OK this has been a long time coming but I’m finally writing up my thoughts on the new Evermore park in Pleasant Grove (aka.. my back yard) We went for the Fall experience of “Lore” and came away happy but somewhat let down by the mass of crowds we encountered the Monday before Halloween as well as how complicated the process seemed to be. Let’s just say it wasn’t a place for introverts. We mostly just walked around admiring the building/garden details, character costumes, and we did dabble in some ax throwing. (There was archery as well but the line was too long).
Our Winter “Aurora” experience however shared none of our problems and was absolutely incredible! We went on the first Monday available (trying to avoid the holiday rush this time) and felt like we had the park and characters to ourselves at times.
You’re greeted by a small handful of Victorian characters and a sweet pony before starting off on your adventure. Many of the characters were friendly and reached out to us right away to initiate a conversation and make sure we knew what we were doing. They handed us a scavenger hunt paper to easily get us started with ideas on what there was to do. (ie. which characters to talk to first)
Beautiful details of the buildings near the entrance
A lot of the pathways that were open at Lore have been closed for construction on new areas of the park and without the Ax Throwing and Archery… it seemed a little barren and empty in the daylight. There also were fewer characters out and about right at 4:30 but that quickly rectified itself. We did a small loop around the park noting what had changed.
A stop in the tavern to see the Christmas decor! Beautiful details!
The barkeeper was MIA.
The watermill is one of my favorite building exteriors in the park.. hopefully someday you’ll be able to go in it as well!
There are warm fire pits everywhere and we particularly liked hanging out by them in the “ruins” which was closed off during the time of “Lore”
Another incredible building exterior
The lights were beginning to come on!
Once we’d seen a few of the details we’d missed at Lore in the daylight, we headed over to Ice skate.
The ice skates were including in the “ice skating ticket” and were hockey like (no toe pick) and decent skates from what I’ve experienced. You put them on right next to the little rink and then head out onto the ice. We started right around 5:30 and at the time there was 1, maybe 2 other families skating/ falling around. That being said, the ice was pretty chopped up so if you’re an ice snob.. be warned.
It’s a nice little rink though in the center of the park and by far the most magical part is just being surrounded by medieval buildings, with sparkling blue spotlights shining on the ice around you, and Evermore’s signature soundtrack to make you feel like you really are skating in a fairy tale. So although the rink maybe small, it beat out the Olympic ovals in my book.
The Ice rink in the middle of the park
After a short time they indicated they were going to clean the ice so everyone got off and they whipped out.. a hand-push Zamboni! What! It took them about 10 minutes to clear the ice but I waited while everyone else (husband included) headed off to find adventures elsewhere in the park.
Favorite moment: Seriously had a smooth rink, the lights, and music to myself for 10 minutes. I skated circles and was eventually joined by a character wearing full Victorian skirts. Braden located his friends and brought them over to cheer me on before I finally resigned and got off the ice to check out the rest of the park
Looking over at the tavern with the moon overhead and Christmas lights galore
Christmas Carolers.. haha We recognized the 2 guys on the left from the “Lore” show with the scary guy in the middle being the executioner. I absolutely love that they kept him in practically the same costume *the hat is new, and had him walking around with the festive carolers.
First stop post ice skating:
The Food Stand
Evermore is somewhat limited in their food offerings thus far but they seem to be expanding each season. (so maybe the next show will have a full scale café) You can choose from savory meat pies (Chicken pot pie, pizza, bacon and egg) that are little handpie/ calzone things priced at $6 and soup bowls (the soups our day were Tomato Basil and Potato Bacon.) priced at $10. Then there’s the sweet caramel apples, lollies, cookies, and of course: hot beverages ranging from $2.50 to $5
While the hot cocoa is fine, if you’re a cider fan, I really enjoy the Mulled Cider. We tried both the savory options and they were both good so choose mostly just on how much food you want as both are good.
