The Haunted Hydro – Full Review

The Haunted Hydro is a Haunted Attraction located in Fremont, OH.

1333 Tiffin Street, Fremont, OH 43420
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Haunt Type(s):

Escape RoomHaunted House


The Haunted Hydro Facebook PageThe Haunted Hydro WebsiteThe Haunted Hydro Twitter PageThe Haunted Hydro on Instagram


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Paid Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, You may be touched, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 23, 2020 by Team Cleaverland.

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Final Score: 8.43

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The madcap persona both behind and in front of The Haunted Hydro is ‘Crazy’ Bob Turner, an institution on the Ohio haunt scene. Owner, founder, spokesman, mascot, and the face of the franchise, if you will–in the ads, on their website, and acting as your doorman for the first attraction.

The crazed carnival barker is quick with the quips, not above some suggestive repartee. He’ll come in close (don’t worry, he’s got a shield over his face and gloves over the hands) for a confidential aside or innocent question, then hit you with a quick shout startle …multiple times, and getcha every time, courtesy of decades-honed perfect timing. The look (see Costuming and photo sections), the live-wire energy, the snappy patter, the showmanship, the quirky behavioral tics suggest a mix of Willy Wonka, P.T. Barnum, the Wizard of Oz, and Harpo Marx.

The crazy one’s spirit and ethos seem to flow throughout and infuse the whole Hydro with an appealing sense of carnie-style fun underpinned by notes of danger and menace. Before he drew back the curtain to usher us into his show, the mischievous master of ceremonies said something to the effect that the Hydro had been around for 31 years, so they must be doing something right. Well said Bob, and we couldn’t agree more!

This year’s version of The Haunted Hydro contained two attractions under the tagline ‘The Curse or the Cure’: the Curzed Woodz (an outdoor trail) and The Cure Family’s Bizarre Bazaar (inside the haunt’s namesake, a former hydroelectric power plant ), while in between these you can take in two trailers that house a museum of memorabilia and a gallery of photos, both of which are thoroughly awesome (more on these in the last section). Let’s take a closer look!

Curzed Woodz: 8.26
Bizarre Bazaar: 8.6

Cast: 8.29

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Many haunts have reported difficulties getting and keeping cast members this season, for obvious reasons. At the Hydro, however, we encountered what seemed to be a full complement for their space.

It was a high energy group that brought to bear some improvisational chops, with an inspiring generational mix of veterans and younger folks. Overall they were quite good performers, keeping the fun and surprises going in interesting ways. Most of them gave the impression of fully inhabiting their characters, with the sense that they had spent some time considering backstories and such.

On the trail, shout-outs to the beaked bird guy who impressed with his croaky voice, as well as the swarm of hellbillies; in the bazaar, to the creepy crawler who glided over rocks (ouch!), the loopy dude who recited twisted nursery rhymes, and the padded cell patient who was seeing an invisible threat in the corner. Well done, all!

Curzed Woodz: 7.92
Bizarre Bazaar: 8.66

Costuming: 8.33

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There was a mix between basic corpse or skull white with some detailing, and more elaborate set-ups with facial applications and such. We did not see a lot of masks, but the ones that were there were good. In general, they were nicely done and in keeping with the general high quality of the rest of the place.

It was a similar situation with the costumes. Overall they were complete, with few if any gaffes like sneakers. Some were highly detailed and others not, as needed for each case.

Crazy Bob was as always nattily attired from head to toe, with his carnie huckster costume: a bloody forehead squiggle (gunshot wound?), bowler, bowtie, frilly shirt, plaid jacket, etc.

Curzed Woodz: 8.2
Bizarre Bazaar: 8.46

Customer Service: 9.41

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The Haunted Hydro is in Fremont, located in the northwest sector of Ohio about equidistant between Toledo and Sandusky (home of mega amusement park Cedar Point). It’s easy enough to find with GPS, with visible signage on the way in.

