Enchanted Forest Map

Enchanted Forest: How to Have the Best Time Without Spending All Your Money

Enchanted Forest Map

An outdated yet charming map of the Enchanted Forest! Image via the Enchanted Forest.

Oregon’s Enchanted Forest is a very special, deeply weird place. Created by Roger Tofte, who opened the park in 1971 after working on it practically single-handedly for seven years, the Enchanted Forest is still family owned and operated, and it looks it. This is not a dig. The description on the Google map is “enduring children’s theme park” which is perfect (but it’s not just for children).

Walking through this fairytale-themed wonderland, you can see the evolution of a singular vision: from the old, creepy animatronic dioramas of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, to the mid-sized but still very effective Ice Mountain Bobsleds roller coaster, finally arriving at the thoroughly modern (and cool!) Challenge of Mondor ride. I love it all. However, when we went last summer, I was shocked—shocked!—at how much money we spent without even thinking. So I analyzed the features of the park so I (and you) could strategize for the future!

Note: The purpose of this article is not to be as cheap as possible. I support the Enchanted Forest and want it to thrive for decades to come. This is more about allocating your funds in a thoughtful matter and prioritizing what you and your family will really enjoy. Think of this as a way for you to go to the Enchanted Forest more often, because you didn’t blow your budget the first time. So let’s get started!

Enchanted Forest

The Enchanted Forest is DELIGHTFUL. Photo via Wikipedia.

Arriving at the Enchanted Forest

You’re not getting in the door without paying admission: $11.75 for adults, $10.50 for seniors and children 3-12. This is also where you can buy ride tickets and bracelets. Danger Zone!

Big Timber Log Ride Enchanted Forest

The Big Timber Log Ride! Photo via PDXFamilyAdventures.com.

Ride Bracelets: Yea or Nay?

With ride tickets at $1 and rides ranging from two to four tickets, the unlimited ride bracelets can seem like a good deal–but check out the park and your kid’s tolerance for rides and long lines first! EF has two bracelets: a Regular Ride Bracelet for $25.95 (about 10 rides if you spent the equivalent in tickets and went on each ride once or so), and a Kiddy Ride Bracelet for $15.95 (about seven rides’ worth of tickets).

So, if your child (or, er, you) wants to go on more rides than that–or they prefer to stick to the more expensive rides (Big Timber Log Ride!), a bracelet can be a good deal. Check out the lines. Do you have enough time to get your money’s worth? Are you tall enough to go on all the rides? Go forth and spend your money! The last time we went, we bought Sid a regular bracelet without considering that 1) he doesn’t like roller coasters or log rides and 2) the line for Challenge of Mondor was really long. We would have been better off spending $8 for him to fight wizards and dragons twice.

Enchanted Forest

Good makeout place. Not in front of the kids! Photo from PDXFamilyAdventures.com.

Free Things to Do at The Enchanted Forest

If you’re on a super-limited budget (or have a goal of hitting EF every single weekend), you are in luck. There are tons of things to do at the Enchanted Forest that are free, once you pay admission:

  • Storybook Lane – The old-school part of the Enchanted Forest. Visit Snow White and see the Seven Dwarves’ mine, walk through the Little Crooked House, listen to Hansel, Gretel, and the Witch (super creepy), fall (or rather scoot) down Alice’s rabbit hole, and more. This is equal parts magical and kind of horrifying.
  • Tofteville Western Town – Includes a “town” with wooden sidewalks, Fort Fearless, the Indian Caves, and the Opera House gift shop (not free unless you shoplift–do not shoplift, there is a jail in Western Town).
  • Fantasy Fountains Water-Light Show – A water show with pretty lights set to music! Plays throughout the day. I find this very soothing.
  • Summer Comedy Theater – Each year, Roger Tofte’s daughter Susan Vaslev writes her own comedic take on a fairy tale, and high school drama kids perform it twice per day. Last year’s Emperor’s New Clothes was a crack-up (and also a musical)!
  • Smooching. I’m serious (not for children). The Indian Caves and inside the Witch’s Head are primo makeout spots!

