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VIDEO: Howl-O-Scream Begins Tonight at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens invites guests to visit “The Dark Side of the Gardens” select nights Sept. 21-Oct. 27.

Want to see me experiencing part of Blood Asylum, one of the new haunted houses at Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream? Click on the video above and watch my terror unfold via a special “Scream Cam” that was only available to the media in the very early morning hours on Thursday.

And, please, try not to laugh at me too much.

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Busch Gardens is gearing up to celebrate its unlucky 13th year of Howl-O-Scream, and the 2012 event’s theme is “Unlock the Fear Inside.”

Busch Gardens’ 335 acres will be transformed to the “Dark Side of the Gardens” beginning Sept. 21-22, 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. with a “Freaky Preview,” according to a press release from the amusement park. The preview lets fans experience the event a week early.

Afterward, the event will run Thursday through Saturday nights, Sept. 27-29, Oct. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27. Operating hours are 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursday nights, and 7:30 p.m.-2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

The park “will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun, including new haunted houses, scare zones, thrilling live stage shows and the chance to ride adrenaline-fueled coasters in the dark, including Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt,” according to the release. “Even the streets themselves aren’t safe as insatiable hoards of devious creatures pour forth from the shadows, led by a terrifying Trickster who is scheming to show fans the most horrifying Howl-O-Scream ever.”

Here’s what Busch Gardens had to say about its Howl-O-Scream attractions:

From 13 sinister superstitions to the claustrophobic halls of an insane asylum, Howl-O-Scream 2012’s new haunted houses are designed to touch every aspect of your deepest fears.

Blood Asylum (new) – As lightning rages and thunder crashes outside, “The Creature” escapes from his holding cell in a high-security asylum for the criminally insane. Now this sadistic deviant is running rampant, skinning his former cellmates and turning the mental hospital into his own torture chamber. This serial killer’s bloody playground will drive you out of your mind with fear.

Circus of Superstition 3-D (new) – You’ve tried to avoid black cats and sidewalk cracks, but Trickster will make sure that all those years of bad luck catch up with you! Under his command, crazed circus clowns challenge you to survive 13 superstitions in their 3-D Tent of Terror, but it will take more than luck to escape this whole new dimension of fear.

Some of the most demented houses ever are back by popular demand with some horrible new twists.

Ultimate Gamble: CONDEMNED – Vampires have fallen out of vogue and the Ultimate Gamble casino has been shut down. The power is off, and the neon signs that once lit up the sky have gone out. Only the bravest guests dare visit the empty carcass of the once-vibrant casino, grabbing their flashlights to “enter at their own risk.”

Nightshade Toy Factory: MUTATION – The old Nightshade Toy Factory has long been patrolled by diabolical dolls, terrible teddy bears and possessed playthings, but recent containment issues at a nearby nuclear facility have started to affect these terrible toys. Now, the mutations will stop at nothing to devour the humans that have “enslaved” them for so long.

Nevermore – Beating hearts, swinging pendulums and a raven’s cries haunt the manor of Lenore, creating a demented and twisted nightmare. Step inside to experience the gothic terror that maddens the lord of the house and feel delusion overcome reality. Find your way out of this horror story before paranoia authors your final chapter.

Zombie Mortuary – No one remembers how the epidemic started, but now, zombies live here. The undead that infest this small town funeral home feed on the fresh flesh and brains of mortuary mourners to satisfy their insatiable hunger. Avoid the walking dead or you may find yourself deeper than six feet under.

Alone… (A personal experience in horror) – The deranged Master Alexander Daedalus opened Minotaur Storage to house his vast collection of “cultural” remains. But now his sinister obsession with hoarding has expanded to stockpiling people. Escape this lunatic’s labyrinth or you will become part of his collection. Can you make it out ALONE? (Alone is a unique, all-alone experience through the haunted house for an additional fee. Reservations are required, and each reservation can accommodate you and up to three additional victims.)

At Howl-O-Scream, even the sidewalks aren’t safe from the things that go bump in the night.

New scare zones and bands of roaming hordes will keep guests watching their backs as they explore 335 acres of fright.

Faded Memories – Thirteen years of horror-filled memories come swarming back as the most sinister icons, diabolical characters and disturbing scenes from your favorite Howl-O-Scream haunted houses and scare zones from the past converge to create the ultimate “best of” scrapbook of scares.

After braving bone-chilling coasters in the dark such as Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi and Kumba, you can catch your breath at Howl-O-Scream’s signature show, Fiends.

New this year, Fiends will be performing nightly at the Desert Grill in Timbuktu. Captivating creatures of the night will infect you with dance fever and keep your pulse pounding with their deranged dance party. But when Dr. Freakenstein’s naughty nurses start operating, the diagnosis is always “code pink.”

Looking for a sick party or the perfect souvenir to round out your evening of evil?

CLUB XIII – Escape the hordes and head to the transformed Marrakesh Theater to drive yourself mad partying at Howl-O-Scream’s exclusive dance club. This adults-only nighttime playground keeps the energy pumping all night long with non-stop music, premium signature cocktails, drink specials and exclusive appearances by Howl-O-Scream's most terrifying personalities.

Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors – Remember your evening of undead excitement with a Tricky trinket that’s not for the faint of heart.

General admission is $79.99 plus tax. Special pricing and other offers also available. To learn more, visit Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream online.

Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed night event and is intended for mature audiences. This year’s event contains intense adult content such as violence, gore and blood. No costumes are allowed.

See also:
Howl-O-Scream Shows Dark Side of Busch Gardens (2011)
Busch Gardens Gets Jump Start on Halloween

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