Behind the curtain on choosing what family fun things to do in an escape room

“What is a fun thing to do?” “If you could do anything, what would be super cool to do?” “What will families and friends enjoy doing together?-especially something that they don’t usually get to do.”

Where do you get your escape room ideas?

Boy, now that’s a question that would betray some trade secrets. While we can’t reveal every part of where we get our ideas for escape rooms, know that we build most of our escape rooms ourselves – especially the “immersive” ones. We want family fun things to do for our customers.
What If Escape Rooms

What I would do if…

3 Keys to Fun

First, what are we trying to accomplish? We boiled it down to three essentials:
  • Family fun
  • New or extra ordinary activity
  • Interactive
We will go into these more in depth later. For now, let’s focus on the ideas or the “themes” themselves.

The Premise

The Pirate’s Revenge escape room, the Hiding Place escape room, Bomb Squad, even the Reindeer Stables escape room – these are rooms that started as a premise, a “what if,” if you will.
Pirates started off as a desire to build something impressive and tell a story – a story of a brave man who dared against all the political and economic winds raging against him to fight something that was standard across humanity – the human slave trade. John Newton, a former slave trader himself, was a story worth telling, and a Pirate Ship was the place worth telling that story. Combine an amazing man with an amazing setting and challenging puzzles, and you have an idea worth experiencing. Oh, the ship you see now isn’t the original – it’s gone through iteration after iteration – making things easier to solve, or removing that part there, or adding more light or taking light away – so many aspects, like whittling a fine sculpture – to make the idea we have today. That’s where we got that idea.

What about something like Hiding Place? Well, we watched the movie, read the book, studied Corrie’s life – and tried to reproduce parts of her house for it to happen in. We pulled specific props – a triangle, a crown, a few buttons, a clock, a small room – and incorporated them into the overarching theme. We pulled quotes and made them puzzle hints. We sculpted props and scrawled graffiti and tried to pull as much from the time period as we could. We searched for music of that era that sounded like it was playing off a scratchy radio, found sound effects that didn’t involve cars (since they were rare at that time), and tried to immerse you in the sounds and music of the era. Then, we set up a guard who would sound an alarm if you were spotted, and put him on a foreign-looking street. We found a story worth telling, and fit the props and setting to fit it.
Bomb Squad was a bit easier – it started with a bomb and since you only have enough puzzles to keep a few people occupied, we figured we’d make a small storage locker to fit just that number of people. Then, we bought parts to a geniune storage locker, complete with garage door, set up rafters, and went to work building a small storage locker inside our facility. Sure, it’s small – but that’s the point. It’s a dangerous bomb that requires you to work with a small team to proceed, puzzle by puzzle, to outwit the terrorist. And the floor is rubber, and there are barrels, and there are shreds of paper lying around that help you piece together clues. Its a challenge you control with a small crew. Just enough to cover gaps in your knowledge, but not too many so that some of you get bored.

And then we have ideas like Reindeer Room – which actually started as a punch line (you’ll know what it is when you finish the room), then we backtracked from there. We sculpted the rest of the room to match that punchline (“what’s making Ruldolf sooooo sick?”) and made a fun little room where you’re a veterinarian’s assistant.

Well, there you have it. It’s not a full answer of course (spoilers!), but it gives you an idea for the heartbeat of our rooms. We want to tell a fun, immersive story that will drag you into the experience and leave you “wow’ed,” or “awed” or… “awwwwwwww’ed” (yes, some of our rooms are “cute.”)