August 1, 2016 11:07AM
By Brooke Constance White
Sun staff writer
MYSTIC — Imagine being with nine other people in a room filled with mind-boggling puzzles, mysterious objects and a plethora of hidden clues that must be pieced together to “escape” the room. Sounds pretty fun, eh?
Shelly Wilson certainly thought it did when she and her husband took their teenage children to several “escape room adventures” while on family vacations, and those trips inspired her to open Mystified Escape Room Adventures in a 2,700-square-foot portion of the former West Marine location next to McQuade’s Marketplace.
“It was really nice to find something that we loved, while we were unplugged and also being challenged mentally at the same time,” she said. “Now, every time we take a vacation, we look for an escape room to enjoy. As time went on, we thought that Mystic would be a great place for an escape room, especially with the influx of tourism and the nightlife.”
With the official opening on Wednesday, the Waterford resident is hopeful that the new attraction will fill a niche and offer something fun for tourists and locals to do after hours.
The new venture should add a new dynamic to Mystic, she said.
“Our 60-minute games don’t even start till 3 p.m. or so and then run until 9 or 10 p.m.,” she said. “We’ve talked with some of the staff at local hotels around here and they said they’re excited to have something other than dinner ideas to offer guests after the big attractions close.”
At the moment, Wilson has two rooms set up with two separate games. The first is themed “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” where players must escape from Captain Nemo’s prison cell and the second is “Treasure Island” which requires players to find Long John Silver’s gold before pirates get it. The game is full of riddles and puzzles that players must work together to figure out. It can be somewhat stressful, Wilson said, but it can also be a great team building and leadership activity for a group of co-workers or family members.
To keep things fresh, she plans to introduce new games several times a year based on the feedback she receives. If all goes well, a third room will be added in the near future.
Aside from the game rooms, which Wilson wouldn’t allow photos of to keep the experience a surprise, the lobby area of the facility is tastefully decorated with an industrial, steam punk theme, a kind of fantasy setting that incorporates technology based on 19th-century steam-powered machinery.
For example, there’s a countertop that is full of gears and gadgets and a chandelier with large light bulbs hanging down from it.
“To match our decor, all of our eight staffers dress in Victorian Steam Punk-style costumes and some have even been talking in accents, which is really fun,” she said. “I’ve been to some escape room adventures where they throw you in front of a television screen but I wanted this to have a personal element to it. Our guests are always being attended to by a real person and fun person at that.”