Free parking is on the grass. Our friendly parking attendant got the visit off to a good start by chatting us up with tales of ghostly hauntings inside the building. A pair of kids can be heard playing in a certain area, there’s a patch of ground that’s always muddy rain or shine, and a phantom tapper can be heard knocking on the walls in the wee hours until it’s acknowledged. Must be a former dentist because it always happens around 2:30. Tooth-hurty, get it? Sorry…

The trail is outside, of course, so as always watch your footing, though we had no problems there. Ditto for open-air parts of the powerhouse structure where the ground is open to the elements. Near the end, there are some sections of the flooring that slope up at a steep angle, which caused a stumble for one of us. Just watch where you’re going, which is always good advice for any attraction. Just in case, there’s an EMT on-site.

As for COVID, the Hydro has its act together. Precautions include temp checks, sanitizer, masks required, and a system of timed tickets with limited capacity and virtual queue/wait elsewhere until messaged. Buy tickets online through HauntPay.

The Hydro maintains an outstanding website that holds a ton of content. There’s also an ample social media presence. This is as you’d expect from a long-lived haunt that’s recognized as being an involved leader in its local community and in the haunt community.

Atmosphere: 9.08

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The final approach into the attraction revealed the Hydro itself, a hulking concrete structure bathed in multi-color floodlights. The hauntmosphere was reinforced by hearses at the entrance, and giant skulls and monster heads peeking over walls.

The very fine hub featured photo opps, a merch table, food vendor, roaming actors, and three escape rooms. We enjoyed delicious fries from the food vendor, and noted a number of unusual items besides the usual cheesesteaks, hot dogs, etc.; such as pork tenderloin and breaded veal sandwiches. Interesting comestibles!

All in all, the Hydro greatly succeeded in providing a great deal of outstanding atmosphere.

Special Effects: 8.14

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We were guided along the trail by an intriguing blend of materials and environments including chain link fencing and sturdy wood walls and structures like shotgun shacks. A large hellbilly village section featured a lovingly curated collection of rustic and decrepit objects. Even a dusty old ATV, which the actor nearby said was not for sale as he noticed us looking at it!

As with many haunts that inhabit an authentic old building, the power plant itself provided a potent portion of atmosphere. From the distressed, dingy walls to giant chains hanging from the ceiling and the massive open entryways that dwarfed us, the setting was disquietingly dilapidated in an oppressively industrial sort of way.

There was plenty to look at, like lots of puppets, props of all kinds, and artwork. Most everything looked handmade or found. Some of the stuff was pretty disturbing, such as a baby doll hanging from a noose and a picture of a dog lapping up the pool of blood running from its apparently murdered owner.

The Hydro displayed some great sets, including a skeleton band room, a jungle room, a medical exam room with a two-headed patient puppet, the entire ending carnival area that even had a broken down merry-go-round, and…a Coyote Ugly room?!? Yes, this was entirely unique. We’re sure we’ve never before seen a set based on the 2000 Piper Perabo movie about singing & dancing bartenders. We’re not sure whether to be upset or glad that the actor in the room didn’t get up on the bartop or twirl on the pole.

Different textures were incorporated, including, surprisingly enough, for our feet. We walked over concrete, rocks, a wooden board set over a huge grate, and springy floor cushions in the padded cell room.

Lighting was used very effectively. The freaky mirrored wall maze with twinkling, spinning red and green lights made us totally disoriented. The best part of the soundtrack was a thoroughly unique application used in the first part of the building. An understated British gentleman provided a documentary-style voiceover describing each room we were in. His pleasant, calm tones contrasted beautifully with the weirdness on display.

Curzed Woodz: 7.94
Bizarre Bazaar: 8.34

Theme: 8.68

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The Curzed Woods was just that: a walk through some weird woods with a hellbilly village and strange woodland creatures like the bird guy. Because of violent storms earlier in the night, the cemetery set was closed since it is next to the river, which was running high.

Officially titled ‘The Cure Family Sideshow Presents the Bizarre Bazaar inside the Hydro Haunted House,’ and presented as a series of circus sideshow-like exhibits, the second attraction presented some great theming starting with the clown puppet in the very first room, the soundtrack mentioned in the Special Events section, and the final carnival area, which seems to be the very embodiment of the Hydro brand.

