A Geeky Dad’s Guide to Escape Rooms

in family •  last year

No this is not a post about escaping from your children... it is about escaping with your children (although there are some days when that first one might come in handy).

A few weeks ago, my family and I went to our first escape room. Long story short, we are completely hooked!

I was shocked at how much fun an escape room could be!

When I first heard of this new form of entertainment, I immediately thought it wouldn't be for me let alone my 10 year old daughter and 12 year old son. You see... I am a complete scaredy cat. No I mean a real wuss. I am such a baby that I can't even watch scary movies. If my kids ever asked me to take them to a haunted house around Halloween, I would have to fake an illness or conjure up a work emergency that would save me from being terrified by teenagers in cheesy masks. I still have to turn on the light when I get a drink of water in the middle of the night so I can verify that there is not a monster standing behind me. I think you get the point.

When I heard "escape room", I immediately imagined a dark haunted house combined with impossible puzzles to solve in order to "escape" to the horrifying room. Paralyzed by fear, I figured I would have wet my pants long before I was able to clear my head long enough to solve a puzzle (unless the puzzle was to activate a trap door switch with liquid. I could pull that off real quick). It sounded more like torture than a fun family activity.

Why would I pay to go there let alone subject my family to it?

Then I started to hear from friends that it wasn't like that at all. Most escape rooms are very family friendly and you are never truly "trapped". You can leave at any time... but what fun would that be?

I am sure there are some that are more adult themed... but I'll leave those to the adults.

My kids may have been ok with the skeletons... but I would have peed my pants.

The escape room we attended relied heavily on different kinds of locks with a variety of ways to open them. Some had number or letter combinations, others opened via keys, some were directional locks that involved moving the sliding dial in the proper sequence of directions in order to open it. These locks all kept clues hidden away from us.

The escape room consisted of two rooms. In the first room, we had to solve a series of mental puzzles in order to find keys or combinations to locks. Once we found all of the clues in this first room, a final clue revealed a way to open a secret passage into a second room. After we solved all the required puzzles in that second room, we opened a door that lead to... victory!

Without giving too much away (many escape rooms have similarities) in order to solve the puzzles you must examine everything in the room. There are many physical props included that look like every day objects. Some of these are useful and you need to use them in special ways in order to solve puzzles. Other are there to distract you. In order to examine everything, you basically have to tear apart the entire room. You can move or turn over everything that isn't nailed or glued down. (My kids LOVED this part).

Flip over the chairs! There has to be something under one of them!

As you tear apart the room, you may find hidden riddles or clues. Answers to these riddles often give you combinations to some of the locks in the room. For example if the answer to a riddle is a four letter word (no not that kind!) it is probably the combination for the letter activated combination lock.

Once you remove a lock and look inside what it was protecting, you usually find another riddle or clue. Often times, a clue will call on you to go back and examine objects in the room again. Sometimes one action causes a previously examined object to change (like a blackboard flipping around to reveal new information).

The game master is always watching. If you get really stuck you can ask for a clue. The game master will provide you a clue via a video monitor in the room. I also discovered that the game master will help if you do something really stupid like put your mouth on an object that possibly hundreds of other people have (yes I did that).

Some of the puzzles or riddles are very difficult and required my wife and I to solve. However, there were also times when both my son and daughter were able to give valuable input.

My daughter was awesome at this!

In addition, there are physical "challenges" involved. These included directing objects through mazes, shining special lights on certain objects to reveal clues, and rearranging images to create a pattern. We assigned these tasks to our kids so they always felt involved. When one family member was working on one puzzle, all three of the others were searching for more clues or completing tasks. The fact that it was a true team effort enhanced the fun.

The escape room we attended engaged all of your senses. This too made it especially fun for our kids.

Different rooms have their own parameters and requirement. There is always a time limit and the game master will tell you the record time (without hints) to aim for. Our game had a 60 minute limit and a record of 30 minutes. Although we did not come close to the record, we did finish in 50 minutes... thanks to a couple of big hints.

