Built and operated by the Nickels family beginning in 1977, the three-story attraction utilized an existing water ride in its foundation. The first level of the castle was essentially a dungeon moat ride which had initially been an ‘old mill ride’ going back to 1919! Upon the moat, a train of boats rode a water current across a drawbridge which led to the mouth of a giant skull.
An alternate walking tour brought one into the upper levels of the castle where its dedicated performers put the scare-act on timorous trespassers amid spooky props, antiques and eerie rooms filled with gruesome displays, ghastly animatronic figures and other cleverly macabre illusions.
One can clearly recall the castle’s frightening invitation as they roamed the boardwalk and heard the opening notes of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor looped continuously and blasting from a speaker system. Even the horseshoe crabs on the sand below got goosebumps!
It was the illustrious count himself, however, who would personally beckon patrons to step inside his majestic stone home as he approached through double doors and moved his mechanical head and arms back and forth.
“Meet my friends— Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Hunchback and Phantom of the Opera... Join us, we’d love to have you... for dinner!”
Unfortunately, the feast of fun and magic ended suddenly in January of 2002 when two youths set a fire resulting in Castle Dracula being burned down. Its impressive legacy and catacombs of memories will nevertheless always remain for the millions who accepted Dracula’s invitation to that spooky ride in the dark.