Pirates of Emerson Invade
the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400
Beach St., Santa Cruz
Reviewed 10/05/07 by Hauntmistress
Pirates of Emerson has expanded into two locations - Fremont and
Santa Cruz at the Boardwalk. Pirates of Emerson Invade the Santa Cruz
Beach Boardwalk includes the Scaribbean Cove haunted attraction, Beneath the Boardwalk haunted attraction, Sand Trap Maze, 20 foot Spinning Tunnel, Fright Walk, and a
Boardwalk ride wristband good for the five Boardwalk rides that are
operating after 7 pm.
With the Boardwalk's pirate theme, Pirates of Emerson seems like the
perfect October addition to the Boardwalk. Pirates of Emerson allows you
to take a trip back in time to the 15th Century when pirates ruled the
seas. The reincarnated pirates aim to terrorize you at every
opportunity. There were a lot of people having fun on our visit and we
made our way through them to get to the action and our first haunt.
Our first stop of the night was Scaribbean Cove. It reminded me most
of the Pirates of Emerson of old in Fremont. You make your way through
various rooms of a pirate cove that have the same attention to detail
we've come to expect and love from Pirates of Emerson. From the many
changing photos on the wall to the mulch on the floor that you can feel
through your shoes and hear as you take each step, Pirates of Emerson
doesn't miss a beat with the details. There were actors perfectly in
character offering plenty of scares, as well as twists and turns and
doors that wouldn't open to confuse you. It was a fast-paced haunt with
plenty to see and be entertained by.
Beneath the Boardwalk
The other haunted attraction is Beneath the Boardwalk. When you enter
you are admonished to, "Keep your eyes and your ears open. There
are strange creatures lurking. Shhhhhh, you wouldn't want to wake them.
Tread lightly. Do not awaken what's beneath the boardwalk". I don't
know how they expect you to be quiet when they keep making you scream!
You feel like you're actually under a boardwalk, complete with wooden
beams and planks. Again, the attention to detail is wonderful, as are
the actors who stay in character and offer scares. Our favorite was one
we've dubbed rat-boy, who scares you and then scurries off into a mouse
hole. After all, a wharf wouldn't be complete without a rat or two (or
the spiders that adorn the walls). Beneath the Boardwalk was fun and
offered many scares.
Boardwalk's Fright Walk
The Boardwalk's standing attraction, Fright Walk, is mostly as we
remembered it from our last visit. The line took about 30 minutes to get
through because they let you in with only your party, which is as we
believe it should be. Cattle calls do not make for a fun experience. Much of the
walk takes you through walls of mirror, invoking
memories of traditional boardwalk fun houses. There are glow in
the dark arrows on the floor to lead you, which seemed to defeat the
purpose of getting confused by the mirrors. But I guess they are
needed because we caught up to the people in front of us who had entered
the haunt at least three minutes ahead of us. They probably would still
be in there without the arrows... There aren't actors in Fright Walk -
the scares are given by pneumatic and mechanical props. But the timing
was right on most of them and they were well-done. There is a vortex
tunnel that was also very well-done and threw us off-kilter. There is
also another little surprise we won't ruin, but let's just say it's
surprising and scream-worthy. Another neat element is the low ceiling in
one part of the walk that you have to crouch down really low to get
through. I almost didn't make it after stiffening up from standing in
line so long. In addition to offering scares, Fright Walk offers laughs,
which is another great element to haunts and a similarity to the way Pirates of
Emerson does things.
Sand Trap Maze
Set on the beach, the Sand Trap Maze is an open-air labyrinth made of chain-link fence.
A similar attraction, The Bilge Rat Maze in Pirates of Emerson's Fremont
location, is strobe-lit, making it hard to determine where you are
or need to be going. But this maze does not have that feature - or at
least didn't on the night we visited. The sand is not that deep so it's
not too hard to walk through. It's not scary, but it's something
different to do on the beach.
Alas, one of my favorite things, the spinning vortex tunnel, was not
operating when we visited. But there were five Boardwalk rides that
were, including the Double Shot, bumper cars, and the swinging Pirate ship
ride. The arcade was filled with people playing games and air-hockey and having their photos taken with pirates. There were also
food stands and shops open.
There's a lot to do and there's a carnival-like atmosphere, making
the price worth it if you intend to take advantage of all that's
offered. We would have liked to see individual prices for attractions,
as it's less cost-effective for those of us that do not go on rides or
only want to visit certain attractions. We saw a few couples who only
wanted to go through the Sand Trap Maze but would have had to pay the
full $24.95 to do so.
All in all, Pirates of Emerson Invade the Boardwalk is a fun way
to spend an October night celebrating Halloween. Our advice is to get
there early to take advantage of everything, as there will be
long lines the closer it gets to Halloween.
Be sure to take a look at our Events
Calendar or our map
of pumpkin patches and haunted houses to find all the other great events going on in the Bay
Do you think we got this review totally wrong? Agree with us?
Or just want everyone to know your thoughts? Then start
a discussion of this haunt in our forums!
12-14; 18-21; 25-31, 2007; Fri.-Sat. 7 pm-midnight;
Sun.-Thurs. 7 pm-10 pm
|| Santa Cruz
Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz