Visibility / Location:
Santa Fe Nursery is located directly off of Crete Monee Road about two miles east from Monee (located on IL-50, as well as I-57), with ample, well lit signage right next to the entrance. The road is currently under construction, but there is a temporary traffic light right in front of the parking lot, which definitely adds to the visibility. The parking lot is hard-pack gravel, and is large enough to accommodate at least fifty vehicles, with more parking available if needed in a nearby grassy lawn. The walking-entrance from the parking lot is also very well lit, leading into the main building of the nursery, where landscaping equipment and supplies are normally sold. The cashier is inside the main building, manned by a couple of friendly ladies and a creepy animatronic Demon Doll that had most of my attention. Undead Acres accepts cash and major credit/debit cards. They offer package deals on their entertainment, as well as a la carte and group rates.
Undead Acres offers a variety of leisurely entertainment for folks waiting for their group to be called to zombie paintball or a tour down the Haunted Trail; the atmosphere reminded me of a country hang-out, with a paintball shooting-gallery housed in a rounded tractor shed, air corn canons with targets to hit (both for small ammo fees), and a concession stand selling the basics and some extras (walking tacos are a pinnacle of modern invention). Feel free to huddle around the fire pit on comfortable stump stools and benches, or feed Petunia and Lily (the nursery's mascot goats, who are very friendly, especially if you have food), or take advantage of the photo-op stations around the wide open waiting area. There are port-a-johns on site as well, and a PA system playing a mix of classic rock and- a staple of rural Illinois- country music.
Zombie Paintball Safari: $22 per person, includes 80 paintballs. Extra paintballs are $5 a hopper.
Haunted Trail: $12 per person.
Shooting Gallery: $5 for 80 paintballs
Corn Canons: $1 for two shots
Combo packages are available for better rates.
We arrived right at opening time, and after giving our tickets to a very friendly employee who asked for our Zombie Hunting team name (we went with Addams Family), asked us to wait approximately ten minutes while they finished getting everything ready. We ended up waiting closer to twenty minutes, but were plenty entertained in the waiting area with all the things to do. They called our safari group and piled us into an open-air trailer behind a tractor, where an employee explained the rules for the safari and prepared our truck-mounted guns. The rules took five minutes, with the actual safari lasting ten minutes.
The Haunted Trail was six and a half minutes from start to finish.
The shooting gallery and corn canons are there for as long as you want/have budget for.
LPR Score = 1.523
LPR stands for Length/Price Ratio. It represents perceived value of an event, by comparing length vs price of admission. Higher numbers represent more value per dollar. Actual quality and/or entertainment value of an event are not factors in this calculation. Click Here to see how this event compares to others visited this year by the staff of HauntedIllinois.com.
Zombie Paintball Safari: Low - High Fun Factor
Haunted Trail: Medium
Zombie paintball is basically a hayride through the grounds, controlled by a tractor driver. There is only one tractor (that I saw), so keeping the line moving is fairly simple.
The Haunted Trail is a guided tour- each group is lead through the trail by an employee, so groups rarely intersect. We went at our own pace, and were not interrupted by any other groups.
Zombie Paintball Safari: This was my first experience with the ever-popular zombie hunt attractions showing up at Haunts across the country. Undead Acres seems to have fashioned their own trailer rig, consisting of a flatbed with one bench running the length in the middle, metal railings on which one side were mounted all the paintball guns, and a set of blue floodlights perched a good ten feet above all the 'shooters' to give light to the target area. After listening to the rules, the employees helped each shooter by removing the barrel tag from each gun and filling their hopper with however many paintballs they had purchased, and made an announcement that if anyone wanted to buy more, they could purchase another hopper and refill on the run. The guns were wired into a pressurized airline in the railing and could all be turned off and on by a valve controlled by the guide employee. The tractor carried us into the nursery grounds, blasting classic rock as a sound track to our adventure, and brought us to various 'stages' where actors in full impact protection costumes and masks charged the tractor and the shooters. Each actor took probably twenty or thirty paintballs to their person before 'going down'. Only when all the zombies in the stage were 'down' did the tractor move onto the next stage (there were five in all). When we approached the final stage- a large cemetery scene with several zombies- the guide told us to make sure we use all our ammo because 'the swarm was thick' in that area, and they were hard to kill. It was a clever way to make sure everyone used all the ammo they paid for, and the zombies also knew to 'keep coming' until no more shots were left. Overall, I had a blast; the employees had a lot of fun creating the 'atmosphere' of an actual zombie apocalypse where going on corpse safaris was a popular pastime. I would recommend it for everyone over 10.
The Haunted Trail began with a happy-go-lucky guide with his lantern taking our tiny group through an open-air trail maze, the path of which was always lit by a rope-light- a good feature for folks like me who have a lot of trouble seeing dark paths. The guide stayed in character the whole time, explaining the two standard rules (no flash photography and the no-touch law). The trail lead to 'stages' much like rooms in an indoor attractions, complete with strobe or scary lighting, props, and one or two costumed actors per stage. There was no set theme to the trail (stages included a hospital theme, a chapel, a 'swamp', which was a corridor filled with smoke and blinding light, a mannequin hallway, and a clown room) with various scary decorations and props and jump-scares along the way. The actors were all very enthusiastic and in character, though the costumes and masks were obviously low-budget (and I didn't see a single actor with make-up). All in all, the haunted trail seemed like a side-attraction to the zombie paintball, but was fairly entertaining. I rated the scare factor a medium for the visibility, level of gore in the props/decorations, and the jump scares, but I'd say the trail is suitable for folks 12 and over. Folks can also request the trail be 'lightened up' a little for younger patrons.
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