*Or just save money and eat dinner at home. 😉
Aurora Visiting Information:
Weekday Hours (M,T,Th): 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Weekend Hours (F,S): 4:30-9:30 PM
Adult (age 13+) weekday: $15, weekend: $20 +$6 skating ticket*
Child (age 6-12) weekday: $10, weekend: $14 +$6 skating ticket*
*Skating is $6 if purchased ahead of time, and is $10 if you wait to purchase the skating ticket in the park.
*You can bring your own skates but it does not decrease the cost of the skate ticket
*These costs may be part of an early bird pricing if you purchase your tickets before December 15th. Will update if that’s the case but buy your ticket here ASAP to ensure you get this pricing.
Aurora tickets include everything the park has to offer!
Wonderland Walk Events:
*This event includes ice skating and the bird/reptile show BUT DOES NOT HAVE QUESTS CHARACTER INTERACTION.
Hours: Saturday 11:00 AM- 3:00 PM
The water mill at night
The Bird show
After eating our wares by a warm fire we headed for the Bird show in the glass house. You’ll want to get there a few minutes before the “next show” as it’s a small room and fills quickly. The show was great with fun information on 6 types of birds with cool demonstrations and close encounters as the cast walk down the aisles so you can view the birds more closely. The narrator was particularly funny livening up what could end up being a fact dump and the show lasted in total about 30 minutes. We got to see a parrot/ Macaw crack open a tiny sunflower seed with its giant beak which was my favorite part as most other bird shows are so large you miss tiny details like that.
the bird I can’t remember the name of…
All in all we got to check out a Blue and Yellow Macaw with his girlfriend a Great green Macaw named Kaleehsi, a cool Omnivore black bird with an amazing beak (I alas cannot remember what kind of bird it was), a Harris Hawk, cockatoo, Barn Owl, and lastly a great Horned Owl.
All birds showed their amazing wings and tails, got lots of snacks, and were brought around for closer inspection. All in all, a great show!
We unfortunately didn’t get to check out the reptile show! But I imagine it was just as good.
Continuing out adventure around the park, we checked out the incredible pièce de résistance of Evermore: the central fountain.
Then from the central statue, we followed the little path under this really cool archway.
to my favorite spot in Evermore: the Hobbit hole. (It’s not actually called that but that’s what it reminds me of) and there we found my 2 favorite Evermore residents: The Dwarf brothers
Entrance to the hobbit hole
They seem to be a recent edition to the cast (I don’t remember them from Lore) and were beyond talented and believable. We walked into hear them singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and one of the liveliest rooms of the park. We stuck around to hear clever stories of their Aunt or Uncle, make comments about their living space, and play another song on a drum and recorder. (The little drummer boy) Their accents/ improv/ and overall effect were my favorite of the park this time around.
For videos of their songs and some of their funny stories, checkout my youtube channel clicking here
How to Quest
*Follow the instructions on your scavenger hunt paper
*Ask any character what you can do to help them
*Do what they say which will lead you to other characters and on!
Outside the Hobbit hole/ dwarf house we got some popcorn and earned some gold coins for telling the concession maids a joke. Then picked up some of the Mulled Cider to top everything off as we said goodbye to our friends. I hadn’t had my fill yet so we continued to explore the park and interact with characters, eventually gathering the parts and building an ornament with the “light” fairies to present to the dwarfs. I also earned silver pieces from a king by doing a small jig (though I ran out of time to go on further quests to use it) and we ended up spending our remaining 30 minutes with one of the dwarf brothers in the cozy little cottage. We tried to explain our “modern world” jobs to him which was hilarious and got one more song as we headed out.
Overall an amazing evening and with the price at only $21 for weeknight skating- adults a fantastic way to get out and celebrate the Christmas season.
Just word to the wise.. DRESS WARM. A lot of the characters and fun is outside so make sure you’re prepared to spend at least an hour or 2 in the cold winter air. (think base layers, thick sweaters/ coats, hats and gloves!.. the works)