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We chose aliens because of the summer reading challenge theme of 2019: A Universe of Stories.
The Objective: The Infinity Space Shuttle has been infiltrated by aliens. They have entered the shuttle’s entry pod and have disabled systems. Your objective is to get the key out of the locked box and then eliminate the aliens in the entry pod.
This program can be as expensive as you want. I recommend using a theme based on a party you’ve done before and have a lot of supplies. Locks will be the most expensive and you can get some locks at the Dollar Store.
The Escape Room
We used the hasp lock method because it’s easier for a large group to solve and it’s easier to plan with several people-each person is responsible for a lock/puzzle.
- UV Light Cypher-My co worker found a cypher online, printed it on beige paper, then crumpled it. He put the answer on Post-its. We put the answer key in a different part of the room. We put the UV light near the Post Its in a box full of other random stuff. We called the box space junk. We used a letter lock.
- Tube Cypher-My co-worker found a different cypher online and put it on a large Tootsie Roll tube. (You can find these large tubes if you have a Five Below store or here on Amazon) She put the cypher reader on the inside of the tube. We used a number lock.
- Key Inside a Book-My co-worker hollowed out a book and then changed the cover with paper to fit her clue. We used a standard key lock.
- Rotating Cypher-My co-worker made a spinning cypher and provided the clue. There were 20 flags around the room and they all had a QR code on the back. She made the codes on QR Code Generator and chose text. 19 flags had an error message and the correct code told participants how to use the lock. We used a number and letter lock.
- Solar System-This was my puzzle. I put pictures of the planets on a bulletin board and I put numbers on six of them. Participants had to put the planets in order of distance from the sun, use the numbers as a code to get into a locked Chromebook. Once they unlocked the Chromebook, they listened to a distress call. They were told the secret code word during the instructions. We used a slide lock.
- Call Numbers- He found call numbers from three books that served as the three numbers to open the lock. I forgot to take a picture of this puzzle-sorry. We used a combo lock.
The Entry Pod
Our meeting room can be split into two rooms. The puzzles were on one side and the entry pod was in the other room. We had one alien standee but we needed six in total and we didn’t want to pay $40 for each. So we decided to take our old standees, Batman, Abe Lincoln, Gaston, etc, and we put alien faces on them.
We scattered the standees and boxes around the room. We also put random stuff maintenance had to look industrial. We used laser guns to eliminate the aliens. We put the laser sensor on the aliens and we gave the patron the gun. These laser guns are cool because water vapor releases when the target is hit.
We had three staffers armed with Nerf Guns shooting at the participants; they also wore sensors. Once the participants shot all the aliens, including staff who wore sensors, the escape room was over.
The Day of the Escape Room
We set our times 1.5 hours apart. We are open from 9-5 on Saturdays so we were able to get five groups. Because we only had eight laser guns, we accommodated eight people/group. Patrons had to pick a time slot.
We have large TVs on carts so we found a timer on the internet and hooked up a Chromebook to the TV to project the timer for the participants.
We gave them small clues when we saw patrons struggling because it’s no fun when patrons are stuck on one clue.
- Have staff or volunteers run through your escape room a couple of times. Observe them and make changes. Also, ask them for feedback.
- This program was for ages 8 to adult. Our clues were a bit too challenging for the younger kids. If you do this with older teens, it should be easy enough.
- With adults participating, including staff who tested, it took each group the entire time to complete and every group needed help from staff. I recommend giving small hints if you see teams getting frustrated or when their time is running out. It’s not fun when they aren’t solving puzzles.
- Before teams entered the entry pod, I gave them a tutorial on how to use the guns. The guns are very easy to use.
- The staff in the entry pod played music as ambiance and it was great.
- We put black tableclothes over the windows of the entry pod so no one could see in.
- The entry pod portion only took about 3 minutes to complete. I wish it took longer because it was fun for the teams but it’s not hard to hit those laser targets.
- It only took us 5 minutes to reset the room between groups which was GREAT! We were able to take snack and lunch breaks between groups.
- We only had 2 staff members run the escape room day.
Each group contained a family so this was a great family program. Everyone had fun and asked about the next escape room-we don’t have one planned for a LONG time LOL.