I survived a zombie apocalypse in York Haven
Zombies + laser tag. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Well, I’m not going to lie. I was more than a little nervous when I agreed to go through the Zombie Apocalypse Live experience with a GoPro strapped to my head Friday night.
It’s a tactical, live-action, laser-tag-style game that immerses you and your friends in a world infested with close to 60 zombies. The only way out is to shoot your way to safety.
The event is currently touring the country, making stops at haunted houses in states, including Arizona, Georgia and California, according to its website. But this weekend, it's coming to Halloween Park in York Haven, conveniently located about a half-mile from Strinestown Cemetery.
The experience includes two separate attractions: Creekside Manor and The Catacombs.
Creekside Manor takes you through 30 rooms in about 30 minutes, Halloween Park co-owner Mark Oldhouser said. But if you run through, you can finish much faster.
I opted for the second attraction, The Catacombs, which includes both indoor and outdoor portions — perfect for someone like me who doesn’t love dark, enclosed spaces.
When I was ready to begin, an employee handed me an infrared military training replica, which was heavier than expected, and told me to head inside.
I made sure to go in right behind a group from Jackson Township and Mechanicsburg for protection.
Pro tip: If you’re nervous about participating, stay toward the back of your group so you can watch others encounter the zombies first and hear what’s coming up ahead.
The Catacombs takes you through winding tunnels and caves and up and down stairs in the dark. Some areas are so pitch black you can’t see what’s coming up ahead. And zombies pop out at you every way you turn.
It’s a lot like a typical haunted house, only at this attraction, you’re armed.
The zombies all wear targets on their heads that flash red to indicate they’ve been hit. But sometimes, you have to shoot the zombies more than once to take them down and move on to the next portion of the attraction.
“There were a couple jumpy moments,” Troy Forsyth, of Mechanicsburg, said after surviving the Catacombs.
I can definitely attest to that. The zombies stay in character the entire time no matter what. And they’re definitely terrifying as they reach out at you trying to infect you.
“I think I left a little something in one of the rooms,” Forsyth added. “I’m glad to know my reaction time from playing video games helped a little bit.”
But you don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to enjoy the experience. After finishing, my only complaint was that I wish it would have lasted longer.
Luckily, no one in our group got infected. Don’t worry. An employee asked us to make sure.
Think you have what it takes to survive a zombie apocalypse, too? Tickets – ranging from $29.99 to $49.99 – are still available for Saturday and Sunday. Hours are 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The event is not recommended for children under 12.
Can’t make it this weekend? Oldhouser said he hopes to bring Zombie Apocalypse Live back to Halloween Park in July and September.
Visit zombieapocalypselive.com/yorkhaven/ for more information.