By, Dr. Kerris Dillon
If you’ve never tried an escape room with your family and friends, you are truly missing out! My friends and family have visited 17 escape rooms in which we solved puzzles in Wonderland, stopped a nuclear attack during the 1950’s, visited a haunted nursery, and escaped a jail cell all within 1 hour. Spending money on a memory is something you will never forget and I definitely prefer an escape room over a gift any day!
Escape rooms typically cost $20-30 a person. Sometimes, you can find discounts especially during the summer when they aren’t as busy. You want to always arrive 10-15 minutes before your assigned time because you will need to sign wavers and listen to any rules that the business has. There were a couple of times when our host was in costume, which made the experience much more fun and interesting! The host will lead you to your room and provide you with a story concerning the mystery you are about to solve.
No doors are ever truly locked in an escape room. This is completely against the law. Once the host has left, the group begins looking about the room for clues or puzzles to solve. Sometimes, the puzzles work in succession and other times you are given clues that won’t assist you till the very end. It is important to read the descriptions of each room and find out if there is an age limit for children. There are times when escape rooms are meant for adults and any description that talks about blood, murder, aliens, zombies, or being haunted will probably not be appropriate for children.
One of the greatest parts about doing an escape room is the theme chosen by the game maker. Great escape rooms have a strong theme and puzzles that are relevant to the progression of the story. I am often disappointed when I get inside an escape room and it simply houses a room full of furniture that doesn’t seem to have any role in the story and the clues don’t make sense.
Some of the best escape rooms I have been to were in rooms that were made to look like a 1950’s café, a queen’s throne room, a jail cell, and a murder mystery in which an organ opened a wall by playing a sequence on a pipe organ. I have had picture frames release secret compartments when you touch a certain part of the picture with a magnet. I was also impressed by a chess board that helped to unlock a drawer in a desk when the proper chess piece was put into place.
I will never forget an escape room in which our group was separated and put into two different jail cells. Each of our groups had to yell out clues that were written on the wall and chuck keys to each other to open our cells. Each cell had an unlocked door that we entered through, but the cell doors were actually locked so it made it much more fun. I actually felt like a convict that was trying to escape a very small cell.
My family attended an escape room on Christmas Eve in which an actress had stolen academy awards and hidden them in her dressing room when she didn’t win them on awards night. There was a box office present, theater seats, movie posters, suitcases, and a makeup table and lights that greeted us as we walked in. It is so much fun to see how the room is designed and how much you actually feel like you have been transported to a new place.
My sister told me about an escape room that she went to that was inspired by serial killers and had dead body parts (fake, of course) strewn about the room with blood all over them. They weren’t allowed to talk for the first 30 minutes and eventually a series of clues led them to the ceiling where a pull-down ladder emerged and they climbed upwards into a whole other space. That is one of the neatest things about doing an escape room is that you never know what is behind closed doors. It is not like going to a movie where you are in observer. It is like being in a movie where you are the detectives.
My family and I have found clues in pipes, in books, in coolers filled with fake ice, on the wall with the use of a black light, inside water bottles, inside hairbrushes, under the rug, inside a table leg, in vines, in a mailbox, through a slide projector, by navigating a remote car onto a platform, inside a stuffed animal, under an alien baby, inside a hole in the wall, by turning on a television, by mixing two liquids together, and by navigating a set of laser beams.
So, if you are looking for something to do with you and a group of friends of family. I would highly suggest an escape room. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do them ever again. I personally like the adrenaline rush that I get when solving clues and moving toward a shared goal. It is a wonderful way to learn communication skills, work together to solve a problem, and to laugh and enjoy the memories that you make. Our family loves them and I know your family might love them too!