If you go with adults or you know your kids will not get too frustrated by losing, you can ask them not to give you any hints. We chose to receive just enough hints in order to keep the game moving and fun. Perhaps as we get more experienced, we will try a game without any hints.

Not sure if the tall guy is part of the group or the game.. but they all look like they had fun!

Needless to say, I highly recommend taking your family to an escape room. Although the game only lasted 50 minutes, we talked about it for hours afterwards. We all recounted how someone on the team had done something really well in order to help us win. We also asked each other questions about how we solved a certain riddle or puzzle. In addition, we shared some of our frustrations. Most importantly, we laughed. We laughed a lot at some of our "failures". We laughed at how we were convinced a completely meaningless hat was the lynchpin to the entire mystery. We laughed at how dad got scared when a secret panel opened above his head. We laughed at how mom scolded everyone to be quiet so she could listen to an essential clue on a prop phone... which turned out to be a joke about 867-5309. We laughed.

The only downside is the price. They listed a price of $30 per person for the hour... but don't pay that. There seem to be tons of coupons floating around for these places. If you can't find one, call the location and ask if there is a promotional code. We found out that most of these places are run by fans of the game. They want to make you a fan of the game. Also, make sure to reserve your time online or call for an appointment. That way you won't have to wait.


If you are going to take your kids, make sure the room is family friendly.

Some of them are very scary.

In addition to being great family fun, I would imagine this would be a GREAT date activity or group outing with friends. My wife and I plan to attempt one with a couple of friends of ours ASAP. We will attempt to complete it without any hints.

Wish us luck!

Although, I bet a little wine beforehand will increase my mental capacity.

Only one way to find out...

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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Looks like a adventure for family and friends, hope to visit it once :) thanks for article


good , thank you, upvoted pleez .

Cool maybe this can be a family vacation, you really a father who is very attention to family ,, regards to know from me in Aceh ????

Hey @hanshotfirst just like yourself I thought most of these were suppose to be scary even the family ones so thanks for that. I had a friend about a week ago who also went to one of these escape rooms and confirms what your saying but the catch was the one she went to was an Alice in wonderland themed escape room, she said it was awesome and tons of fun.


That sounds really cool!

It might be very funny)

Cant believe these things are so fun but I have seen 2 of them near my house! I think business or building owners jst realize they can turn an extra room into one of these things and just open up an :"escape' room as a very low cost passive income/turnkey business!!! Most of these should have people put more effort into them!!!! i guess they cant be to hard??? i dunno i feel like they should make them a lot more fun and i would make a REAL escape room where its REALy fun and has LED lights and pitch blackness and speakers and weird ghost projections and parkour and i dunno i feel like you coul make these a lot bigger and more fun with LED pressure senstive steps like ZELDA but real life YEAH imagine a REAL LIE zelda temple with big fopam blocks u have to push around in a specific order onto weights and you have to reflect lasers with mirors and theyre can be all sorts of crazy shit like imagine real lfe zelda temple REAL puzzles not just a room but a whole puzzle indoor arena

Anyway these could be pretty cool fi they made the rooms bigger and have it be MULTIPLE rooms! I like how youre just like dont pay the price , lol, you should make your own coupon and -let people print them, make a stemit escape room where you have to use cryptocurrency to get out of the room! like you have to actually earn enough money on steemit posting to save up $100 in 1 hour to send a smart contract lock the $100 in ethereum it needs to unlock..

Ok anyway heres another idea! Parking Garage Lazer tag! Multi story parking garage liuke one of those 10 story parking garages that has top floor one team bottom floor the other team and u can use gold carts in an obstacle course type path setup in the road area and the parking garage will have these levels u can go up or down and there will be laser tag machine guns and it will be like capture the flag but ;lasretag where u have to get back down to your level with the viortual flag u can only get by staying in their main area for long enough so u have to have defense and offense teams, it could also be legiot to hve laser tag in a massive city


I love the parking garage laser tag idea! Especially if it is a parking lot that is mainly used during the day. Its just sitting there at night empty. Why not rent it out for laser tag?

