If you know me or follow me on social media, you know about my most recent obsession…room escapes!!! For those of you who don’t know, room escapes are entertainment venues that offer to lock you in a room (not literally, fire code is pretty important to follow) and you have a certain amount of time to escape the room by solving a series of connected puzzles and mysteries. It is fantastic amounts of fun. In this post, I will take you through a bunch of room escapes I have tried in Southern California (spoiler free, of course!) in hopes that you will jump on the bandwagon and try some of these out. Here is my current So Cal directory of room escapes the I have tried. As I try more, I will add to the list.
Trapped Room Escape – Upland, California
This room escape company is special to our family because they are responsible for starting our room escape obsession. I had recently watched an episode of the famous television show The Bachelorette. On one of the episodes, the bachelorette went to a room escape on one of her one-on-one dates. It looked like something our family would be into, but things they do on the bachelor franchise are often out of the budget of a typical middle class family. In our family we give each other experiential gifts, meaning instead of physical presents (who needs more stuff?) we give experiences to our family members. I came across the Trapped Room Escape webpage. It had recently opened. We decided to try the Puzzlemaster Room for Mom’s birthday.
- PuzzleMaster Room-The room’s story is that a criminal mastermind has locked you in his mansion and you have one hour to solve puzzles before a gas is released into the room.
Needless to say, we had a BLAST! We didn’t make it out, but an obsession was born in that room on this night. We also came to the early realization that a good room escape can be a super fun experience, even if you don’t make it out.
Later on, my husband and I decided to try another room at Trapped that is no longer available. It was called The Chamber.
- The Chamber – This room was not for the faint of heart. You started the room handcuffed in a completely dark room. You are awakened by a loud knock at the door. Let the puzzle solving begin!
A lot of people are turned off by the idea of room escapes because they are scary. Most of the many rooms we have done are not scary, so that really shouldn’t be a factor that keeps you from trying one. That being said, this one was freaky, but they were very up-front about the theme and physical requirements beforehand. We also didn’t make it out of this room, but this was only because we had to rely on other people (strangers that had never done a room escape before) to solve the puzzles. We spent a lot of time trying to get one person to follow our directions to get us out of the handcuffs. That was a bit disappointing, but may be one of the reasons they re-themed that room.
Recently, I decided for my birthday present I wanted to spend the whole day room escaping. Trapped is one of the few room escapes with multiple rooms that you can do this at. You can literally go from room to room and spend your entire day solving puzzles. We did their newest room, Sector 13, and their first room they made, called Jailbreak.
- Sector 13 – One of your family members has been employed by a corporate science organization. Something goes wrong, a toxin is released, and you must find the antidote to help save your family member before time runs out.
Okay this room is a very unique experience. I am talking a bunch of “Whoa” type moments. The puzzles were super challenging and the effects and theming were amazing. Once again, we did not make it out, even though we were on the final clue. So again, that was a little frustrating, but the room itself was well worth the experience. If you can only try one room at Trapped, this is the one to see for yourself.
- Jailbreak – You are locked in jail cell with your group, and the worst part is that you have been convicted of crime you didn’t commit! There’s no pardon coming your way, so the only way out is to find a way to escape.
This is one of their easier rooms, but I still found it quite challenging. Parts of the room require a lot of patience because only one to two people can work on certain puzzles while the others in the room wait. We did make it out of the room, but with only 10 minutes to spare. If you go to Trapped and you want to have a good chance of making it out of the room, this one is the room to do. I am not promising you’ll make it out, but this is your best shot.
Trapped has great “wow” moments in every room they have. Sector 13 and Puzzlemaster have some definite must-see theming. Again, these are some of the more challenging rooms we have faced, so Jailbreak is the recommended one for beginners. You can tell the owner has put a lot of passion and hard work into making these rooms entertaining and enjoyable.
Cost: Trapped books by the person. All of their rooms are $29 a person. If you want to book the whole room, you have to book the maximum number of tickets that can fit in the room.
Funhouse Escapes – Menifee, California
Funhouse Escapes was our 2nd room escape we did. This place had such a personable and friendly game master and we were thrilled because we made it out of a room escape for the first time, (which we could not boast at Trapped until our 4th room we tried.) I think this room is good for first timers and I appreciate that they allowed our young children to participate. We only tried one of their multiple rooms.
- 60 Minutes Until Curtain – You are a theater troupe that has a BIG problem. Your costumes are locked in a trunk and you only have 60 minutes to solve the clues and get to your costumes before show time.
This was a fun experience for us, especially since our kids were included. It is definitely the simplest room we have done, but the friendly game master made it a memorable experience. They do have two other rooms here we have not tried. One is a sequel to the room above, and they also have a room for a very small group of 5 people max. I remember the room host telling us if you break the record time for the room, your group gets to literally break a vinyl record with the old team’s score, and then your team gets displayed on the new record. That’s fun!
Cost: Funhouse Escapes only books private rooms. It costs $250 to book a room of up to 8 people. The Stage Manger’s Office Escape is $125 for up to 5 People.
The 13th Room – Pomona, California
This was our third escape room experience, and it’s another one that we have done multiple rooms with. First, we tried the room that they named their business after, and we also did a very unique dinner/room escape combo experience. I had never done a room escape with live actors or a dinner, so that was a unique experience.
- The 13th Room – Mysterious happenings have been reported at The Mayfair Hotel. Your group is escorted to the 13th room which is the hub of all the paranormal activity. Once you’re escorted into the room, the only way out is to solve the puzzles and clues to get out before time is up.
This room was a little spooky (not too scary though), had some great themed decorations, and a few fun surprises. The room itself is located in a historic building, which adds to the authenticity of the experience.
