If you are looking for an immersive experience in the real world, look no further than Wild West City in Stanhope, NJ. As soon as you walk through the entrance you are faced with a scene from a cheesy old western film, but that’s what makes the place so great! You’re basically there for a series of theatrical shows, with the added bonus of being able to walk around the set, interact with the environment, look at some artifacts, and take some awesome pictures. The tickets are $22 for those 12 and over, with discounted tickets for the younger kids and senior citizens, plus an additional $4 each for miniature golf, stagecoach ride, train ride, and pony rides once inside. Added attractions were “museums”, a petting zoo, picnic area, 2 saloons, and a pizza place to possibly fill your time between shows.
The setting is 1880 in Dodge City, Kansas, complete with rows of time period buildings lining “Main Street”, where 22 live shows take place. We grabbed a schedule of the day at the ticket window, and before the action started we made sure to buy some cowboy hats with me taking the role of Sheriff Mom, and the kiddo deciding to become an Outlaw. I thought we were only going to be there a couple of hours, but we actually stayed for most of the day, watching the variety of entertainment in between checking out all they had to offer. Two rows of chairs and benches line the horse beaten street for the shows that are a bit longer, and charming scenes of cowboys and horses can be viewed as you roam in and out of shops to pass some time.
We tried the stagecoach and train rides, both of which offered fun interactions, and we enjoyed lunch inside one of the saloons where live music was playing. I was impressed with how many artifacts were on display, and the amount of history each “museum” provided…their jail cell, physician’s office, bank, and post office were just some of the few replicas that transported us back in time. My son wanted to have his picture taken for the notorious WANTED posting, and watching him get dressed up, as well as other’s, provided plenty of entertainment…every part of the day was funny in some regard, and the memories will last a lifetime. While I couldn’t imagine coming every year like some families said they do, it was a great day that I will cherish being able to experience with my son.