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“Its a house not a Castle”
Review of Mystery Castle

Mystery Castle
Ranked #35 of 230 things to do in Phoenix
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Built by a father to realize his daughter's dream, this three-story castle, completed in 1945, is made of stone, adobe, automobile parts and petroglyphs and is held together by a cement mixture including goat's milk. Take a tour - usually led by the daughter, who still lives there - of this odd, yet imaginative dwelling.
Reviewed March 20, 2014

You can see by the Internet this really is a house with "out" buildings and not a Castle, maybe they should rename it. Anyways I thought it was worth seeing and enjoyed our short time there. We brought friends who are very particular and I could feel the tension in the car as we approached the Castle. I'm sure they were wondering where was I taking them. You enter through a chain link fence on a dirt road and uneven rocky parking. Well to my surprise everyone loved it, it has an interesting history and it was fascinating to see how one man had the vision using recycled items and built this house over 15 years. I would say it was worth the trip and the money. Don't get hustled out too quickly because you will miss the out buildings as we did. Spend the time to look around. Its easy to find if you take 7th Street South until it ends and turn left into the round about and head up the dirt road.

3  Thank kathy2614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (284)
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168 - 172 of 284 reviews

Reviewed March 7, 2014

This is the second time I have visited, this time taking out-of-town guests. The castle is well worth seeing at least once, but I wish the staff would be a bit more diligent in ensuring you get your money's worth on the tour. When you begin the tour, they tell you the tour goes around in a circle and just join in wherever the tour is at and follow it until you see everything once. I advise NOT to do this. When you join the tour you should start at the beginning in the main living area, waiting for the tour to come around again, otherwise when they start talking about Boyce and Mary Lou, and you have no idea who these people are or how the castle got started. The woman who gave the tour on the upstairs portion has worked there for 30 years giving tours with Mary Lou (the daughter of the castle builder) until Mary Lou passed away in 2010. She was very knowledgeable but when she took us to the west part of the upstairs (which is where we first joined in the tour) she said we could just go in and wander around and she would wait outside. I asked if she wasn't going to explain about Boyce and Mary Lou, but she said "you'll pick it up if you read the stuff on the walls." Really? The downstairs portion of the tour could have been much better. We went through fairly quickly. The folks giving the tours should remember that we are paying to learn about the castle and they should act like they are interested in teaching people about the history, or go work somewhere else. My family and I were disappointed with the tour this time, had a much better experience the first time around a little over a year ago. Overall, however, the castle is very interesting, Boyce was an terrific, unique builder and this is an amazing story.

13  Thank LW26102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2014

Great quick tour. Good value. Very quirky. It's led by a woman who was a friend of the family and has been doing the tours for over 30 years. They only take cash and it's less than a hour to take the whole tour, worth your time. Great views of downtown phoenix. Would skip in the summer.

5  Thank HeatherdeeRN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2014

I was looking for something unique to do with my daughter for her birthday and found this place here on TripAdvisor. All the reviews were glowing pretty much and I thought "how cool to go see a Castle for your birthday", and the mention of the $10 a person tour charge seemed okay. Unfortunately it is not worth paying that much, and I wouldn't call this rustic house built on a hillside out of recycled brick and mortar a Castle. It is very interesting all the little "add-on" rooms to this house and the purpose they were used for, but none of them are actually connected to the main house. The use of recycled material is quite nice and gives the place a very timely look back, and my favorite room was the guest "room" which is located outside and down the stairs from the main house. It is very small. although it does boast that it has a number of rooms, most are almost walkin closet size. Of course this was built back in the 30's, so that was typical. There aren't very many of the original furnishing left, mostly some china and hand-spun baskets that the tour guides make sure to point out. We joined a tour in progress and so at the end of that groups tour we were taken by another person to see the downstairs rooms, at the end of this the tour guide made us feel like we needed to leave a Tip for their service (and there was a tip jar sitting there on a table), which was very uncomfortable since I felt I over-payed for the tour in the first place. I will leave it to you, but for me it just wasn't worth it, I would be okay with the $5 the used to charge before someone became greedy.

6  Thank louiel00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2014

I happen to find this Mystery Castle on line and was intrigued. Well its doesn't disappoint. It is definitely out of the normal tourist attraction but even years after being there we still talk about it. We didn't know what to expect upon arrival and even leaving weren't too sure what we saw but was a great couple hours. The staff were great tour guides and the history of the place is perfect for the surroundings. The cost seems a little high for the tour but it makes for a great travel story. If you like off the beaten path it was great fun.

3  Thank rubynash74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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