Zoombezi Bay Review: Ranking the Haunted Houses

The Columbus Zoo’s Zoombezi Bay waterpark has been transformed into ZOMBIEzi Bay, central Ohio’s newest and most expansive Halloween event. If you’ve got it – haunt it! We were invited to a preview to get a sneak peek of all the scares to be had and to give us pumpkin to talk about.

Right off the bat I could tell it was going to be a great event – I could just feel it in my bones.

A brief ribbon cutting ceremony got the party startled.

Ghouls just want to have fun

As part of the preview event, we got a behind the screams look at the Catacombs haunted house in the daylight. It was cool seeing all the hidden nooks and crannies the scare actors can hide before they scare the crap out of you. Amazing how different the house looks in daylight versus darkness.

Please note, we had permission to film during the preview. Pictures and video are not allowed in the houses.

Ranking the Zombiezi Bay Haunted Houses and Scare Zones

There are two scare zones and four haunted houses at Zombiezi Bay. Here’s my ranking of them all, based on best scares and effects. If you only have limited time at the event, I suggest starting with the houses at the top of this list.

6. Decomposed is the closest scare zone to the park entrance and will be sure to get you warmed up for the coming scares.

5. Photosynthesis will have to be braved if you want to go on any of the six amusement rides.  Dead plants come to life to remind you to “Water your plants!”

This thing makes my skin crawl

Takes a lot of guts to not go with just a basic skeleton

4. Catacombs – Catacombs is an open air haunted house themed to the realm of the undead. Seems to be one of the longer houses and has some good animatronics. Maybe it’s lower in my rankings because I walked through it in daylight so I knew what to expect.

Creepin’ it real

3. Sinister Sideshow is your classic clown/circus themed haunt where you don 3D glasses to make the journey even more disorienting. Located inside a giant temporary tent structure, this haunted house had the single best scare that made me jump. I won’t spoil where or what it is but it will make your head roll.

How you build a haunted house in a waterpark

2. Pleasant Screams is themed to a mysterious research facility, known as Pleasant Dreams Laboratory, involved in some kind of sleep study. I thought this haunted house (which takes you through three picnic shelters) was the most complete theme and had the best scare actors of any of the houses.

She’s just not my blood type.

1 Eternal Darkness was by far my favorite haunted house at Zombiezi Bay. The name is very fitting as the beginning of the house is in nearly complete darkness. Overall I thought it had the best effects and biggest variety of scares. Definitely the “scariest” of all the houses in my opinion.

Amusement Rides

Zombiezi Bay is the only haunt in central Ohio offering amusement rides:

  • Sea Dragon classic wooden roller coaster
  • Falcon Fall, a 50-foot drop tower
  • Havoc bumper cars
  • Sugar Glider paratrooper ride
  • Safari Stampede Matterhorn ride
  • Dust Devil scrambler

It was a brew-tiful evening

Brews and Bites

If scares or thrills aren’t really your thing then go for the food! Featuring more than 60 craft beers, ciders, and hard seltzers from 25 different breweries, as well as 20 delicious food items to try, the Brews and Bites Craft Beer & Food Festival has something for everyone.

Man, I could just goblin up all this delicious looking food.

“Bone appetit!”

The beverage collection alone is quite impressive!

Trick or treat yo’ self.

Attention to Detail

For a first year haunt, the attention to detail was pleasantly surprising.

I liked seeing all the Easter eggs and references to former attractions in the graveyard.

Love the name of the gift store and photo op:

Doompass is a virtual ride reservation system that holds your place in line electronically, so you can spend more time having fun and less time waiting for the haunted houses.

Seriously, they killed it with this. Shout out to all the scare actors, you really make the event what it is. Every single person was giving it their all to try to scare me to death!

Zombiezi Bay Grand Opening

See some of the highlights of the grand opening event by witching the video below.

The terrifying fun began on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 and continues to run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings through Sunday, October 31, plus Thursday evenings on October 14, 21, and 28. Hours are 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays, and 6 p.m. – 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Coaster enthusiasts should note Tidal Twist, the new Zamperla spinning coaster that opened earlier this summer, is not included in admission to ZOMBIEzi Bay.

zombiezi bay review

That’s a wrap. I hope you found all my Halloween puns to be very humerus.

Fangs for the memories to the Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay for inviting us out to preview Zombiezi Bay!

For more information, visit the official site: https://zombiezibay.columbuszoo.org/

Have you had the opportunity to try Zombiezi Bay? What’s your favorite part of the event? Let us know in the comments below.