A Halloween Experiment
Hi. We’re a new spooky speakeasy.
It’s a pop-up (outdoor) thing - just a cluster of canopies, framed by a fence, bathed in moonlight. Come for beers, wines, malts, mocktails, coffees, energy drinks, sodas, and kombucha. Plenty of seating, games, free popcorn, a projector
room, and, of course, décor galore. It’s the Halloween party we’ve always wanted to throw.
But there’s a catch.
Entry must be earned.
To locate the gate
and join our event
you'll have to survive
The Dark Story Tent.
At the start, we'll hand you
a set of wireless headphones.
(Complete with disposable pad covers. Fresh and clean.)
Then, we'll send you off in groups of two to ten.
WARNING: The Dark Story Tent is, in fact, dark.
There's a visible path on the floor, but, other than that, it's sightless.
To make it out, you'll have to listen.
This year, we've partnered with a new local company - Kojo Biotech - to bring you something extraordinary. Teaser: you'll need to wear lab safety goggles.
You won't hear this story anywhere else.
See you at the gate.
-KMS, LKS, AJV, BAP, & REM
Is this like an audience participation thing? Do we have to work together as a group or something? (Is this an escape room?)
Nope. It all happens in your headphones, in private. But that doesn’t mean you can’t share the experience - everyone in your group (minimum of 2, maximum of 10 people) will hear the same thing - the same broadcast - at precisely the same time. You’ll have a live tour guide, but they won’t be able to hear you through their (special tour guide) headphones, so that’s a one-way communication line.
What’s the “Experiment”?
We’ve partnered with a UF Professor of Psychology. She’s studying what happens when fear mixes with fun. If you participate in her research, you’ll be contributing to genuine social science. Totally your call. More details on site.
Where should I park?
We’ve got parking on site, but it’s limited. Thankfully, there’s a lot more in the immediately surrounding areas. (Within a few blocks.) Check out this map - circles = decent parking options. (Choose wisely -outside of those circles, we're not responsible for towing.)
Is there an age limit?
Under 17 not allowed entry without an accompanying 21+ adult. (R-rated movie rules.) 21+ adults may bring children, but we very, very, VERY much recommend a minimum age of 13. It’s intense. Kids under 13 must be supervised at all times. (There's a playground just outside of our fence line, but know that we don't own that land. (We have no control over what happens outside our border.)
Can I skip the tent and just go to the garden?
Official answer: no. (“Entry must be earned.” It’s a very confident sentence. Very sure of itself.) But we do make exceptions. Two examples: (1) you were dragged by “friends” and you’d really rather just wait for them at The Dark Story Tent's exit; (2) you've already conquered The Dark Story Tent, but you want to come back to the garden on another night to just drink and chill. Totally fine - just let us know when you arrive (you won’t need to buy a ticket) and we’ll give you a special wrist band.
Is your stuff ADA accessible?
Two parts are (the entrance and the spooky speakeasy zone), one part isn’t (The Dark Story Tent).* BUT - we do have an alternative experience for our differently-abled friends on special nights. (A non-walking, sit-down version.) We offer that alternative on select nights only. (Check the "Tickets" page.) With regrets, we don’t have an alternative for non-hearing folks. (The thing is fundamentally an audio experience.) But please do come to the fear garden for all the out-back fun!
*The whole event - inside the tents and out - takes place on sometimes-uneven grass and dirt. Like this:
(Something to consider for wheelchairs.)
Service animals welcome, but if you want to bring them through The Dark Story Tent, they'll have to be comfortable with navigating tight corners, being in dark spaces, big loud noises, random strobe effects, strong fog scents, and, potentially, people freaking out around them. If you've got a companion like that, pick one of the service-animal friendly time-slots on our Tickets page.
How do reservation times work?
When you buy tickets (by clicking the black “Tickets” box at the top of this page), you’ll select a date and a time. Show up about 10 minutes early. After we scan your ticket, we’ll hand you a colored token, then show you into the holding zone. Free bottles of water compliments of this year’s premier sponsor, Kojo Biotech. Relax and enjoy the décor. When your time comes (about 10 minutes after you enter the holding zone), we’ll call your token color.
How big are the reservation groups?
Minimum of 2, maximum of 10 people. (But, again, you won't need to interact with anyone else in your group. Don't worry, introverts. We've got you.)
Can I talk to my buddies (tour-group-mates) during The Dark Story Tent?
Yes, but not much. You’ll be ABLE to communicate (talk and hear each other even though you’re wearing headphones - the headphones aren’t totally noise cancelling), but you’ll want to spend most of your time listening. How else do you expect to make it out alive? Focus on hand-holding (squeezing) instead.
Can I come alone?
Sure. We’re thinking about a singles night. Drop an email if you’d dig that. email@example.com
Rain or shine?
Yep. We’ve got lots of covered space (the canopies), so we can all huddle up until it's dry.
What if I don’t want to wear the goggles?
We get it. Sightless (even when its only mostly sightless) can be REALLY scary. But here's the thing - if you forego the googles, you're going to have a VERY different experience in the story tent. It'll be more like a behind-the-scenes watch-your-friends-freak-out tour. Possibly fun, but not the thing we designed. Try it. Trust us. You can take them off anytime you want to bail on the experience. But you can do this. You are strong. Facing fear in a safe, recreational setting is good for human brains. Trust us.
What if I don’t want to wear the headphones?
It would be weird and you would likely be confused while in the tent. But sure, if you want we can roll with that.
What will security be like?
At least one hired security officer on site at all times. Two during peak hours.
What am I allowed to bring?
Standard theme park rules.
All bags, backpacks, purses, packages and items are subject to inspection prior to crossing the fence line. Suitcases and bags with wheels are prohibited. We recommend that you leave unnecessary articles in your car and secure valuables in your trunk.
Trained Service Animals are welcome, but animals who do not meet the definition of a Service Animal will not be permitted. Service Animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the Service Animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
Any type of explosive, weapon, item that can be used as a weapon or has the appearance of a weapon
Illegal items or substances
Clothing likely to create a danger, incite a disturbance or displaying offensive language or content
Clothing or accessories that represent someone as emergency personnel or that may create a false impression of employment
Power driven devices such as Segways (unless utilized as an ADA mobility device), Hoverboards, Drones or any other radio frequency controlled device
Any other items personnel deem to be inappropriate, disruptive or harmful
How long does The Dark Story Tent take?
About 40 minutes from check-in to tent exit. Takes less time if you die in the tent, but then we have to pause the event so that we can offer your body to the garden. (That pause takes eight minutes. We’ve been running drills.) Then stay and play as long as you like :)
What about refunds?
Negative, unfortunately. (We’re a literal mom-and-pop operation, and we have to know how much revenue we’ve got in order to keep the thing operating day-to-day.) So, “all ticket sales are final.” (Unless WE cancel the event, in which case you’d obviously get a full refund.) But we don’t like the idea of anyone having to eat the admission cost if their plans change. (Or if they’ve just changed their minds.) If you find yourself in this spot, drop us an email. We'll figure something out.
Do I have to sign a waiver?
Oh yeah. We’ll give you a paper copy when you arrive, and, before you can enter the holding zone, you’ll need to provide your signature on one of our tablets to indicate your consent to participate. You can read it now if you want.
Will this be lame?
Dunno. This is our first year. Take a risk.
About a mile northeast of UF's main campus.
Next to Spirit Halloween, across from a sick new arcade,
accompanied by a bunch of food trucks.