If you live in Riverside or are a hardcore fan of Southern California theme parks, you probably have heard of Castle Park. Built in 1976 by famed theme park ride designer Bud Hurlbut, Castle Park has been entertaining families for decades. Now owned by Palace Entertainment, the park has created Castle Dark, their annual Halloween time event. Castle Dark features four haunted houses, or “mazes”, as well as their arcade, miniature golf courses, and more!
One of the coolest things about Castle Dark is that it is not a separate admission from the normal day’s goings on at the park. You can buy your Duke’s Deluxe Pass in the afternoon and stay all the way until the scares stop that evening. A deluxe pass is only $17.99, a real deal when looking at other haunted attractions of this scale. Castle Park contains a variety of carnival style food eats, as well as a coffee bar inside the castle arcade structure itself. Also inside the arcade is Ghost Blasters, a really cool shoot ’em up ride similar to the Buzz Lightyear Astro-Blasters at Disneyland.
Outside the arcade, you’ll find the park’s four haunted houses, “Nightmare”, “Along Came a Spider”, “La Vey Institute”, and “Oblivion” – all of which all have a very indie haunt vibe. Admittedly, the production value of these mazes doesn’t seem all that high, but we had a fun time going through them nonetheless. The monsters inside are giving great energy and there is enough eye candy and props about to make it interesting to look at. The street zone area of Castle Dark isn’t very big, but you will definitely find more than a few monsters stalking around, scaring guests where they can. This isn’t the same kind of scary experience for adults like Halloween Horror Nights or Knott’s Scary Farm are, but you might just have some fun jump scares throughout your night – I know I did!
In the daytime, you’ll find the park hosting Dia de los Muertos activities for the youngsters. This is a super family-friendly event where young children can go through a small hay maze as well as enjoy the kiddie rides that the park has to offer.
Overall, Castle Dark is an excellent value for $17.99 and great for Inland Empire families looking to have some Halloween fun without having to trek out to Orange County. Castle Dark runs Fridays through Sundays throughout October. You can find ticket information and more at the event’s official website.
3500 Polk Street, Riverside, CA 92505