We are going to bring you back to the US this week after doing several “throw back” posts. Lately we have been staying close to home due to the soccer, swimming and school schedules. During Thanksgiving, however, we got out of town and headed south to visit my family in Eugene. My mom saw a news story about a business that just opened in the Eugene/Springfield area boasting some amazing escape rooms. She quickly got online and booked the family in for a session with Portal Escape Rooms.
For those who have never done escape rooms, here is how it works:
When you arrive at their Springfield location they greet you wearing white coats, which give a fun “mad scientist” feel. They check you in, give you a key so you can lock up all of your belongings (no phones and bags in the rooms, so you might even want to leave that stuff at home if you can) and play a short informational video on how things work and the rules. They then escort you to your rooms and start the timer. You have 60 minutes to solve all of the clues and reach your objective in each of the rooms.
Portal Escape Rooms currently has 3 rooms that they are running: “Tomb of the Gods”, “Tokyo Heist” and “The Outlaw of El Paso”. We did the following two rooms.
The Tomb of the Gods
In this escape room you will be navigating through the jungles of Mexico to an ancient Aztec tomb and discover what has become of a missing team of explorers. This series involves 3 rooms that you will work your way through. This was a really fun room with a variety of puzzles you have to solve involving some acts of physics, working out all sorts of codes and just using intuition in finding clues hidden all over! As beginners this was a fun room to start with. It is considered mid-level on the difficulty scale.
In this series of 4 rooms you will be working to pull off a heist against one of your bosses competitors located in Tokyo. You start off in the target’s penthouse overlooking the city. The goal is to get in, get the gold, and get out. This has been rated as the hardest set of puzzles they have and we found it both challenging and fun. I think these rooms were some of my favorites in regards to design aesthetic. There is a lot of thought and detail put into each space (including the other rooms) and you can feel they are trying to give you the best experience possible.
We were able to finish Tokyo Heist in the allotted time (we did it in 56 minutes) but weren’t able to finish the other room (we were 1 clue away when the timer went off). Being complete newbies when it came to escape rooms we learned there is a small learning curve when you first get in there and the Tomb of the Gods was our first venture into the world of Escape Rooms. You need to change your mind set to one that is more investigative and curious. When you head into the room you are given an iPad that allows you to communicate with “control” and they will give you clues or prompts that help you along if you need it. You can have as many clues as you like, but after 3 clues are given you are no longer eligible for a spot on the leader-board.
The 3 brothers who own this business also own the building and are able to set things up and change them as they wish. They come up with all of the puzzles you are solving and have various themes in the design queue for the future. The 3 rooms listed above are currently open and they are working on a 4th room they said will hopefully open in about 5 months. They will also change out rooms that are currently available to keep us guessing and problem solving in the future!
This is a great activity for a family and all ages help in different ways, although I would say kids 6 and up are going to do better than the itty-bitties. You are working for an hour and that can seem like a long time for the under 6 age crowd. Our son is 10 and was solving some of the puzzles on his own before we even thought of them, which was equal parts shocking and super helpful. Everyone thinks differently and it is an interesting experience for families to work together!
We highly recommend this activity, so check them out!
Disclaimer: We purchased one session but were graciously given a second session by Portal Escape Rooms. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review. These guys really earned it. All photos are used with permission from Portal Escape Rooms.