ST. GEORGE — Tucked away in an unobtrusive building around the corner from the Electric Theater is a local favorite that gives its customers a chance to solve a mystery and escape from a locked room.
Located in its new digs, the Mystery Escape Room at 40 S. 100 East offers non-claustrophobic patrons a chance to solve a conundrum based on two popular books including Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” and Sir Authur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskerville,” which attempts to solve why the hound could not leave the Baskerville family alone, something the author never addressed.
“Everything in the rooms means something,” Pardew said. “Some of the (dilemmas) take multiple people to figure out.”
The concept is to solve numerous interactive puzzles and unravel the mystery within the allotted one-hour time limit to escape the room, owner Les Pardew said.
“If you can imagine, instead of going to a movie or playing a video game, you can come here to be in the story,” Pardew said. “We create a story that we embed into a room, and a group of between six and eight ideally, but up to 12, will solve the mystery to escape the room.”
If the group gets stuck, an employee monitoring the progress can step in to help. But if they cannot escape in 60 minutes, “they die,” Pardew added.
“It’s really like going on a virtual adventure,” he said. “There is a lot of creative things in the rooms. It’s a focus on making great experiences for people. We are really selling them the experience.”
A typical cost for the one hour experience is $25 per person.
The business began in 2015 on Ancestor Square, then they moved to the Red Hills Mall on a temporary basis. The Mystery Escape Room is now in a more permanent location.
Escape rooms began in Japan in 2007 and quickly spread across Asia and came to the United States around 2014 when the Mystery Escape Room opened operations in Salt Lake City. The company also has rooms in Tucson, Arizona, and companywide it employs approximately 30 people.
Coming to St. George was a natural fit with its population growth and a city willing to embrace the concept, Pardew said.
“There is a lot happening down here,” he added. “I think it’s going to continue to grow and it was a smart move at the time.”
Along with the two rooms currently in St. George, Pardew is planning to open a third room based on a Nancy Drew novel. The novel and opening date are yet to be determined.
The one caveat to the experience is that cellphones and other technology are not allowed.
“Based on what you find in the room, there is a solution,” Pardew said. “It’s pretty immersive entertainment. People have said that was the fastest hour they ever had.”
One target audience is corporate team building, Pardew added, because the Mystery Escape Room provides the “perfect” opportunity to create relationships within a company that otherwise may not form.
The Mystery Escape Room is open by appointment from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 435-237-8470 or email at [email protected]
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