Here’s Your Chance to Kill Zombies

Navigate through a mock-city landscape as the undead chase after you. Don’t worry, you get a gun.

Everyone makes haunted houses for Halloween, so the owners of Stronghold Airsoft in Abington decided to take a different approach to the scary season, and turn their 25,000-square-foot facility into an interactive zombie apocalypse scenario where survivors shoot their way through an intense course in order to survive.

The guns aren’t real, and neither are the zombies, but Patrick Tarmey, who created the Abington Zombie Apocalypse event, which runs through October 30, insists it’s about the most realistic thing there is without actually experiencing a run-in with the undead. “It’s such an intense environment. So many things are happening all at once. You have sound going, there are lights, and all the zombies are coming after you,” he said.

Tarmey runs Stronghold Airsoft, an indoor space complete with a layout filled with partitions, cars, and small-scale building structures. For the first-time ever, he has turned the site into a post-apocalyptic site, filling it with more than 40 zombie actors, and placing airsoft guns into the hands of attendees to fight the undead. All of the guns are calibrated to ensure the safety of actors and guests, he said.

“It’s like a real-life ‘Call of Duty,’ but with zombies,” said Tarmey, but the zombies won’t actually take bites from participants, and the guns don’t shoot actual projectiles—they just make loud noises and the actors play along to enhance the experience. “The gun dry-fires and makes loud noises, and all the zombies are actors, so they act the same way as if you were to shoot someone. They die a very dramatic zombie death.”

When Stronghold Airsoft isn’t a place for hunting the undead, it serves as the largest airsoft facility in the state, where customers take part in strategic team games that involve firing non-metallic BB-sized bullets at each other while wearing protective gear. The games are often overseen by referees, and resemble typical paintball gun battles.

But Tarmey said for this particular project this Halloween season he wanted to separate his daily business from the zombie experience, so he created an additional website to expand his audience. “I think zombies are a big trend right now. Obviously ‘The Walking Dead’ [show] is a huge phenomenon,” he said. “My approach to business is to always think ‘what can I do that’s entertaining, combined with something extreme, and top it off with something that’s unique?’ Zombies are a great thing, but we can’t have people just walk though and get scared. You have to do something different. We are letting people have this feeling that they can shoot what’s coming at them, and let them interact with the environment and let their minds go.”

If all goes according to plan, Tarmey will continue the trend each season, and will expand the adventure, spilling into the outdoors, once he acquires the space surrounding the facility.

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  • http://BestZombieGifts.com/ Vincent Ward

    Its awesome.

  • Danielle Keefe

    i can’t wait to do this!!!!!

  • Peter

    I went to this last weekend. Worst experience ever and such a rip off. I waited in line for 3 hours and the entire course only took 10 min. The course was quick and led by a guide… barely any “zombies” and the ones that were there were tired and lame. I had high expectations for this, mostly because it is a unique concept and could have been really great. The people that own the Airsoft company (where it was held) charged way too much money and promised VIP ticket holders they could skip the line… FALSE. 3 hours later with a VIP ticket and I was still on line.

  • Lisa Gibbons

    I went to this last night and it was a horrible experience. Website states it opens at 7:30 we got there at 7:45 waited for 3 hours moved 100 ft and they were using cars as barriers for the lines so people wouldn’t cut which they where. WE finally left after a 3 hour wait in the so called VIP line that moves 6 times faster according to them I bought a groupon to assure i would be rushed to the front yeah right that didn’t happen. People in the regular line got right through by the time we bailed there was no one else left in the regular line only so called VIP line which was still another 3-4 wait. They also shorten the experience from 15 min to 5 min without discounting any prices. And no crowd control no one to speak to about where to go. There was a drunk belligerent woman cutting, pushing and shoving people, she started a fight with staff and they had to mace her and her husband. The whole experience was awful and also extermly false advertised. Whoever came up with this business plan didnt think it through very well.

  • Connor

    The wait time was ridiculously bad. But the actual event was really fun.

  • John

    The Wipeout/Gravity course has since been closed and now it is known as Stronghold Airsoft under the same management. I’ll give you the short version:

    The issue is that many friends and I were convinced by the owner to pool our purchases of passes together so that we could perhaps take advantage of a private party at the wipeout course. Each time we showed up the course was incomplete and we were advised to check back later. Eventually, we came to see if it was done and one day it was completely shut down. I reached out to the owner for a refund and he instructed me to provide my receipt and he would issue a check. His requested documentation plus e-mail chain from the owner was provided within 24 hours. When no check arrived I inquired again and no one would return my calls or my e-mails. Finally, I was able to catch someone on the phone and they promised to have a check issues with their month end batch process. Months had come and gone and no check. I again have been trying to reach out to them and no response whatsoever. Their phones have been down for months so you can’t call them. They won’t give you the phone number for the owner. They also won’t respond to e-mails. I’ve also placed a tracker on the emails to see if they’ve been read and each has been opened but not responded to. The customer service in this instance is terrible, uncooperative and disrespectful. If you never have an issue with them you’ll be fine as my initial interactions with the staff and the owner were pleasant but as soon as I ask for a refund I’m turned away and ignored.

    Just be careful everyone.

  • topwrenchauto@aol.com

    This is no where near as cool as it looks. The effects are shoddy and the actors use the game format as an opportunity to take cheap shots at the clientele. The actors who play the part of the “zombies” are volunteers and the venue has no control over their actions. Expect to be tripped, injured and generally abused. Their “special effects” consist of blinding strobe lights in a dark room. That’s about it. After they blind you, some of the thugs that volunteer as “zombies” use the cover of darkness to literally bully the customers, causing serious injury. It’s not fun and it’s not worth the money. In the words of my son’s 16 year old friend, “it looks like they built it yesterday, so they could beat you up and take your money”. Being physically abused by a couple of cowards in make up, is not entertainment. I will never bring my kids here again. They deserve to have their license pulled by the board of health.