It was a cold rainy winter day just before Christmas in Austin and we had heard a lot of good things about Austin Panic Room so we decided to give it a try. And we (10 of us ranging in age from 6 to 72) had a blast and can't wait to try it again. If you're not familiar with a panic room, also known as an escape room, here is a short lesson: your group is locked in a room and needs to solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategies hidden in the room. The clues are designed to help you escape the room in fixed amount of time! In our case, we had ninety minutes to escape from the Cabin. The scenario was: "a fierce blizzard had hit our secluded ski resort! Caught in the snow, the 10 of us were forced to take shelter in a nearby cabin. But beware, the old wooden structure could only stand the brunt of the storm for ninety minutes and we needed to find a way to escape the cabin or succumb to the fury of the blizzard." Sounds easy.
When we heard those rules and were told that compared to the four other Austin Panic Rooms, the Cabin was the easiest we figured with 5 "A" students and 5 college degrees we would be able to set a record escape time, which we were told is 29 minutes. I'm sad to say we weren't even close - but we still had a great time.
We got a short introduction and some ideas from our moderator and entered the Cabin which is about the size of a living room - about 20 feet long by 15 feet wide. We all immediately spread out and individually started looking for clues - big error! Hint, be a little more organized as you search for clues to help you escape. Every so often we would hear an excited "I found one" and we would swamp that person to find out what it was they discovered, which in most cases led to another riddle, clue, or puzzle or a key or combination that unlocked everything but the back door to the cabin.
I don't want to give it away but here is an example of some of the clues or riddles we encountered:
There were at least eight locks that required either a key, number, or letter combination and maybe 15 or so clues, puzzles, or riddles that we needed to solve. All of the clues and riddles and puzzles and more were very cleaver and I was sworn to secrecy not to tell you too much that would help you escape. I was given permission to say "mirror, mirror on the wall..."
We thought we were doing well and had only been at it for 15 minutes or so when our moderator who was watching us on a hidden camera said "you've only got 30 minutes left, do you want your first of 4 clues?" A resounding "Yes" echoed from the room. Didn't look like with all of our intelligence we were going to set a new record, so goal became to try to escape before our time ran out! We got all four clues and still didn't make it out until our moderator walked in and helped us with the final clue.
We all had a blast and I think the kids solved at least a third or more of the clues - they loved it and said "let's try another room." We all agreed that was a good idea but all the rooms were booked. The ride home was a buzz with chatter about the riddles, clues, and cleverness of what we experienced!
Austin Panic Room is part of the Texas Panic Room chain of panic rooms - the others are in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Lubbock, and Rockville, MD. Each location has different rooms. Austin for example has 5 rooms:
Grab some friends, business associates (great team building opportunity), or family and give Austin Panic Room or any of the other rooms a try!