Curzed Woodz: 8.5
Bizarre Bazaar: 8.86

Scare Factor: 7.53

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Some of the actors were seemingly more interested in striking up a conversation than spooking, but most of them were highly entertaining, and the approach certainly resonated with the spirit of the place.

That said, we still found multiple scares to be had. The bird beak guy startled us and freaked us out with his voice, and the creepy crawler creeped us out. Many of the trail’s hellbillies had great hiding spots and seemed to materialize out of nowhere; likewise the carnie clowns.

And finally, as mentioned under Special Effects and Customer Service, the structure itself was quite spooky with a creepy vibe. We could definitely start to believe some paranormal hijinx happens in there!

Curzed Woodz: 7.24
Bizarre Bazaar: 7.81

Entertainment & Value: 8.71

How Did We Get This Score?

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We walked the trail in 8 minutes, and the bazaar took us 18 minutes, for a total of 26 minutes. General admission is $25, or you can get a combo that adds on one of the three escape rooms for an extra $5 ($30 total). Front of the Line VIP pass is an extra $10. Also, group tickets are $22 for 10 or more (must be purchased together online).

So, the Hydro had an MPD (minutes per dollar ratio) of just over 1 (1.04). This is around the minimum we want to see, however, keep in mind that the length and MPD would have been higher on a normal night when the river-adjacent section had not been shut down by storms.

As it was, we were quite satisfied with the whole experience. It was a lot of fun, and we haven’t even mentioned some exceptional value-added entertainment housed in the two trailers that separate the two attractions. Visitors are offered the chance to check out these trailers for any length of time. We spent 10 minutes in the museum trailer and 5 in the gallery trailer, though we could easily have taken double that.

The museum trailer contained a multitude of props, ads, newspaper articles, photos, merchandise, and much more from the Hydro’s 30+ years of haunting. Fascinating and incredibly cool!

The gallery trailer was filled with portraits from another unique aspect of the Hydro. They host a monthly photoshoot where photographers, models, haunt actors, and sometimes even spectators can congregate for photo sessions throughout the haunt and its riverside environs. See the ‘Haunted Hydro Group Photo Shoots’ Facebook page for details and to sign up.

The attractions are great creepy fun, there’s plenty else to do and it’s a great time for all… so head to the Hydro for a haunting good time!

Curzed Woods: 8.63
Bizarre Bazaar: 8.78

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 10 out of 10

John Smith – 10/10October 13, 2017
On Friday the 13th a couple had their wedding/reception at The Haunted Hydro, and we’re the first …show more groups to go through the haunt in the blackout night that they had since it was Friday the 13th. You walk through the gate and your greeted immediately by characters to give you a little something… then ask yourself Hydro, or Woods? Both is the best answer! While waiting in line there are characters going all throughout the courtyard and que line. Before the Woods at the door you’ll have someone greet you and you’ll only want to go in more. Story goes there was an infection breakout in the woods and now it’s inhabited by grotesque hillbillys, awefull creatures, and clowns (duh). Then There’s the Hydro. You’re greeted at the front door by Crazy Bob himself the man who has owned The Haunted Hyodro for almost 30 years! And has greeted every visitor to ever go through. After 30 years The Hydro is one of the oldest Hanuts in Ohio. We’re tou can see all it’s history in their mobile museum! In the Hydro they’ve barricaded themseves inside to keep out the infected ones from the woods. There’s crazies, Doctors, and others of all types there to make sure you’re safe enough to live. In the courtyard you have a pick from three escape rooms and their souvenir and gift shop! The Haunted Hydro is really one of a kind with its ever changing layout and theming that’s never the same year after year. They’re the only haunt I know of that has an interactive story for guests to follow that’s different every season, along with the theming and look to go with it. It’s visit you have to make every year of you can to see how it changes it’s never the same and is a must stop for true haunt finatics!

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Past Awards

2020 Awards

Best Historical Extra (Given by: Team Cleaverland)

Most Unique Timing (Given by: Team Cleaverland)

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