Screaming Heads in Burk’s Falls is a 310 acre property full of the ‘screaming head’ sculptures made of concrete, as well as other sculptures and art pieces. The property belongs to the artist, Peter Camoni, a retired art teacher who uses the property as his canvas as well as a free walk for visitors to admire the sculptures, statues and artwork.
Screaming Heads receives an estimate of 50,000 visitors per year, and the number has greatly increased since the pandemic. Needless to say, being only a 3-hour drive from Toronto, Screaming Heads is becoming a popular tourist attraction in central Ontario.
If you’re planning to visit Screaming Heads, here is some important information to know before you go.
Screaming Heads: Everything You Need to Know
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the haunting looking Screaming Heads property in Ontario
What is the story behind Screaming Heads?
Peter Camoni is a retired high school art teacher who bought the property in the early 1980s. He since planted thousands of trees, put in artificial ponds, raised different types of birds, and turned it into not only a farm and a park, but a unique place to visit for people wanting to admire and get photos of the sculptures. We spoke to a volunteer at Screaming Heads when we were there, who is a good friend of Peter’s, who told us that Peter has single handedly lugged all the concrete onto the property to fabricate the sculptures.
Peter doesn’t seek to profit from visitors wishing to visit his property. Anything he earns, through donations and through the purchase of merchandise, is donated back into the community.
Where is Screaming Heads located?
Screaming Heads is located at 981 Midlothian Rd, which is 265 km north of Toronto, just outside the town of Burks Falls and just under an hour from Algonquin Provincial Park. Midothian road is a long dirt road with farms.
When you reach the Screaming Heads property, there will be a sign with the ‘screaming heads’ logo pointing into a dirt road driveway, which you’ll take to drive into the parking lot.
Do You Need to Pay to Visit?
Visiting Screaming Heads is free of charge. When we visited this spring (2023) and spoke to a volunteer that told us that Peter Camani has never charged entry for Screaming Heads, nor does he have any plans to. It has always been a free activity, and he makes no profit off of it at all. Any cash he collects from the donation box located near the front gate, or money spend on merchandise gets donated to the community.
So, visiting Screaming Heads is a good cause, especially if you can throw some change in the donation box or buy a souvenir, because you know that the artist will put it do a good cause. I bought myself a Screaming Heads Glow-in-the-dark tank top.
What do you do at Screaming Heads?
There are a few activities you can take part in at Screaming Heads property (more than I even imagined before visiting.) They are:
- Admire the artwork – there is a lot to look at and appreciate around the property; more than just the ‘heads’ statues that you see online
- Hike around the grounds- wear good hiking boots, as there are some hills, rocks and depending on the season, it might be muddy or slushy in some areas
- Relaxing – there are benches and Muskoka chairs that you can sit on to just take in the view and surroundings
- Shop at the farmer’s market, or the merchandise shop which is run by volunteers
- Play disc golf – there is a disc golf course set up with 18 holes
How much Time do you need at Screaming Heads?
Before visiting Screaming Heads, I thought that it would just be a field that I’d take a few quick photos in, before hopping back in my car and driving off. Instead, there is a parking lot at screaming heads, and a large (310 acre) property for you to walk all over. So, you should give yourself around 1 hour to see the whole thing.
Keep in mind, there is more than just the ‘head’ statues. There are different types of structures, hand and dragon statues, and other works of art.
It is possible to visit the part of Screaming Heads quickly, get some quick photos and head out. The visit can take more or less as long or short time as you want it. But if you walk the whole loop around the pond, and explore all the sculptures in the fields (there are more than just screaming heads) then give yourself more time.
Screaming Heads artist Peter Camini, since buying his property in the 80s, has planted thousands of trees and put in artificial ponds into the property. Screaming Heads almost looks like a park, and there are areas where you could sit down and relax. You could probably spend hours at Screaming Heads relaxing and having a picnic if you want to.
Good to Know: On the weekends in the summer, there is a market set up by local farmers at Screaming Heads where you can buy produce, woodwork, tea, handmade soap and other items. It’s another way that Peter is supporting the local community. Bring some extra cash, and time to browse!
