KITC would like to welcome back, guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel. During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival. During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.
Two years ago, I didn’t understand all the buzz about escape rooms. The concept of locking yourself up in a room and having to escape within a certain time seemed crazy to me.
My perspective totally changed when we recently tried an escape room in Kingston, Ontario. Our family had a great time searching for clues and working together. It left us wanting to find an escape room closer to home in Ottawa.
We checked online and found one close to our house that looked like fun, Room Escape Ottawa. There were five different rooms to choose from with three being listed as youth-friendly. Despite our son, David’s, protests to try the scariest room, we all settled on Boom Room. The description listed the room as being a rigged enemy bunker that was timed to explode with only sixty minutes to escape. Our house has a similar feel in the morning to get everyone up and out the door on time so I thought our chances were good.
We arrived at Room Escape on Bank Street and found out it was in the same facility and business as Archery Games Ottawa. I wondered if perhaps we did not finish the room on time, we might have to do archery games without a bow and arrow!
We were greeted by our escape room host who went over some of the procedures and gave us the scenario. We entered the room and quickly got to work. The room was dimly lit except for a red emergency light giving the space the feel of a World War II bunker. It was authentically decorated with camouflage and other military paraphernalia.
We were also provided with a walkie-talkie where we could request assistance. Clues were provided either via a television or our host would come in to assist. I thought this was a great feature especially for those with younger kids as it could be frustrating to be stuck on one puzzle for too long.
I do not want to give away too much of the escape room in case you try it, but let’s just say there were many different elements including cracking codes, interpreting a board game and diffusing bombs. Ultimately, we did not make it all the way out of the room but got very close.
This experience is a great way to teach problem-solving skills, working together and generally just having a great time.
Room Escape Ottawa has two other rooms which are suggested for the younger set. Stranded explores being stuck on an alien planet while another De-Composed is listed as being Canada’s first multiplayer virtual reality escape room.
We will certainly be back to Room Escape Ottawa whether to try out another escape room or archery games. I still don’t think anyone from their staff could escape our house as quickly as we do on a Monday morning!