Escape Room­….

We took the kids to an “Adventure Room” for a day of fun—to a maximum of 45 minutes.

We chose the “Playroom” theme because anything with pirates or zombies or darkness might have encouraged us to dig our way out through the drywall and that’s in the fine print under “Things Not To Do” when we signed our waivers. We thought the playroom setting might be more up our alley despite being told the playroom was the most difficult room to escape from.

Have they met our family? We are lock picking geniuses! I’ve changed diapers while going through the self-serve check-out at the grocery store and fully expect to be demanding a refund after exiting the playroom before the timer even has a chance to start.

The room was small and cold. The staff member who went over the rules explained that there was a fan in the room because it sometimes got hot because it was small. She said the fan had nothing to do with any of the puzzles and asked that we please not touch or move it.

Greg and I immediately agreed with a head nod we would be disassembling the fan the moment we had access to the room, would find the hidden key taped behind one of the fan blades and be on our way. We would use the refund money to stop for ice cream on the way home and be heroes in our children’s eyes—Escape Room World Record Holders.

The room was kind of a crummy playroom. There was an old dresser, a couple of shelves on the wall, some tacky wall decals, some books, an abacus and a small, round table with two stools.

The clock on the overhead computer was counting down from 45 minutes. At the 40 minute mark, just five minutes in, we had found a clue that made no sense. It was a recipe card with some words printed on it though several were missing so we placed it in the corner as part of a collection of clues we would soon be adding very little to.

There were combination locks on several of the dresser drawers so we randomly guessed at various series of numbers that didn’t work, we spelled names, we counted items around the room. We tried our birth dates. No luck.

I found a thick, gold pin under the dresser and spent the rest of our time turning over the table, the stools, a small, hand-held game and tried to unscrew things in order to find treasures. We later learned the pin was not part of the game and had no business being on the floor of the room at all. I’m going to demand that refund.

We called for our first free clue. The girl who told us not to touch the fan entered the room (fan in pieces in the corner), sighed (this can’t be the first time) and told us to look to the abacus on the floor.

And look to it we did. Except aside from looking at it and flicking the colourful beads back and forth, we had no idea what we were meant to do with it.

Our second call for a clue came at a record, 1 minute after our first clue when we told her we didn’t know what we should do with the abacus and that the room was starting to get hot.

She suggested we count the puggins around the room.

Awesome. WTF is a puggin? It turned out they were characters from a video game none of us had played or heard of and spoiler alert! We miscounted.

None of the locks had been opened with about 5 minutes left in the game, I had disassembled all furniture and fans and the kids were sweating.

Hanna was playing with the hand-held toy, Chloe was reading one of the children’s books and Ellie was trying to beat the clock by testing every lock while scanning her own retina.

We were unable to successfully escape the play room that day. Greg said if we’d had another hour, we would have made it out. I think if they’d given us three months, we’d still be there.

Poor fan.

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