Live action Zelda would be awesome!

I love the escape game!!! I even made a post about it a couple of weeks ago.


Cool. I will check it out.

Thank you for the information! These Escape Rooms are popping up in the southeast United States. I've been wanting to try one.


Give it a try.. but find a coupon or Groupon.

Thank you for sharing! Good to know that I'm not the only one secretly afraid of these things.
Does anyone know a good one around Berlin?

Great post, Really enjoyed it, it looks like good trip for the family.
Thanks for sharing.

This sounds incredible interesting, have never heard of them but I think it is such a nice family outing. The fact that you could laugh and chat about it afterwards make it awesome.


I was really pleasantly surprised with how excited we were to talk about tit afterwards.

seams like a really fun family mystery if you can call it that, never seen it where I live and doesnt seam like there is anything like that.
This seams like both fun and learning at the same time (puzzle)
hope they will get that stuff where I live soon so I have an excuse to take out the kids :)


It really is a great combination of fun and thinking. I hope you are able to find one.

Looks amazing fun, my girls would have loved this, I am OK in ghosty situations, love to be in a haunted house but when it comes to horror not a chance that's where my girls come in, they love gruesome horrors


Oh yeah! I think you'd love it!


Spookier the better

awesome aren't they? I take my management team there on a monthly basis...next Monday we hit the 90's retro gaming room :-)

Escape rooms are a great way to bond with friends or family. I've tried it with my friends. The experience was great though we didn't manage to escape.



Sounds like a lot of fun! I need to try this out with mine, I have heard they were great.

I tried one of these games recently, with three friends. It was really hard, and we failed miserably. We were however kind of close. I will definitely retry one of these on day. This is so much fun!


Dude. It must have been really hard. You are one of the smartest people here. I bet you tried with no clues.


The three other guys were physicists too. Actually, we had a lot of beers before and it was 11:00 PM (but this is not a good excuse, I know ;) )

Yes!! Love this. It's funny you say "I bet a little wine beforehand will increase my mental capacity." - the operative word here is "a little". For my birthday last year my girlfriend threw me a surprise party at an escape room.. of course that was after meeting everyone at a bar first. Needless to say, this made the escape room challenge VERY difficult. Luckily I had some very smart friends to help :)

I agree that oftentimes the challenges are a bit too difficult, especially for kids I'd imagine. They should definitely have "kid friendly" escape rooms, like junior versions with PG rated themes and easier puzzles. As a child obsessed with detective stories, (Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, etc) I would've loved that.

PS - Of course Han shot first. If he didn't, Harrison Ford would've had 5 mins of Star Wars screentime and that would've been it, hehe.


Lol. I can't even imagine solving these drunk. I bet if I tried my wife would just lock me in the bathroom and tell me that was the escape room.


Hah yeah that's pretty much what happened to me :D

A really interesting piece. I first came to know about Escape Rooms in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Unfortunately, Escape Room as a concept has still not caught on in my country. But it was an exciting piece which gave me an idea on what to expect, when it finally launches.

Thanks for letting me enjoy vicariously through your post.

God bless. Happy Writing.


I didn't realize there was an epsisode about this. I bet it is hilarious! I need to find that one. Hope you are able to try one someday.

Went to an escape room on I drive in Orlando, FL a couple weeks ago. It was a great time! You hit it spot on with your descriptions. I would also highly recommend to any family or group of friends looking to have some fun. Thanks for sharing @hanshotfirst

Hey! I like it how you put it! There is this in Zagreb too, I'll check it out! Scary and child friendly? Maybe I'll pass on scary :)

Advertised you in my latest beer tasting blog. I hope it gets you more clicks! I also used your picture but I can edit if you want! Also 100% here.



