WESTLAKE — "It was amazing, the bestest thing ever," said 7-year-old Lela Stais as she emerged Thursday from the Gotham City-inspired fun house.
The skyscraper-lined creation was part of a "Bat-Tastic Halloween" celebration hosted by the Westlake Recreation Center.
"I like the part when Batman shows up and he sees Joker just like in the comic book; that's the bestest part," she said. "The Joker was planning on taking all the money from the bank, but Batman came out because he saw the bat signal."
Stais, who dressed in a costume from the Disney movie "Coco," said she didn't want to waste any time going back for a second trip.
The Gotham City wonderment she described was the vision of Alma Carrera, the center's art director.
Carrera — who has been designing the skyscrapers, Batmobile, Batplane and Gotham City Jail since July — said she primarily used recyclable materials for her creation.
"I can tell you for sure that 85-90 percent of everything you see here is recycled," Carrera said. "I used cardboard, plastic cups, I like to recycle."
She said her first step before designing the layout was studying the famed comic book characters.
"I watched the movies and then searched the Internet for the real story behind each character," she said. "I tried to pick the most important people to put in Gotham City."
For characters she couldn't find much information about — like the parents of Bruce Wayne (Batman), Catwoman and Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (The Penguin) — she said she created tombstones for them inside a makeshift Gotham City Cemetery near the front of the fun house.
Carrera, who dressed as Poison Ivy for the event, enlisted the help of her recreation center co-workers to portray The Penguin, Joker and Two-Faced.
Real Westlake Mayor Bob Hardey dressed as the Gotham City mayor — complete with a black suit and top hat — and handed out candy as children passed through.
"This is another perfect example of the city and recreation department working together for the good of the community," Hardey said. "All the helpers here tonight either work at the center or are volunteers and they all bought their own costumes."
Hardey said he was blown away by Carrera's creations.
"It took so much to put this all together and it just turned out amazing."