Review: Fun Frights at Millers Thrillers

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Millers Thrillers offers fun frights for your family with its Zombie Paintball Hayride and Haunted Woods Attractions.

There’s a bevy of haunted attractions around Middle Tennessee for the Halloween season, but none quite as fun and family friendly as Millers Thrillers.

Located in Columbia, Millers Thrillers offers two popular attractions on its large property — the Zombie Paintball Hayride and Haunted Woods.

Four of my family made the trek on a recent Friday night to check it out as we’re always up for a good scare, and the idea of shooting zombies with paintball guns rates high on our fun factor.

We started with the Zombie Paintball Hayride where 20 people in two teams of 10 share a large hayride wagon pulled by a massive Army truck. Each team occupies one side of the wagon, facing out with paintball guns mounted on the rail. We sprung for the extra paintballs — you can get 75 more for an extra $10, and it’s worth it for the additional ammo — and once both teams are given instruction, away you go! There’s one brief stop for a quick target practice round, but don’t blow too many of your paintballs here because there are lots of zombies to fire at as your wagon’s pulled through several twists and turns during the mission. Along the way, the zombies present different challenges for you. Several are simply running around and approach the wagon for easier aim, but others make their ominous presence known by way of a zip line, a giant swing overhead and you’ll find one bouncing up and down on a trampoline. If your aim’s not so great, don’t worry. It’s still a fun trip, and you’ll make up for it when going through the barn where there’s a zombie trapped for you to shoot at close range! The paintball hayride is fun for all ages of kids, so if you’ve got younger ones in your family, ages 5 and older can certainly enjoy this.

After our fun paintball excursion, we took a break at the Entertainment Zone that resides between the entrances to both attractions. There’s a giant fire pit for warming up on a crisp autumn evening and there are lots of hay bales to rest on while taking in a fun show. The energetic, friendly zombie Beardsley Grimbeard hosts the zone that features an illuminated stage where you can see a zombie drumline performance, light shows, stilt walkers and more. We really enjoyed the fire performers, and a whole horde of kids had fun joining Beardsley up front by the stage for an interactive dance routine.

We eagerly made our way to the Haunted Woods entrance, and this part of the attraction is definitely not for little kids. Ages 10 and older are good to go here, and some 8- and 9-year-olds can most likely handle it — just know your child’s sensitivities before entering any haunted attraction.

The Haunted Woods is one of the best I’ve experienced. The layout of this outdoor haunt features lots of dark twists and turns, taking you through heavily wooded areas, a swamp and through maze structures along the “mining trails” of the storyline. Millers Thrillers does a great job of knowing how to play on natural human fears without resorting to demonic characters and lots of blood and guts often seen at other haunts. You’ll encounter a hefty amount of creepers along the way who’ll scare you silly, so don’t worry! Several areas feature low visibility with dense fog and others utilizing strobe lights to heighten the thrills. The new Clown 3D area this year will twist your mind especially if you already have clown fear. Pick up a pair of 3D glasses before entering this area toward the end of the excursion, and keep your guard up because you never know who or what might jump out at you!

The Haunted Woods is a ton of fun, and it’s a nice, lengthy haunt. It took the four of us a solid 35 minutes to get through it.

Each of the attractions costs $20, or you can do the combo with both the Zombie Paintball Hayride and Haunted Woods for $30. You can also skip the lines by purchasing a Slash Pass to get you up front for an extra $10 per attraction. If you get there at a later time of night, you’ll definitely want the Slash Passes for both attractions, but if you get there right before Millers Thrillers opens and can get at the front of the ticket line, just buy one Slash Pass for the Haunted Woods and start with the hayride (Hint: if you buy your tickets online, you’ll get to skip the ticket line at the main entrance). The line for the Haunted Woods was extremely long by the time we were done with the hayride, but our Slash Passes got us in ahead of the rest. Even if you don’t spring for the Slash Pass option, never fear. The wait is worth the experience you’ll get.

You can also get tickets for just the Entertainment Zone — they’re $5 per person (the zone is free with the other tickets).

And one word of advice: be sure to bring a small flashlight or have your cell phone with you if it has a flashlight function. You’ll need it if you have to use the restroom. There are a few port-o-potties on the property, but they’re dark inside at night, so you’ll want to have a light with you.

Millers Thrillers is open from 7 – 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Halloween Night (Oct. 31.). It is located at 1431 Carters Creek Pike, Columbia. Learn more at

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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