What are the hours?
Screaming Heads is open 8am -8pm daily, year round. (Yes, it’s even open to visitors in the winter!) We were told by one of the volunteers that the property is great for cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
If you do for whatever reason find it closed, remember that its private property and do not trespass. You can still see many of the statues from the road. It will be rare for it to be closed, but one weekend you can be sure Screaming Heads be closed is the 3rd weekend of September, for their annual Harvest Fest rave.
Is Screaming Heads kid friendly?
Aside from the heads looking a bit creepy, Screaming Heads is totally kid friendly. Many families are seen there every day. We didn’t bring our kids with us when we went, but we lots of other people with their kids, from babies to teens.
Keep in mind, that many of the structures are not for climbing. You’ll see ‘do not climb’ signs on the artwork and statues, so just something to be mindful and remind kids of to respect the property and the artwork.
Is it stroller or wheelchair friendly?
Many parts of the property are stroller friendly but others might be tricky, because of the hills. The time of year you go might be dependent as well – when we went in the spring, there were some parts that were a bit muddy. If you want to walk through the whole thing with a baby or toddler, then a baby carrier would be your best bet, or do a combination of carrying them and letting them walk.
Good to Know: Its important to note, for kids and adults, that the only washrooms on-site at Screaming Heads are the outhouses by the parking lot. So, if you plan to do the whole loop, it would be best to use them before you head off.
Can I bring my dog?
Dogs are welcome at Screaming Heads as long as they’re kept on a leash. We saw a few dogs when we visited. However, please note that there are no garbage cans on the property. Be mindful of Peter’s generosity in allowing the public to use this space, and pick up after your pet and bring any waste with you.
Are there animals at Screaming Heads?
In addition to the artwork, Peter also raises a few different kinds of animals – mainly birds, such as peacocks, chickens, and we also saw a few pigeons. When we spoke to one of the Peter’s volunteers, he told us that there are carrier pigeons and racing pigeons.
When you visit the property, you’ll likely hear the sounds of some of the birds. Keep in mind though, that it isn’t a petting zoo, and you don’t interact with the animals. We found it hard to see them, as they are closed off from the pain path and parking lot of screaming heads.
Are there any festivals or events held at Screaming Heads?
Screaming Heads hosts a rave called Harvest Fest, every September. There’s camping, world-class sound system and DJs, light shows, and fires. About 1500-2000 people attend every year, and tickets go fast. The event for this year will be held on the 3rd weekend of September, however, the tickets for this year have already sold out. If you have interest for the following September 2024, be sure to grab tickets quickly when they go on sale in February.
In addition to Harvest Fest, there is also a disc golf tournament held at Screaming Heads every year in April. Its called the Trigg Memorial Open.
Is the screaming head castle real?
When you visit, you’ll see what looks like a castle on the property, and there are also signs on the road pointing you to “Midlothian Castle.” Midlothian Castle is Peter Camani’s private home. It almost looks like a haunted house or castle from a movie. Peter bought the property with the original structure in the 1980s – he kept the house as is, but he added the gargoyle-looking tower with windows, and a stone fence with the creepy looking heads.
As it is a private residence, you can’t visit Midlothian Castle, but you can see and take pictures from it from the parking lot.
Screaming Heads: Final Thoughts
Peter Camani’s property is like nothing else you’ll see in the country. It is rare for someone to open up their private home to the public for visitors, and unusual for them to make this many (creepy looking) statues. We’re lucky that this place exists as a place to visit. Screaming Heads is a unique Ontario experience, and something that you can be sure will make a good day trip. Although the visit is completely free of charge, you can show gratitude by treating the property as your own, don’t leave any garbage – and if you have the spare change, throw some in the donation bin (which gets donated) or buy some cool merchandise in the gift shop or farmer’s market.
While you’re up in the area, especially in fall – consider checking out Alonquin Provincial park, which is particularly spectacular in fall.
I appreciate you reading my blog, and hope you found this guide helpful for visiting Screaming Heads.