Amazin' Acres of Fun
Located about 8 miles south of Cookeville toward Sparta on Highway 111, is a family-owned and -operated farm where you can find the McCulley’s Amazin’ Acres of Fun.
The farm offers hayrides to the pumpkin patch where you can pick your favorite pumpkins. The hayride is $10, or $9 for a group of 10 or more. The pumpkins are very affordable, ranging from $0.50 to $3 a pumpkin.
There is a petting zoo where about 20 goats will walk up to you and nibble at your hands to see if you brought them snacks. A pony and a sheep are also there to pet. Ziploc bags of food for the petting zoo are available in the office.
If you want a little more of a challenge, the Amazin’ Acres of Fun offers a 7-acre maze. Inside the maze is a scavenger hunt game called “Farm scene Investigation,” similar to the game Clue. To solve this mystery, six clues are hidden in the maze and need to be found. This maze is the hardest.
Overall, this place is great if you are not into haunted attractions. Their scare factor is zero, but this place is family-friendly and good for all ages.
Amazin’ Acres of Fun is a great place to go if you are looking for a good time that is near Cookeville, fairly priced and somewhere no one will jump out to scare you.
Tunnel of Doom
About 30 minutes from Cookeville on Highway 111 north is the Tunnel of Doom at the Overton County Rescue Squad’s building. For $8, you and your friends are welcomed with open arms by many horror movie characters. They begin at dark and end when the last people go through their Tunnel of Doom.
Chuckie, Saw’s Jigsaw, Freddy and Jason, Michael Myers, Emily Rose, the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Frankenstein, the little girl from the Grudge and clowns are all ready to get the chance to meet you.
Before our trip went through the indoor maze, our group of 10 was split up into two groups of four and one lucky group of two. The lady at the front desk informed us the characters love to separate people from their groups and they will touch you.
Be sure to call ahead if you will get there late, as they do not have a set ending time. This haunted attraction was just the right amount of scary and friendliness. Before our time to go through the “tunnel,” all of the actors remained in character. But after our last group of friends was chased out of the building by the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the actors talked with us and let us see them without their masks.
The Tunnel of Doom is scary enough to not make you want to open your eyes but keeps you excited enough to see what is next the room. The length of the tour was the perfect. I began to wonder if we would ever get out, and the very next room we did.
If you and a group of friends are not too scared to be touched by the claws of Freddy and a chain saw, be sure to make your way out to meet the wonderful rescue squad of Overton County.
As it has been in years past, Frightmare Manor is one of the absolute best haunts to check out this season. It’s located pretty far from Tech. It’s billed as a Knoxville haunted attraction, but it’s actually located in a small town north of Knoxville called Talbott. They called themselves a “5 attraction screampark” for good reason. This is the scariest you are going to get if you head east of Cookeville toward the Knoxville area. The place has three haunted attractions, a money-back challenge, and a free-fall tower. The only ones I’ve done are the three haunted attractions. The attractions are titled Frightmare Manor, Quarantine and Psycho Hill. They are all really fun and extremely scary. The main haunt, Frightmare Manor, is the best. You can tell they put a ton of work into it. You’ll experience more than just a few jump scares throughout the three haunts as well as some areas where psychological scares come into play. There are also some areas where you won’t simply walk through, but if I go into detail there, I might be spoiling too much. The haunt has been going for several years now, and they always upgrade every year. Keep in mind that you will have to wait a little for this attraction because of its popularity. I spoke to people in line who had come all the way down from Michigan to do this haunt. The haunt itself isn’t for smaller children, but the atmosphere outside the area is actually very family-friendly.
Since the start of the Halloween season, I’ve heard some great things about a local haunted house down in Jackson County. It seemed like a good one too – it only cost $8 to get in and it took only about 30 minutes to get there from campus. Driving there was another story; it was out of a horror film itself. There were many twists and turns with little to no cellphone service, so I would rely on your phone’s GPS because it took us down some little back road that wasn’t even a road. It was a driveway. When we finally arrived at Flynn’s Lick, we could see how popular it was. It opens at 7 p.m., and we got there about 8:20 p.m. We bought our tickets and asked about how long the wait would be. She told us it would be a “little while,” so we waited … and waited … and waited. After we waited about an hour, we did some math and at the rate they were coming to take tickets we would be waiting there for another two hours. TWO HOURS. They had sold over 400 tickets and had everyone waiting for hours without really warning us about the actual wait time. So my recommendation is if you really want to see if Flynn’s Lick is as good as they say, be prepared to dedicate your night to this 20-minute scary ride.
Dungeon of Darkness
Located in Maryville, Dungeon of Darkness is the all-around best haunt for the season. The biggest downside to the attraction is that it’s about 100 miles away from Tech. However, that’s about the only downside to this haunt. I’m a big fan of detail and that’s what you’re going to get at Dungeon of Darkness. It’s located in the basement of a community center, so you might underestimate the place when you first arrive. Don’t let that turn you away, though. The haunt is themed really well. They have so many different scenes set up throughout the attraction and you can tell that they have put in some time to make them look good. There were about 40 live actors encountered throughout the house. Plenty of jump scares and general moments of psychological fear were experienced here. This probably isn’t the best place to take young children. The attraction says that parents may use their own judgment on whether or not to take their children through the house, but they also don’t recommend it for anyone under 12. I would agree with that as it is very scary, and you can expect a little foul language and adults themes in the house as well. It was definitely worth $15. If you’re willing to do a little traveling for a good scare, you won’t leave here disappointed.
Asylum Hill Evolution in Overton County fit into all of my categories. It was super easy to find and took us only about 15 minutes to get there from campus. It costs $10 per person to enter the maze they created in a dark creepy forest. Now to the actual good part: Was it really scary or just lame? I literally was holding on to my boyfriend’s arm for dear life while being chased through this maze. Did I mention they were chasing us with chainsaws? Yeah and you know in most mazes they stop following after a few feet? Not in this one. We had a creepy killer following us the entire time. The maze was filled with rooms with different themes from horror movies and made it feel as if you were actually in one too. You could really tell they put a lot of work into making this as scary as they could for their customers.
The closest haunted house to Tech’s campus most likely isn’t going to scare you, but it’s a great place for families. Fear Farm is just about a 10 minute drive from campus, so it’s the ideal place to go if you’re not looking to travel too far. However, if you’re looking for some good scares, you might want to pass on it. You’ve probably seen the billboards advertising their zombie paintball attraction around town. That’s what they’ve become known for, but it was rather boring. The people dressed like zombies didn’t really look like zombies. It seemed like something that someone put together overnight. They also have a haunted corn maze, but it was weak as well. There were maybe one or two jump scares throughout the maze. Other than that, it wasn’t something extremely exciting. This haunt would be a very good place to take the kids to get them into the Halloween spirit. The average college student is probably going to be rather bored at this one, and the $20 price tag on the attraction doesn’t help.