScreamAGeddon.com, or call (813) 452-5412.
Published October 17, 2018