Can you get out? Think outside the box for an hour at Fresno Escape Room
BY FARIN MONTAÑEZ
The Clovis Independent
Last night I found myself shackled to a wall in the cargo hold of a pirate ship.
My 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were shackled next to me, along with my coworker, Katie, and her 11- and 13-year-old sons.
We had one hour to escape the belly of the boat — and steal our rivals’ treasure, to boot.
We were immersed in this challenge at Fresno Escape Room on Shaw near Minnewawa in Clovis. We were playing Crimson Storm, one of two options available at the new family entertainment business that opened Aug. 17.
Our band of swashbucklers had to dust off parts of our brains that are rarely put to use in order to discover clues and keys, decipher cryptic messages and play with numbers to figure out the combinations to several locks.
When you’re in an escape room with a countdown clock ticking away the seconds on the wall, there is nothing more satisfying than the click of a lock opening to reveal your next puzzle.
“Crimson Storm has been our big hit so far,” said manager Gina Nixon. “Our Pipeworks game is for larger parties; it is an engineering theme where you can work together or competitively.”
About 100 people had come to play the game within the first two weeks of Fresno Escape Room’s opening. These interactive adventure game rooms have been popping up all over the country, with three already open in our area and a fourth preparing to open, said Fresno Escape Room owner Brian Lacertosa.
Lacertosa opened his first escape room in Denver in November 2014 and then partnered with friend Cody Gaines, a Bakersfield resident, to market the idea across the western states. The pair own six escape rooms in Colorado, Oregon, Arizona and California, with Fresno being the newest.
The area was appealing because of its large college base and need for more entertainment venues, Lacertosa said.
“Our target audience is everybody, but especially college age, millennials, young families; it’s a great date night kind of thing,” he said.
It’s also a good team-building exercise for companies, Nixon added.
“It makes you think outside of the box and think about clues and puzzles that you don’t normally do on a regular basis,” Nixon said. “It gets everybody involved because you have to communicate in order to progress.”
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