The Haunted Forest is one of the most well known haunted attractions in Utah, and for good reason. The haunt has been around for almost a quarter of a century and has been loved by many who have come year after year. With this being the last year of its current location in American Fork, the haunt has added Zombie Warz to keep it fresh and fans wanting to come back for more.
Zombies are the coolest and most copied monster on planet earth. From “Resident Evil”to “The Walking Dead”, people around the globe can’t get enough of the undead brain eaters. Utah residents are no exception either as this haunt takes the zombie obsession to a new level, allowing patrons to shoot zombies.
Rob Ethington, owner and founder of the Haunted Forest is proud of his accomplishments, bringing nightmares to life for those who are brave enough to enter into this world of terror. Ethington is also paving a way for the future of his company with the new and different attraction.
“We’ve always tried to be on the edge of coolness,” Ethington said. “Nobody else has that kind of stuff. There are new ideas we try to think of. We don’t try and copy what other people are doing, and I had the thought [about zombie wars] to take military vehicles and retrofit them to kill zombies.”
The zombie killing task force is an adrenaline rush. You step into a world that seems like its a real life military base camp for a zombie emergency. After a wait in line, its time to climb aboard the big military rig and sit in the double-decker trailer. While on the trailer, you will sit behind your weapon, a mounted paintball gun. The guns are mounted to prevent injury to yourself or other patrons.
The nightmare begins with patrons taking a ride around areas that have been overrun by the undead population. The zombies come out of the bushes to be pelted by around 50 patrons in the group. The trailer is also equipped with blue lights to shine on the zombie enemies, and to see the fluorescent paint-balls rip into the zombie attackers and adds an adrenaline rush while you watch the paint-balls hit the target.
The response of the people has been a positive one. It really feels like a dream (or nightmare) come true for those that are fans of the “Walking Dead” or of the “Call of Duty” Nazi Zombie levels and getting the opportunity to shoot a zombie in the face.
The pricing for the attraction can seem a bit too high for some people. But, there is an option to do both the forest and the zombie shooting for $35. That could be the best bang for the buck. By purchasing both, you are only given 50 paint-balls and that can go really fast.However, additional paint-balls are for sale throughout the ride for $5 a pop for 100 paint-balls and that is throughout the entire ride.
The smiles on peoples faces after its all over tell the story that the money was well worth the experience.
“It was awesome,” said Brigham Nielsen, ecstatic zombie hunter. “It was worth every penny.”
Even though the main attraction of The Haunted Forest is now closing its doors at the conclusion of this Halloween season, the Zombie Warz will carry the tradition of entertaining scare seekers and even help pave the way for a new haunt next year when The Haunted Forest looks for a new home.
“We’ve got big plans ahead,” Ethington said. “The Haunted Forest will be bigger and better than ever.”
Until the better improved forest opens, don’t miss the chance to shoot a zombie in the face. It is one of the best most original haunts in the state and will make patrons feel satisfied in the choice to face the cold and shoot zombies.
Garrett is native of Orem, Utah. He is a graduate of Timpanogos High School. While in high school, Garrett enjoyed playing sports and was a double lettered athlete in football in wrestling. After a short stint of college football at Dixie State, Garrett made his way back to Utah Valley in pursuit of his aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. Garrett has been contributing for the UVU Review for three years and has covered sports, specializing in wrestling. Garrett is married to Jodi Coleman and served an LDS mission to Baguio Philippines. You can follow him on twitter @legendgary