When I first saw the words ‘coffin ride’, they were sitting quietly up the back of a website for glow-in-the-dark mini golf in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct.
And despite the two broken slushy machines in the foyer and the statue of Ned Kelly in a cape with a hand-written sign that says ‘Please Don’t Touch – “I know Kung Fu”‘ (see below), GlowGolf Docklands was absolutely banging when I visited. Especially given Docklands on a Saturday night is less a magnet for fun-seekers and more a place for tourists who haven’t studied their guidebooks properly.
Anyway, we had a game of mini golf and it was pretty fun (highly recommended actually). But for me, the real treat here is The Coffin Ride. When I heard the phrase ‘coffin ride’ I was picturing something like a ghost train, so it caught me completely off guard in the best possible way. I for one have never seen or heard of anything like it – basically a coffin on hydraulics that lets you experience the journey from the funeral parlour to the grave.
The ‘ride’ starts in a closed coffin, listening to the hearse drivers chatter away. Then they load you in to the back of the vehicle and you’re off banging around corners, as well as feeling the vibrations of the hearse through the bottom of the coffin. At the other end they load you in to the grave and you hear the dirt being piled on top. You also get different smells piped into the coffin throughout, from roses at the funeral home to tyre rubber when you’re in the hearse. The climax is the earthy tang of your final resting place.
Your friends get to sit on chairs in the room and watch your reaction to all this on the Night Vision Coffin Cam. And at the end you get a DVD to take home. But possibly the night’s high point was the slightly creepy owner watching the reaction of the person in the coffin. Apparently he was just laughing quietly to himself when I was in there and he said my reaction was ‘one of the good ones’. I hope he doesn’t dig out the clip to watch on those lonely winter nights.
The website used to have following tantalising invitation: “If you have any pictures of yourself in a coffin, could you kindly upload them to here”. While this offer has since been removed, I’m sure the owner would be delighted if you sent one in, particularly with Halloween just around the corner. You should also check out the clip of the Zombie Jumper, which is available here. It wasn’t working properly the night we were there, and we got the sound effects without the actual jumping. But it does actually look quite fun.
One of the most remarkable things about this attraction is that you can’t just jump online and buy a Coffin Ride kit with everything you need ready to go. You’ve got to have vision. You’ve got to find someone willing to make it, and possibly someone willing to fund it as well. You’ve got to source a Night Vision Coffin cam. And most likely, you’ve got to be walking that often-mentioned line between genius and insanity. So which side of that fence does this one sit? For $10 – or $20 with the glow golf thrown in – you can have a genuinely unique night out and come to your own conclusions.