In a not so far off rural road in St. John’s County (around 1.5 hours from Orlando), lies a seemingly insignificant average looking warehouse. But don’t be deceived, it’s what’s inside that offers a few frights in the night.
Warehouse 31 (225 West Davis Industrial Drive – just off I-95 exit 311 in St. Augustine) has once again come to un-life. Now in its second year, the fully utilized 26,000 square foot warehouse boasts twice the fear, with two unique haunts – Rigamortis & Foggy Nox 3D – along with a “Roadkill Café.”
According to project manager Joel Corley, Warehouse 31 is a PG-13 experience. Of the unassuming exterior emcee Allyn Dennis advised, “We’re very plain Jane on the outside but it’s just to hide the actual terrors that are yet to come.” Terrors to the tune of 30 rooms of well-decorated doom form the perilous path through Rigamortis journeys, which can last 15-20 minutes!
Rigamortis is a delightfully dark diversion. A well balanced blend of gothic settings, gory surprises and menacing monsters, this walk through maze is possibly the first haunt to have a haunted house with in a haunt (be sure to say hi to Granny as you enter, just don’t stay too long for dinner). Scenes are well executed and there is enough variety (30+ rooms) to satisfy even the seasoned enthusiast. It’s obvious that the denizens of this dark dwelling love their creepy craft as both the scares and ambience blend nicely. While, not as polished as the high-budget theme park houses, Rigamortis manages to stand on its own and, at times, even outshine the larger attractions in its classic execution.
Inside Professor Foggy Nox’s Cabinet of Curiosities brave visitors don glasses for freakishly fun excursion into the surreal realm of the third dimension. The 3-D effect is pulled off splendidly with lots of depth and a few fun surprises. Though not as many inhabitants lurk in this clever cabinet, Professor Nox manages to conjure up 10 “acts” and some brilliant boos. At times it is easy to get lost along the way, but the payoff is worth the wandering. This haunt is new this year for Warehouse 31 and was a bit light in scares, but the effects and imaginative imagery make the maze a nice addition.
Road Kill Cafe
While waiting for the haunted house boarding pass to be called, guests can take a “freaky photo” with an actor; visit a psychic, peruse the Warehouse 31 assortment of hats, shirts and merchandise (at the time of our visit there wasn’t much more than a table for this); grab a snack or drink; watch a horror movie; or take a seat at one the many tables set up (all of this is open to the elements so prepare according to the weather). This experience is peppered with a fire artist and roaming characters. The website mentions “many games of skill” but at the time of our visit none were to be found. While it was a welcome variant to standing in line for the full wait, “Road Kill ‘Café’” felt more like an afterthought than a themed experience (though this should not dissuade anyone from braving both of the haunts).
While there wasn’t a very long wait to see either house during the first weekend, but wait times can reach an hour-and-a-half or longer closer to Halloween. Not to worry though, Warehouse 31 has made that wait time a social experience. Upon purchasing tickets at the event (cash only), guests are given a “boarding pass” with either a letter or number (to keep parties together, be sure to advise the ticket booth how many in a group when the first person purchases). Instead of standing in line, groups are called to enter by boarding pass (no long “conga” lines winding through the trail). This was a nice touch, though we did end up running into the slower moving group ahead of us on our visit.
Helpful Hints to make for happy haunt:
The Warehouse 31 box office is open sundown to 11pm on Sundays, Thursdays (and Monday 10/25-Wed 10/27) and sundown to midnight on on Fridays, Saturdays and Halloween. The haunts stay open until last ticket holder enters each night. Tickets (at the gate) are $20 for entrance into Rigamortis, $15 to walk through Foggy Nox 3D, or an RIP Combo giving admission to both for $30. For those who do not want to wait in line, prices increase by $15-20.
More photos from Warehouse 31:
Directions and additional information can be found at Warehouse31.com.