Food: Bring Your Own

The food at the Enchanted Forest is not bad: typical plain-Jane fast food burgers, nachos, corn dogs, etc. It’s just not good. The Enchanted Forest is perfectly fine with people bringing picnics, so why not just pack a lunch and buy an ice cream cone while you’re there? You won’t be missing out on much. Just remember you’ll need to carry your stuff around—a backpack is good. This is why people keep using strollers when their children can walk just fine, by the way. I know this now.

Enchanted Forest Plate

Do I need this Enchanted Forest plate? No. Do I want it? Kinda. Photo via Etsy.

Do You Need Souvenirs?

This is a personal question that everyone must answer for themselves. I am currently in a life-or-death struggle against junk at my house, so my answer is no, I don’t need another mug or water pistol or whatever branded dollar store goods the Enchanted Forest has to offer. EF has expanded its offerings to include The Best Little Facepainting and Costume Shoppe (the name of which will never not make me laugh, hello Dolly Parton), which I think must be in response to Great Wolf Lodge’s similar offerings.

Didn’t You Forget Something?

Do not go in the Haunted House. It is super scary and I will never go in it again (the last time I was 22 and nannying two 8-year-olds and a 4-four-old, it did not go well). Stop reminding me. No I will not post a picture.

The Enchanted Forest is located in Turner, Oregon and is open from May through September: find the schedule here. Go forth and enjoy this unique, magical wonderland—wisely.

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Enchanted Forest

Happy Monday! April 25th Is the Perfect Date

Enchanted Forest

This witch straight-up terrified me as a child. The Enchanted Forest! Photo from PDXFamilyAdventures.com.

Happy Monday! Sarah took an early nap and I’m caught up/between freelance tasks, so I can actually blog today. I know, it’s so exciting! It’s frustrating, because I have so many things I’d like to be writing about, but my free time is shrinking more and more. But enough whining. Did you know that April 25th is the perfect date?

Links!

Prince

Prince gets his own section, because Prince. The legendary musician died last Thursday at age 57, and the world lost a truly talented, amazing individual. Again. There are a lot of lovely tributes online, but I prefer to post the video of Prince kicking Kim Kardashian off the stage. Not because I have anything in particular against her, but come on–if Prince asks you to dance? You dance.

But seriously–check out the video of Prince covering Radiohead’s “Creep” at Coachella eight years ago for a good ugly cry. It’s beautiful. Also, I went to karaoke with friends at the Ambassador this weekend and the songs were 85% Prince, and we have some very enthusiastic–and talented–local singers.

Whoa. Did you click the Ambassador link above? I had no idea their website was so . . . something. Wow.

Comics, Entertainment, General Nerdery

The official full cast list of the new Twin Peaks is here! Quick thoughts: I’m intrigued by Alicia Witt returning (as Donna Hayward’s little sister, a bit part in the original), and thrilled that David Duchovny’s Denise will appear! Also . . . Eddie Vedder? Uh, okay.

Also, the shortlist for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids’ Comics is up on The Beat.

In local Portland nerdery, now’s your chance to suggest a panel for the 2016 Rose City Comic ConYou have the power!

Also, my crafty geeks: make sure turn in your application for GeekCraft Expo PDX by 4/30: this Saturday! Dooooo it.

In “How did I not already know this?” news, J. Rachel Edidin opened my eyes to the fact that Oregon’s weird/cool/creepy/amazeballs theme park, the Enchanted Forest, is open on weekends this month. I will be writing more on this subject soon!

While speaking of J. Rachel Edidin, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that the latest episode of Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men is live, and it covers the debut of Inferno and the X-Terminators, and I must listen right now.

But first, one more video! If I had enough hair, I would try this braided chignon tutorial by Jennifer L. Scott:

So I bid you a fond farewell–for now! How did you honor Prince this past weekend, dear readers? Do you have any comics to recommend? Post below!