60 minutes. That’s all the time you have to escape using the clues left in the room. What kind of room? How did you get there? You signed up for it, silly!
You may have to free Houdini’s soul from a triple locked trunk before time was up or your soul would be locked in the trunk with him. You might have to escape from an Aztec Temple before it crumbles to the ground and be buried beneath the ruins.
Here’s the North County guide to escape rooms that will surely become your new obsession.
School of Hard Locks (Carlsbad)
School of Hard Locks is a great place to start your escape room journey with three rooms that you must test your puzzle solving skills. Whether it’s a corporate team building event or a fun night out with friends, these will be 60 minutes you won’t soon forget. The goal is simple: find clues, solve puzzles, and work together to unlock the door. Kids under 16 can join in on the fun, too, as long as there is an adult with them.
The story behind the School of Hard Locks:
“Hiram Mack laid the cornerstone of the very first School of Hard Locks in 1870. A locksmith by trade, Hiram was an inveterate tinkerer, a laughing practical joker, and he could spin a tall tale to withstand a New England snowstorm. Hiram made a fortune with his patented unbreakable combination locks, and wishing to leave a legacy of not just strong locks but also strong minds, he built the Victorian School of Hard Locks with his own capable hands and wrote out its motto in his careful handwriting: “To Strengthen and Expand the Mind and Promote Industry and Good Fellowship.” As the years passed, the School of Hard Locks flourished, but always remained true to Hiram’s initial vision: to expand the mind and the spirit of enterprise. For one hundred years students learned the value of persistence, analytical thinking and a positive attitude.
It was March 7, 1970, when everything changed. Opening day for the Hard Lock Aussie’s baseball team, the whole school came out to watch a thrilling game against their arch rivals. Suddenly, the skies darkened, and for five minutes noon was transformed to midnight as a total eclipse of the sun descended. When the sun reappeared, everyone was gone – students, teachers, athletes – there was no one left, and they were never to be seen again. Since that day the noise and activity of the school continue to be heard from the school grounds. Bells ring, footsteps resound, along with laughter, cheers and shouts – but from whom they come, no one knows.
In the 45 years since that awful day the townspeople have passed by the seemingly abandoned building, listening to the inexplicable sounds of a school in session. Only the most daring have ventured inside. Those that return in under an hour tell stories of being trapped in classrooms and offices and having to use the very skills so prized by Hiram Mack to facilitate their escape. Those who took more than an hour tell no such stories – they are still somewhere locked inside.”
- Address: 2850 Pio Pico Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
- Book a Room!
Clue Avenue (Escondido)
Clue Avenue is just about to open in Escondido. The owners fell ill with the same obsession as I did, but they took it a step further by opening their own business out of it.
“From the very beginning our goal was to create an Escape Room gaming experience that was different from any other one currently running in San Diego county. Yes, one of our ultimate goals was to be the “best”, but that was not our initial goal. Instead, we wanted to create an environment where “game-players” could get completely engulfed in the compelling story-line and atmosphere that we created, as well as construct thought-provoking questions and scenarios that would have them talking about their experience long after they’ve played!”
And I have to tell you, if you’ve ever done an escape room, you WILL be talking about it weeks after you played.
What room will you be escaping from at Clue Avenue? Villain’s Lair.
An evil super villain with a vendetta against the world has created a poisonous substance that he is planning on releasing it first to all of San Diego county, then the world! We sent a spy in months ago to infiltrate his lab and get more info, but we haven’t heard from him for a week! We need your help!
Clue Avenue is working to expand into two rooms and will be changing their escape rooms every six months.
- Address: 201 E Grand Ave #2g, Escondido, CA 92025
- Book a room!
House of Hints (San Marcos)
House of Hints has three (3) rooms that you can try to escape from ranging from medium difficulty to insanity. You must bring your cleverest of friends to the insanity room. Having just had their grand opening, they are working hard to bring you the last two rooms. Perfect time to get room 1 under your belt.
Room 1: Last Will & Testament
Your mysterious Uncle has passed away and left you his most treasured keepsake. But wait… is THAT what I think it is? Two identical rooms for you to race your friends!
Room 2: The Pawn Shop (coming soon)
The search is on! A long lost artifact is hidden somewhere in a mysterious Pawn Shop. Beware… evil forces are on the loose and think they can find it first. Hurry! HURRY!
Room 3: Back Stage Crew (coming soon)
The curtain has gone up and an assassin in on the loose! Can you figure out who is trying to kill the Prime Minister and foil their sinister plans? So many suspects and so little time!
- Address: 1355 Grand Ave Suite 107, San Marcos
- Book a room!
Ok. I’ve got the escape room bug. It’s your turn now. You’ll thank me soon enough!