In the winter, Buck Hill is a good place for skiing/snowboarding that’s not far from Minneapolis. But during October, it’s transformed into a community of horrific fun.
Frightmares at Buck Hill is not a haunted house. It is more like a haunted village. One admission fee ($20 Wed-Sat and $18 on Sundays) gets you a wristband that lets you stay as long as you like and you can keep going through the different attractions as many times as you want till they close at midnight. they stop selling tickets at 11, but you really will want to get there early so you have a chance to see everything. Lines for the attractions are all outdoors and can get quite long, so dress warm and give yourself plenty of time.
The chalet/bar has live music, dancing, food, and drinks. As we were told by our host “A Haunted House without alcohol is just a Museum.” There’s an outdoor stage where Kevin Hall runs down a series of fast-paced magic tricks. Bonfires and spooky lighting enhance the mood of the central courtyard area connecting all the events, and there are monsters that WILL try to sneak up on you. They love the screamers, so if you’re a screamer, be ever-watchful.
There are four primary attractions:
The only outdoor attraction, and my personal favorite. The Haunted Hollow starts with a ride on the “magic carpet” if you are familiar with skiing/snowboarding, the magic carpet is simply a conveyor belt that carries you up to the top of the hill. There were no scares on the way up, but once at the top, you are in for an anything-but-leisurely walk down to the bottom.
Lights, smoke, a corn maze and disturbing characters lie between you and the exit.
We were advised to hit this attraction first, to take advantage of the last bit of sunlight, and to avoid the chill of night. But then again, darkness would ramp up the intensity of this attraction.
Orchard Manor Dead and Breakfast
This is your classic haunted house, and I mean that as a good thing. A quality scare, although I don’t remember anything specific about it except the end which I won’t give away, but you won’t want to miss it.
Inferno (Formerly Bellharm Lovejoy Asylum)
This attraction was originally created as an insane asylum, but unfortunately it burned down a mere three weeks ago. The organizers have done a marvelous job of rebuilding it, turning it into a series of dungeon laboratories and now called Inferno.
Come and explore THE INFERNO, where the gates of hell have been unleashed and the tortured souls of the past yearn to share their pain and fear with all who enter.
Doctors, laboratories and inmates behind bars – all the scariness of an insane asylum moved underground. Best part was trying to get through the operating room, where the doctor was persistent that I get on the table for some kind of transplant. I didn’t wait around to see exactly what he wanted to transplant…
This was a fun surprise, you get a pair of 3-D glasses when you enter. Once you are inside, the neon oranges, greens and pinks really turn the place into a cross between a 3-D movie and a Duran Duran video. There was a spinning tunnel I’d challenge anyone to try walking through it without using the handrails. Those who get motion sickness can simply close their eyes and use the handrails to get through.
Overall a cool effect, but it may not work as well for everyone. If 3-D movies give you a headache, you could certainly go through this without the glasses and still enjoy it.
Overall I give Frightmares at Buck Hill an A. They really have done a great job with the whole event. The entire event is PG-13, and overall scariness was around 7 out of 10. And it’s a great dollar value. Keep in mind that you can go through the attractions as many times as you want, so give yourself some extra time to stop off at the chalet for some pub grub and a glass of Mold, then go back and revisit your favorite scare.
I recommend groups of 2-4 people. If your group is larger, break it down into smaller groups and stay close together for a better experience as you go through the attractions. There is a group discount for groups over 20.
Keep the weather in mind. Although three of the four attractions are inside, the lines are all outside, and you could be standing there for a while.
Get there early. It wasn’t very busy when we first arrived around 8PM and there were hardly any lines at all. By the time we left at 10:30 the lines had grown to a reasonable size, and I’ll bet you could wait for an hour to get into some of the attractions at the peak times. I’d expect it to get more busy as word gets out and as we get closer to Halloween.
Frightmares at Buck Hill
15400 Buck Hill Rd
Burnsville, MN 55306 frightmares.com