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Guest Blogger

Lea Watson

Lea is originally from the East Coast and currently calls Old Strathcona home.

She loves to explore and experience all that Edmonton and the rest of the world have to offer.

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EXIT Escape Room!

Thursday January 05 , 2017

My introduction to escape rooms only began a few months ago when I first walked into EXIT on Whyte, located at 10534 82nd Ave. It was the big bright neon green EXIT sign that attracted us. Our quest through their Medieval adventure ended with only 2 puzzles left to solve. The thrill of the chase was all it took, I was hooked. Two weeks later I was back at EXIT challenging Division 37; another escape room with a 3-star difficulty level. It was another failed attempt, but this time only one puzzle remained when the clock stopped.

When the opportunity arose to challenge EXIT’s Catacombs, I jumped at the chance; 3rd time's the charm, right? Sure, Catacombs is 4-star difficulty level, but I was determined to win.

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Olivia, the assistant manager standing with that awesome neon green sign.

EXIT on Whyte is one of 10 locations across Canada. They are open seven days a week and reservations can be made online or over the phone. For weekends, book a few days ahead to get your preferred room. During the week, the best times to book are before 7pm (this is their slow time). With 5 rooms to choose from; Division 37, Clinic, Catacombs, Killer’s Game, and Medieval 2, it's hard to pick just one. Each room has varying degrees of difficulty. The suggested age is over ten years old, especially for Killers Game and Clinic.

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On a cold Thursday December evening I arrived at EXIT ready to face the Catacombs challenge and meet with Olivia, the assistant manager, to learn more about EXIT.  As I walked in, I immediately noticed all the creative holiday decorations; so very festive! Olivia came out, greeted me, and we headed to the boardroom for a chat. It was a good size room with a large wooden table in the middle, perfect for hosting corporate bookings, office parties, and birthdays. For party packages, Olivia explained they offer group based discounts for escape rooms with the boardroom included. She also told me about their Eat and Escape deal, which pairs an escape room experience with a discount at local restaurants.   

At the time, the boardroom was being used as a workshop for planning and building Medieval 2. There were little bits and pieces all over, making me realize how much work goes into creating one of these adventures. For each themed escape experience at EXIT, set designers are sent from head office to construct the walls and decor for each room. The storyline is also provided, but all the gadgets, puzzles, and placement of locks are planned, fabricated, and set up in-house by the local owner and employees.

Olivia shared that she has enjoyed bringing her art and creativity to work, making props for Medieval 2. This room will be a “choose your own adventure”. It is the only one of its kind in Edmonton. At the start of the adventure you will be given a choice to follow Merlin’s path to discover why Camelot has fallen or Arthur’s path in search of the Holy Grail. Since it offers two completely different storylines, teams are able to come back and play the room again pursuing the other path. It opened on December 18th; to learn more check out their Facebook page.

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The fun holiday decorations in the lobby

After we finished chatting, Olivia brought me back to the lobby to join my teammates; my husband JC and my friend Courtney. To prepare us for the task ahead, Olivia showed us how to properly use the different types of locks, including number locks, letter locks, directional locks, and digital keypads on the doors. She told us if we needed any help to use the intercom. With all the details out of the way, we placed our valuables, including cell phones, wallets, and purses, into a locker and started down the hallway.

The hallway was jet black and lined with doors on each side, giving it a very mysterious feeling. Olivia chose a door to our right and we stepped into a secret library. It was a small room with dim lights, many bookshelves, and a desk. The attention to detail in the room was impeccable, it seemed like we had stepped into a different building. Courtenay and I turned on our lamp flashlights. They created eerie shadows against the walls as Olivia set the scene for us.

In our role as investigators, we were following the path of a suspect which has taken us into a secret library. This suspect is linked to a satanic cult group and believed to be up to no good. It is our job to follow the clues, find the entrance to the Catacombs, discover what they are planning, and escape!

Olivia set the clock, closed the door, and our adventure began!

We started frantically searching for clues to open the door which would lead us into the next room. We spent the first 20 minutes sorting through all the information and learning how to work as a team. Once we identified each other's strengths and weakness, it became easier to work through the puzzles.

Tip: we made sure to use our hints right away with difficult puzzles before we got too stuck.

The rest of the rooms, puzzles, and paths I will leave as a mystery for you to discover on your own. Fast forward to the end of our adventure with eight minutes left on the clock, one last door clicked, and we had escaped! We rushed out, adrenaline pumping, and high fives all around!

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Starting from the left; JC, Courtenay, & me!

We thanked Olivia for such a great time, shook hands, and wandered out into the cold night feeling like heroes.