Escape Rooms… GO!

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Tic Toc Escape Rooms

Imagine getting yourself locked in a room on purpose… and the only way out is to solve puzzles that lead to the key. Sound claustrophobic? Impossible? Exciting?

Since our family loves mind games, this sounded like the perfect activity for families with teens. So, we went. We puzzled. We smiled. We laughed.

About our experience

On arrival at an escape room, guests must sign a release form — all about warnings against claustrophobia, not destroying the props, guarding the secrets of the puzzles and granting permission for minors to participate. After that, they provide a couple simple demonstrations using props in the lobby to explain how to solve puzzles…. and then the fun begins!

Tic Toc Escapes Green Room

We stepped through the doors of the Green Room. We have become a rock band with an hour until our big debut on stage.

Click. The door locks.

For a moment, we stood in the middle of the room — the only thing we understood was the countdown clock up in the corner.

TIC TOC… 59 minutes 32 seconds to go.

And then, we searched. Clues were everywhere and nowhere. For quite a while, nothing made much sense.

This is where personalities come in. Ellie, only 11 and inquisitive, looked at everything. Ben, a visual artist, searched (and found) clues with connections. Quiet Rob just soaked it in — his wheels calmly turning. Orderly me, well, I was a bit overwhelmed.

Then, we figured out the first clue and things took off from there.

About 30 minutes in, we hit a snag. We had a clue mostly figured out, but couldn’t solve it. I admit, I got frustrated. I knew I should be able to figure it out but I couldn’t.

TIC TOC…. time passed. We finally decided to use a hint. (Phew — you get three! I recommend you give yourself 15 minutes before even thinking about a hint. It takes a while to figure out what you’re trying to do.)

Pieces started falling into place. Ben was quick to put things together. Ellie kept finding little things that the rest of us would not have thought to consider. Rob’s quiet wheels started connecting ideas. Even I figured out a few things!

The closer we got to solving the puzzle the more exciting it got — and yet, also frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I said, “We should be able to figure this out.” UGH!

Tic Toc Escapes Green Room
GAH! How do we get it out?

TIC TOC…. with about 12 minutes left, I wondered if we’d get out in time.

With about 4 minutes to go, we made a huge leap forward — solving several clues in quick succession. And then…. we got there — only one little task kept us from escaping.

Ben, our secret weapon and usually calm guy, figured it all out. He ran to find the key and I…

watched the clock! TIC TOC.

He was slower than I wanted him to be. At 3 minutes and 30 seconds I started counting down.

“Moooooommmmmmmm. Stop. That’s not helping!” (TeeHee — not like I thought it would)

He solved the puzzle and withdrew the key, handing it solemnly over to Ellie.

Voila! We escaped! (With a little over a minute to spare!)

As we stepped through the door, the team was there to greet us with high fives. So much fun!

Mom Says – Kids Say: escape rooms 

Mom says: I give escape rooms 5-stars! It’s been four days since our visit and we still smile when we talk about it. I’m grinning from ear to ear as I write this.

I expected to feel claustrophobic, but they provide an escape key — so if you do panic or need the restroom, you can leave. Also, while it sounds creepy, the staff watches on a closed circuit monitor the whole time. All you have to do is call out, and they’re right there. When we used our hints, they did that by speaker through the monitoring system. Very nice.

This was the most fun activity I’ve ever done with my teen son (seriously). Working together, seeing how our different processing methods worked, and celebrating our victories was just wonderful. We even picked up a cake on the way home to celebrate our victory! I cannot recommend it enough for families with teens and young adults.

With that said, Ellie (age 11) was young for this activity. Her brain hasn’t quite moved into the abstract thinking stage that’s needed to really solve the clues. Her natural curiosity certainly helped us out with a few key things, but I don’t think she got as much of a thrill from it as the rest of us.

Ben (18 y/o) says: I want a job there. (He does.) On a scale of 1-10, escape rooms are a 10 — easily. It makes you think, but because you want to solve the riddles/puzzles/games and escape. The challenge is perfect for teens and parents and friends too.

Ellie (11 y/o) says: I liked that we were allowed to touch everything in the room. We were supposed to! It was fun to look for clues that matched each other, but it was really hard too.

In a rare appearance, Dad says: Great concept and the Tic Toc Escapes team is great. Loads of fun. Highly recommended to families with kids 14+.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR: Families with teens! This is hands-down the best activity for family fun we have ever done.