Area attractions feature thrills, chills, family fun

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Former Reporter &
STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
10/20/2017 08:30 AM
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Richard Roberts is the owner of Rockin’ R Farms in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the area’s newest attractions that includes a 5-acre corn maze and a 1-acre pumpkin patch. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Richard Roberts wears a T-shirt that highlights the pattern of the 5-acre corn maze at Rockin’ R Farms in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix visited local fall and Halloween attractions to help readers find ways to celebrate the season. Included is also a list for those looking for related attractions for either family friendly fun or something spookier.

Rockin’ R Farms: Tahlequah

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Rockin’ R Farms officials hope visitors “get lost” with them as they offer a family friendly environment that is fun for children and adults.

“This place is just not for the kids, it is adult-friendly. Anything that I’ve built, if I can’t get in it, it isn’t fun for adults, so I build it for everybody,” Richard Roberts, owner and Cherokee Nation citizen, said. “We just can’t have the kids having fun. We have to have everybody.”

Roberts said the farm’s biggest attraction is the five-acre corn maze, which during October turns into a haunted maze at night.

“We started laying it out last year. This was just a pasture with three big ol’ (old) pine trees in it,” he said. “We come out, we dug up the trees. I spent days digging up roots and killing the grass and preparing the soil for growing the corn. We wanted it to still be green at this time, so we waited to plant the corn until July.”

For the haunted maze, Roberts said they only use a portion of the maze.

“At dusk we will kick everybody out of the maze that come out during the day, and then we’ll go in here and set up,” he said. “We’re going to locate haunted people in special spots to basically drive you where we want you to go. No flashlights, no phones, it’s just walking through here in the dark.”

There’s also a 1-acre pumpkin patch where visitors can pick a pumpkin.

“We have a 1-acre pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin for 50 cents a pound,” he said. “Then we have a variety of other types of different pumpkins like Polar Bear, Rascals, Cinderellas that you can buy for 80 cents a pound, and they’re spread out throughout the area.”

Other activities include a petting zoo, hayrack ride, a jump pad and horseshoes. There is also a picnic area and a country store where items such as T-shirts, flashlights, glow bracelets and necklaces, candy bars and beverages can be purchased.

Roberts said he hopes to see new faces stopping by as they plan to stay open through November.

“There’s a payoff in seeing the kids having fun and the adults, too. It’s all for the fun of it and it’s work. It’s a job, but it’s still exciting. I get to meet all kinds of people,” he said.

Rockin’ R Farms is located at 15486 N. Spears Road and is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission to the corn maze is $7 per person with children 2 and under free. Admission to the haunted maze, which is only on Friday and Saturday, is $9 per person, and admission for both the haunted maze and spook trail is $12 per person.

For more information, visit Rockin’ R Farms on Facebook.

The Asylum: Nowata

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People looking for a truly horrifying Halloween haunt may get more blood and guts than they bargain for at The Asylum Haunted Attraction.

Visitors are invited to step inside a 1940s mental hospital, giving them a hands-on experience into the world of deranged doctors and assistants performing experiments on completely sane individuals.

“This is a two-story haunt,” Russell Kyle Rhoades, assistant director, said. “You’re going to be going through twists and turns. You’re going to get turned around quite a few times. A lot of the areas that you see might not actually be a door. There might be something else entirely that you have to find, and it’s just challenging your senses.”

The haunt will also require interaction with several characters, including a demented priest and a disturbed Peter Rabbit, which Rhoades called an “accident,” but has since taken off with visitors.

“People have adopted (the characters) and started to flesh them out for themselves,” he said. “It’s the patrons that make it special. We’re just trying something and it stuck and the patrons just make it what it is.”

Workers design and fabricate each costume and room, allowing what visitors see to be truly unique.

“A lot of these rooms, all these things that you see around here, we’ve built,” Rhoades said. “We spend a lot of time (working) throughout the off season because we do three events now. As soon as one event is done, we’re getting prepared for the next one, so we’re busy all the time.”

Many of the scenes in The Asylum are not for the faint of heart, especially when you might be asked to remove one from a body in the surgery room.

“The scene that we’re known for the most is surgery, and you have to pull assortments of things from a carcass,” Rhoades said. “Prepare to get bloody. This is interactive and that’s what we’re known for.”

No worries, though. The Asylum assures customers the fake blood washes out.

There is no age limit to enter, though parental discretion is advised. If the experience becomes too much, the haunt has an easy out.

“Fear is subjective,” Rhoades said. “It’s all personal, so I would suggest if you bring your kids, be prepared for them to ‘Bloody Mary.’ That’s the safe word that we use to escort them out if they’re too scared. But it’s completely subjective, so if you feel like your kids can make it, come on out. We definitely try to do something different with every event that’s unique in its own way that you’re not going to experience anywhere else.”

The haunt has plans to move to a bigger facility as word of mouth continues to build its reputation. The current site is host to The Asylum in October, Sweetheart Slaughter in February and Dodsfall in June.

The Asylum Haunted Attraction is located at 304 W. Cherokee Ave. It is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Oct. 29, with a special encore event on Nov. 4. For more information, visit www.okasylum.com.

Other Halloween activities around the Cherokee Nation

The Castle in Muskogee

The Castle in Muskogee caters to all ages, from children to adults. Visitors can grab a drink at pubs, participate in a zombie hunt, take a haunted hayride, experience spook trails or see performers practice hypnotism and juggle fire. The activities are spread out across 14 acres and open Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Oct. 28.

Muskogee Haunted History Tours

Muskogee Haunted History Tours invites guests walk or bike a tour of local haunts on Oct. 14, 20, 21 and 27. Tours begin at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. For more information, visit www.muskogeehauntedhistorytours.com.

Route 66 Punkin’ Chunkin’ in Vinita

Participants from around northeast Oklahoma will launch pumpkins from a catapult-type contraption to see how far their pumpkins go. There will also be free children’s games, pumpkin bowling, a children’s costume contest, pumpkin decorating and more. The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and children 4 and under are free. For more information, visit https://www.vinita.com or call 918-256-7133.

Tulsa Zoo

The Tulsa Zoo hosts HallowZOOeen from Oct. 27-31, inviting children to dress up and trick-or-treat at Goblin Stops, play carnival-style games in the Pumpkin Patch Playroom and take a ride on the Haunted Train. Activities begin at 6 p.m. Tickets for non-members are $8 and $7 for members, while Haunted Train ride tickets are $5. For more information, visit www.tulsazoo.org/hallowzooeen-at-the-tulsa-zoo/

Pumpkin Festival at Shepherd's Cross in Claremore

Families can wander through the Pumpkin Patch, pet farm animals, take a trek through a hay maze or construct a scarecrow at the Shepherd’s Pumpkin Festival. The festival is open from 9 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and runs until Nov. 4. For more information, visit www.shepherdscross.com/PumpkinFestivalatShepherdsCross.html

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