Wild Waves is one of the go-to destinations for summer fun in the Greater Tacoma/Seattle area. If you’re from the area, you know the drill — you and your friends carpool together, pack a cooler with snacks, wait in the longest lines ever to ride the water slides, and all accidentally compete to see who got the worst sunburn.
But once the season is over and fall is upon us, Wild Waves transforms from a fun summer paradise, to being a spooky wonderland for Fright Fest. Complete with the iconic huge spider on the rollercoaster, the spooky haunted houses and the ambiance of terror from the fog machines, Fright Fest is one of the best times to visit the theme park.
This year, the lineup included three haunted-house like activities, all three of them being rated PG-13. The Chamber of Souls was Wild Waves’ take on a traditional haunted house experience. For those who enjoy cheesy jump scares and the classic scare of the haunted house should take part of this annual walk-through.
Camp Whispering Pines was a more unique take on a haunted experience. This was a walk through a haunted campsite where campers never checked out. This scare was tolerable, especially for those who are frightened easily. A lot of people were disappointed by this, griping about it being a waste of time after waiting in line for so long. However, a lot of kids seemed to handle this one well.
The last of these haunted houses was a 3D attraction called The Playground. This one featured clowns and circus carnies — it’s perfect for the faint of heart who like to get a good spook by clowns.
The park did a lot of things to brand itself for Halloween, including using orange colored decorative lights, the allowance of costumes, and whimsical festive decorations everywhere. There was a car parked with a spooky skeleton inside, which also added to the theme.
One thing that was really appreciated was the various ways Wild Waves included all age groups. Xakary the magician performed twice a weekend, which was something fun for all ages to enjoy. Before 6 p.m., Booville was set up for kids to enjoy treats. However, once it got dark out, that’s when they pulled out the tricks. At Sharkey’s Bar, one of the big events they advertised was “Scare-a-oke” on Friday nights.
With half of the park — the water attractions being closed — the rides you can ride become limited during Fright Fest. Also with limited access to the event, lasting only a month long and during the weekend, the park becomes more packed. So with less rides causing people to flock to the few that are open, and fewer days where Fright Fest is open, you can expect to wait in line for a very long time — especially to get into the park.
Fright Fest is a fun way to celebrate the spooky season, but it is by no means the best way to experience Wild Waves. It’s a fun way to enjoy several spooky activities for the price of one, eat some fair food that you often can’t get outside of summer, and ride a couple of basic rides. But the lines are so long, that riding the rides becomes very time consuming, and you can’t even experience half of the park.
The tickets aren’t cheap either, costing around $35 per person, plus $15 per car to park. This isn’t surprising, though. Theme parks, being seasonal, only have a few months out of the year to make money. This forces them to massively upcharge to make up for the time they aren’t turning over a profit and the park is sitting idle.
If cheesy spooky activities are your thing, and you need your theme park fix during the off-season, Fright Fest is a great time. It’s also very family-friendly, offering something for all ages. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, going during water park season is the way to go. This way, you can enjoy all that the park has to offer. The lines are still long, but with more attractions available, the traffic becomes a bit more spread out. Fright Fest is fun, festive, and family friendly — just the best bang for your buck.
Fright Fest is now closed for the season, but returns next year in October. Stay tuned for their annual Holiday with Lights through December.