Evermore: Utah's New Fantasy Theme Park Adds Summer Event
An immersive experience in a fantasy theme park: that's Evermore Park, located 30-miles from Salt Lake City, Utah. Themed like a European village, the park has buildings, characters, and an “epic story” as the website describes it, one that changes seasonally. Guests are invited to interact with a wide range of characters, go on quests, and simply become a part of the Evermore world.
The idea of a theme park with an immersive performative component may not be new, but having that component be the main feature of the park definitely is. Costumed actors and performers along with special effects and high tech touches, are the attractions of this Gothic village that opened last September. The park offers seasonal story lines throughout the year.
Visitors to the park can decide for themselves if they want to simply explore their highly-detailed surroundings, and observe the characters; or interact with them and embark on a series of quests.
The quests include a range of tasks and experiences given to participants by elves and ghosts, vampires, and humans. Whether helping a treasure seeker find a cure for a mysterious disease or attempting archery, there are unique experiences for every attendee. The details and technology are designed to involve even the most passive park-goers, from a towering 15-foot menacing Druid devil-god to a tent city boasting gypsy fortune tellers and a zany inventor. Areas within the park include an old mill, a graveyard, catacombs, and a cathedral.
This sort of interaction is part and parcel of Disney's new Star Wars-themed Galaxy's Edge; what makes this park unique is the seasonal approach to creating an immersive experience. Each season is tied to a festival with two main elements, one theatrical and one where guests roam the park as at traditional theme parks. In the theatrical portion, guests experience an immersive story full of high-end tech and visual effects across the fifteen-acre park.
The opening storyline, Lore, was supernatural in theme, fitting the Halloween season, and filled with glowing pumpkins and ominous scarecrows. In the winter, Aurora played more as a winter jubilee, replete with holiday decorations that fit a Victorian theme; the upcoming Mythos is rooted in Norse mythology and devoted to dragons.
In each different scenario, a mix of live actors, puppets, and creature effects reside in the park. Lore offered two separate theatrical events, with The Magical World of Lore taking place from 5 to 7 p.m. for all ages, featuring a pumpkin-fest vibe. Later in the evening, The Cursed World of Lore offered up a darker story of old Celtic heritage with haunting supernatural elements.
CEO and founder Ken Bretschneider first announced the park at the Salt Lake Comicon in the fall of 2013. It was the founder's childhood dream to create this type of interactive adventure.
Five years later, with the park's opening, its appeal is designed to be two-fold: to be both accessible and welcoming to the general public and those in the role-play community. Among the exhibits are an exotic animals' area, a central stage area for performances, and interactive exhibitions such as archery and axe throwing. Concession foods, like the performances, are tied to the season, with fall fare including hot cocoa and caramel apples.
“Mythos” will add a fresh storyline to the park, with over 70 characters interacting with visitors and an enchanted festival that celebrates the “wondrous grace of dragons.” It's loosely based on a mix of mythologies with quest-centric storylines, according to chief creative officer Josh Shipley. Like winter's Dickensian Christmas event Aurora, it will feature a single performative engagement.
With Mythos, Caderyn, the King of the Fairies and his subjects are celebrating; music fills the air where dwarfs reside, goblins dance, and World Walkers seek to extend their ranks. Guests may choose to join dragon trainers, hunters, knights, townsfolk, or elf rangers, all partaking in summer-welcoming revelry.
Shipley says the park overall draws together real life experiences, fantasy elements, and the interactive quests of video games. The park's tech infrastructure supports the authentic-looking European architecture, detailed props, and character costumes. There are no thrill rides at the park; rather the thrills of Evermore come from the interaction with its characters and sets.
Admission to the park includes access to the entire venue and the ability to take up a quest. Each quest is revealed by talking to the different Evermore characters, who are identifiable not only by their costumes – as guests are allowed to come in costumes themselves – but by a gold medallion around their neck. Choose to brave the catacombs or help a barmaid find a missing necklace, engage in games of skill or solve a mystery: the options are many.
The park is primarily open in the evenings during each of its three thematic seasons; between them, hours vary but the park may be open during the day as well. Two themed parties are planned during these down-times for the park's performances, a Victorian Masquerade and a Ghost Pirate Adventure.
With the about-to-open Mythos, hours are 6 to 10 p.m.Mondays and Thursdays; 6 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Adult tickets are available for those age 15 and up for $14-$29 depending upon the day of the week; for children ages 6 to 14, the pricing is $9 to $16. Mythos opens Memorial Day weekend and runs through mid-August.