We’re not sure what our kids expected exactly when we told them we were going to visit to a Ghost Town, but they sure were excited to check it out! Just a short drive from Austin, J. Lorraine Ghost Town in Manor, TX is a re-created version of an old 1800’s western town that is free and open to the public to explore. While we can’t promise that you’ll run into any ghosts on your visit, this quiet, empty little town sure does have an eerie quality that’s great fodder for any child’s imagination.

img_2584img_2582The Ghost Town is a re-created version of a destroyed town that once stood just a few miles away from this site in Manor. Rebuilt with scrap wood from the original town, it now serves as a party and wedding rental venue, an occasional movie set, a bar and restaurant, and a place to simply explore and hang out with friends. (And maybe a place for ghosts to haunt.)

The Ghost Town offers 4.5 acres of wide open space featuring plenty of abandoned buildings that you can walk into and look around. The kids liked locking each other up in the jail, playing out-of-tune songs on the piano in the saloon, pretending to have incurable ailments in the doctor’s office, getting a haircut at the barber shop, etc.

img_0319img_0289img_2604drghosttownimg_2657There is also a giant maze that you can get lost in, however on our most recent visit this was closed off during the day as it is open for Halloween scares at night. (Click here to learn more about the Scare for the Cure Maze.)

The restaurant is very casual and affordable with $1 hot dogs, “the best hamburgers in town”, and a variety of sandwiches, chips, ice cream bars, etc. They also serve beer and wine, and could be a really fun place to gather with a big group of friends on a weekend afternoon. Click here for the restaurant menu and hours.

img_2637img_2647Horseshoes, washers, darts, volleyball, and tetherball are all available for you to play here, too. On Fridays and Saturdays, they show free outdoor movies on their big screen and they also sometimes feature live music on the Ghost Town stage. To best keep up with the schedule of events, you can visit the Ghost Town website or Facebook page.

img_2668On our visit on a Saturday afternoon, there were a few families eating lunch in the restaurant, but otherwise, we had the Ghost Town all to ourselves. To be perfectly honest, I think our visit was successful due to the kids imagination. They came up with a ghost-busting game and weaved in and out of buildings on a mission to track down any suspicious activity. They loved entering all the buildings and pretending to “find spooky things”. The Ghost Town felt like one big playground for the kids thanks to their creative minds. But I wouldn’t go to the Ghost Town expecting to be entertained. There are no costume characters, tours, or spooky creatures that pop out at you. It’s a very unique setting in which you can plan to bring your own fun.

img_2627ghosttownjailHours for J. Lorraine Ghost Town vary by season, but it’s generally open Friday evenings, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Admission is free! For hours and more information, please visit www.ghosttownaustin.com.