There are a lot of places sinister ghouls can hide in 29 acres of forest. But unfortunately for STLFear’s guests, only the light of the moon will guide them as they navigate the forest’s haunted depths, forcing them to rely on their wits as they make their way through the leaf-strewn paths. Visitors can test their mettle on Friday and Saturday nights in October until 11 p.m. when the staff closes off the gates. STLFear also offers passes so that guests can skip the line and a coffin in which brave visitors can take novelty photographs.
Though most people hate the feeling of getting lost, that’s the point behind spending a day at the maze at Brookdale Farms. Not because the staff wants guests to wander aimlessly, but because the maze makes for a great way to enjoy the autumn sunshine at a relaxed pace and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Open as a family-friendly jaunt during the day and as a haunted attraction at night, the maze tests navigators’ skills and affords a rare view into how scarecrows live when they think no one is looking. Outside the maze, the farm offers other autumnal activities such as pumpkin slingshots, pony rides, adrenaline-pumping ziplines, and a hay jump, inviting families to spend a full day disconnected from their televisions, computers, and employer-mandated tracking devices. The farm also has its very own pumpkin patch, where children and adults can pick their own pumpkins, especially after a nice hayride.
Buried in the woods, 15 single- and two-story log cabins line a path leading to a secluded frontier fortress. Masked combatants armed with Tippmann 98 paintball guns ponder the path's obstacles before slinking forward to meet their opponents. Along Bing Field Paintball & Airsoft Park's three wooded fields strewn across 35 acres, players sneak into sniping positions in the Frontier Field's two-story log cabins, the Vietnam Field's two-story guard tower, or our the newly designed World War II field that features several new two and three story buildings. Four speedball fields––air ball, barrel, concrete, and spool––accommodate paintball players on the other side of the wooded park. Paintball and airsoft packages grant visitors up to seven hours of play, which they can break up with refueling sessions spent scarfing down refreshments while gossiping about opponents' love lives at an onsite concessions stand.
Upon departing from the landing craft, one player ducks behind an upturned boat and takes aim at opposing paintballers as they fend off attacks from the upper level of a concrete bunker. This scene may conjure echoes of historic battles, particularly D-Day, as Wildcat Paintball has modeled one of its outdoor fields on the historic battle of Normandy. Elsewhere, players can snake through the thick, jungle-like brush of the Vietnam field, dive into the castle field's manmade trenches, or sneak into the Old West town of Wildwood. A tournament field littered with barrels and wooden barriers or three speedball fields replete with tractor tires and frequently mowed lawns accommodate marksmen who prefer more traditional paintball settings.
While unloading their ammo upon enemies, paint-splattered warriors hunt for cover in the outdoor wilderness of Xtreme’s 10 playing fields. They duck behind multistory wooden barricades on the Castle field, navigate a maze of padded pillars and logs on the Arena field, dive into leafy ditches on the Bunker field, and command one of four two-tiered fortresses on the Four Forts field. Much like siblings competing to see who celebrates their birthday first, Xtreme Paintball Park gathers players to engage in competitive scenarios such as capture the flag and elimination. Park staffers expand these play opportunities by constantly building new playing fields and restaging area structures. During private parties, ranks of covered pavilions offer spaces where groups can take a break from excessive sun, rain, and snow as they prepare for the next round.
On 18 playing fields at two Wacky Warriors locations, players can storm a two-story castle, take cover behind barrels stacked in pyramids, and weave through red inflatables. Each 15-minute open-play game mixes novice and expert participants, who compete in matches such as hide-and-seek and capture the flag under the watchful eye of trained referees. Fighters take to the fields with their choice of more than 500 rental markers; spectators can monitor the action from netted areas next to the brickyard and airball fields.
Along with open play, Wacky Warriors hosts private parties and special events such as zombie-apocalypse scenarios. After bouts, players can relax in the pavilion, sign their artwork on opponents' gear, and grill up a feast in Wacky Warriors' massive barbecue pits.