Yeah I had to go with kid friendly too.

I will check it out.

Ha ha this is too funny! When I am getting water in the middle of the night, I sometimes see 'shadows' before I switch on the light. It's all in the head though!
I can imagine how it's especially great for teenagers or older children. It's an interesting way for a family to bond through solving things and working as a team.


Yeah I thought so too. It was a lot of fun. Look out! There is a monster behind you right now!

When I read the title "escape room", I thought it was a form of escaping to avoid some kitchen chores or to have a little space from you're naughty little kids. But I was wrong, its a literal place to have fun or scared yourself to death. A mystery puzzle or murder mystery riddles in real life.


LOL! Although escaping chores would be fun too!

I too am afraid of haunted houses but this sounds super fun and interesting. I have never heard of it. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for posting this. I immediately started searching for local ones on Google. I hope YOU have a WONDERFUL day!!! Following YOU!


And what's local to you @pjcswart? Just curious.. I've seen them in pretty much every major city I've been to here in Europe


I googled it and there are some in Gauteng too.


ah! Speaking of our mutual friend Mr. Google, I had to check with him where Gauteng was since I had no clue! Ah well, now I know.. South Africa :)


Who would have thought that an entity called Google would have such influence. Thanks for checking it out. I told some friends of mine about The Escape Room and they are very interested. I hope you have a WONDERFUL DAY! Following YOU!!

That looks like so much fun!
My husband and 2 boys tried the Escape Game last October when we were visiting Nashville. It was SO awesome! Our theme was a rocket ship in Mars. My boys had a blast! We made it out with about 30 seconds to spare! What a rush!
Thanks for sharing!


My son would love a space one!

There is an escape room here in Charleston SC that I am dying to check out! Thanks for this!

Looks really fun !!. Would love to plan something with family for such an activity but alas, wishful thinking.


Maybe some day...

Nice post..you look so nice Dad for your kids and also a wonderful husband for your wife. You have many ways to have fun with them....

That's awesome. One of my friends mentioned that we should all do an escape room together. I think it would be a lot of fun (puzzles & such are enjoyable to me). Maybe we'll do one of the "adult themed" ones and get babysitters for our 1.5 and 1 year old children :)


Doing anything outside the house without the kids is awesome when they are that young!


No joke! My wife and I took a vacation of just us for the first time when she got her parents to babysit for a weekend during our 2 year wedding anniversary. It was such an amazing (and weird without our son) weekend!

We remembered what it was like without an infant (and missed that life about as much as we missed him)!

In any case, we still had an amazing weekend, and to top it off, when we got back, he was taking steps on his own thanks to grandma's encouragement (at barely 11 months olds)!!


That is awesome! Sound like you were a big winner all around that weekend!

I went to one here in Dublin. It was amazing experience, we could not stop talking about it for couple of days. I higly recommend, take your friends and try it!

LOL, I love scary movies. I can watch them by myself, in the dark. Gets the heart pumping.

Eugh.. you put your mouth where hundreds of people put theirs... ewww.. ha!

Wow, I wonder if they have that in Australia. Might need to google it. I'd definitely try this for sure. I'd say a glass of red before the room would help too.


Yep I really did. I was so into the game that I wasn't thinking. The gamester actually sent a message on the computer screen "you don't have to put your mouth on anything. Us the tools at your disposal". I forgot we had an air pump lol.


Ahahah, you're a crack up... that's funny.. love it..

That looks AWESOME. I am not a fan of anything that resembles a haunted house.. but this seems to be more of a mental exercise without the scary visuals, which I would totally be down for. I am going to talk to some friends about it. Thank you again!


Exactly! That is a great description.


Thank you, can't wait to try this out for myself :-)

I went to an Escape room in LA, it was so difficult, if it wasn't for the two experienced guys, we wouldn't have passed the first part. Even there was six of us and we didn't get out in time. Maybe next time!


I think they gave us extra clues because of the kids. But we are going to try to not use them at our next one.

looks like a nice adventure for the family, yhx for sharing

Love love love things like this, thank you very much for the time spent and information. 🕉

Good idea and Thinking 👍

looks like fantastic entertainment! thanks for your post @hanshotfirst

Escape the room is awesome


CommentWealth trolls for trolls and spams the spammers... please be aware @brow10 that consistent spam comments like yours might eventually result in flags, which hurt your reputation and earning potential. Begging for a follow, upvote, or resteem in another Steemian's comment thread is really bad form. Next time, try engaging with the author in a way that builds true community here on Steemit!


Plz follow me and upvote me first then i will do same


plz follow eachother and upvote eachothers comment....


You people are ridiculous. Prob why you have low reps


yeah go fart peas at the moon


It was sarcasm if you didnt figure that out ;)

WOW! its such and amazing post, am gonna follow you to get more updates from you


Wow. I love this story


Great adventure as l read......upvoted

Nice post. Great article. n nice faMily

This is so fun! Would love if you posted another one.

Looks like some good fun time you had awesome :) Great article

Nice family and a nice story. Your daughters are very beautiful.


good artical nice post
Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Now a days parents act like very small children

Thats a good history brother @hanshotfirst
keep great writing.. I like your post

Nice post !

I really enjoy reading your post. You have a great way of engaging your readers. Will definitely be following you. Cheers!

Thank you for the information .. this is good news .. hopefully many who ngevoted you .. follow me maybe we can be friends well


Quests are interesting, I would pay 30 bucks just to try, I don't waste my money all the time so one time in a half of year I can take a break :D I hope there are such quest in Moscow, only need to gather friends and try it out ;) Thank you for advice to visit it, hope it's somewhere in Moscow

Great! That was cool ... thank you for sharing.

nice post, i hopee you upvote me

Looks like a great place to get rid of the wife and kids to me!!

Love adventures.... Thanks for bringing back such memories....

Love the escape rooms, such a good time with family

Amazing post on steemit thank you
I'm following you and follow me please vote

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Very nice post....
Thanks for sharing

Lol, that looks fun. I hope we can have something of that sort in here in our country too.

nice post

It turns out to be a fun game, interesting post ...have a nice day @hanshotfirst

Wow! With your amazing description of some of the action and epic films you've watched, no one would ever think you are a ...

scaredy cat
or a real wuss

Lolz, good to know.

Meanwhile, the escape room really sounds like fun. Especially if it the family centered or family friendly kind, like you suggested.

nice 👍 love it

Really Nice!

Congratulations @hanshotfirst!
Your post was mentioned in the hit parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 8 with $ 267,4

this is very usage full post

Nice post, upvoted and followed. kindly see my post and upvote and follow thanks. @hanshotfirst

So much fun and adventures in one post. Some line are really fun which make me laugh so harder and louder, this post is worth reading to fullest.

Wow another movie that I will surely watch.
Thank you @hanshotfirst
And thank you for your support for me as well.

Nice one. Pls follow me and promote me @ godwinbanks

Sounds really fun especially done with the family. I think there is a version of that in here as well which is called Mystery Manila.

Anything you do that's fun with your kids is good! JV

Nice! We have a similar game here in my country. It's called, Mystery Manila. Check it out when you happen to be here. :-)

Great job my friend!

Never heard of "Escape room" before in my life. Maybe because, where I grew up in this part of the world, there was no need for an escape room, {Even the escape room would still need an escape room} lol

Very nice article my friend @hanshotfirst ,i think its a fun and great adventure. Cause you and your family enjoy it.have fun my friend!thank you for posting about this article.

Hey very good Han - had never heard of these escape room adventure before - glad you and the family found it enjoyable. It would certainly be something I would enjoy too - love puzzles, challenges etc. SK.

Wow..its great family working....love it

So cool! I love to try this one 😊

I just followed you! Nice to see a guy who also loves puzzles!