Once again, we didn’t make it out of this room, and again, we were in a mixed group with strangers. I think the reason we didn’t make it out of a lot of the rooms we first tried is because we were still getting a feel for how a room escape works, and we soon realized that we prefer to do the rooms with our friends and family if at all possible. Strangers are a mixed bag. You have to be good at communicating what you are finding. For example someone may be walking around with a key that you need to a lock you have found. When you are doing it with strangers, communication is a little harder. Now, my husband and I always go in and take charge of the group and make sure everyone is telling us what they are finding. That makes us more successful, and everyone has a better time.
- Jack the Ripper Dinner and Room Escape Experience – Your room escape dinner starts in a restaurant across the way. While you eat you are given clues and introduced to characters that will help you in your room escape. The actors were a fun touch during the dinner portion of the experience, but sometimes they can also be a confusing misdirection. (It is important that good actors are involved in your room escape or it can come across cheesy or confusing.) After dinner is done, the journey continues, as you are led to a room where you must find a way out before Jack the Ripper returns.
The 13th Room is still available on their website, but the dinner has been re-themed to the Black Dahlia Mystery Dinner. I really encourage you to try the dinner and room escape because it is truly one of a kind experience. Think murder mystery dinner mixed with a room escape. We did not make it out of the 13th Room when we did the room, but I will say there were some technical glitches that impeded our progress on that escape. We did make it out of the Jack the Ripper room with minutes to spare. Also, again, the old building the 13th Room is located in is too cool and really adds to the atmosphere of escapes.
Cost: You can book the 13th Room online for $34. They have another room that just opened called Alcehmy and Wizardy for $34.50. You can book the dinner room escape combo experience for $69 a person.
The Curiosity Shop – Riverside, California
The Curiosity Shop is not your typical room escape. The experience is more like an interactive story. It was really spooky (I screamed out loud at one part), but really good for beginners at the same time. That is because your game masters really guide you through the room without asking you if you need help. Think of it like a game of hot and cold. You know you are onto something and you are encouraged the entire time.
- The Curiosity Shop – You are paranormal investigators that are given tools to trap the apparitions before time runs out and things really get creepy.
Needless to say, we made it out of this room with plenty of time to spare. I thought the tech in this room was really fun. They had a professional intro video, and I left the room thinking, how did they do that??? I wouldn’t recommend this one for families with younger children. We left the kiddos with a babysitter while we escaped this room. Again this escape is located in a really cool old building, this time in downtown Riverside.
Cost: They only have one room and it costs $30 a person to book up to 6 people in the room.
Mountain Room Escapes – Big Bear, California
Yes, I may be a little biased since this business is in the family, but read the reviews and you will see it is one of the number one things to do in the popular mountain town of Big Bear. These two rooms are consecutive stories, and they have one of the best story lines out there. You actually have a plausible reason that you are trying to escape the room.
- Mountain Ski Lodge – You have just come up to a mountain lodge in the worst storm of the century. When you go to check into the ski lodge it has been abandoned by staff because they are stuck in the blizzard as well. You must turn on the emergency beacon and find a way out before the weather gets worse.
- The Aftermath – This room is the sequel to Mountain Ski Lodge. You will see some of the characters from the first room reappear. I don’t want to give too much away, but this one has more of a Pink Panther/mystery feel. You will love the continuing story.
I was actually a beta tester for both rooms and I made it out with my groups. I love the combination of high-tech and low-tech puzzles, many of which are unique to these two rooms. Plus, they have the most creative and fair scoring system I have ever seen in a room escape. You get points for each minute you make it out. If you make it out with two minutes or more, you get to use those minutes in the bonus room, which helps you add points to your final score. This is the only room escape where, even if you make it out super early; you still get your full hour to play in the bonus room. (In other rooms there is no perk for making it out early, other than a leader board status. Your game just ends and that is that.) Make sure you check out the room during your mountain getaway.
Cost: $30 per adult per room and $20 for children (ages 6-12), under age 6 is free. This is definitely a family friendly experience and groups of young (yet very intelligent) children have gone through the room. Not all rooms will allow children, so if you want to bring your kids, this is the one to bring them to. Use code MYVACATIONPANTS for $3 off a ticket.
Exodus Room Escapes – Anaheim, California and Rancho Cucamonga, California
This room escape is another one of my favorites that I have done in Southern California. I have tried two of their rooms and have had stellar experiences about both. I am a sucker for a good story line and puzzles that give you that “ah-ha” moment. I felt like Exodus does a wonderful job of having real, challenging, and meaningful puzzles, with some great story telling.
- Masquerade Manor – Anaheim Location – You have been invited to a masquerade ball at a fancy mansion. As soon as you enter the masquerade, you realize there is more to this party than you thought.
- Earthquake – Quake Escape – Rancho Cucamonga Location – You are at dinner party at a fancy restaurant when an Earthquake strikes and shakes your party to pieces. It’s up to you and the other people in your party to find out what is going on.
We made it out of Masquerade Manor and made the leader board. That was an amazing feeling. I think it was because it was a challenging room and we just had an amazing rhythm going through the room. We absolutely loved going through this room together. I felt like our team was so in sync with each other. Quake Escape we did with a group of 20 people for my birthday party. It was fun to be able to do it with so many people, but a bummer because I didn’t get to see a lot of the puzzles. I am fairly sure they have redesigned the room and it is only a 10 person room now. They have multiple locations throughout southern California, so check them all out.
Cost: $30 per adult per room and $20 for children (ages 7-12), under age 7 is free.
Escape Room Palm Springs– Palm Springs, California
Escape Room Palm Springs has four different rooms in one location, so this is another place you can do a room escape marathon if you want. We have done two of their four rooms and I really want to go back and do the other ones as well. They have some great themes and puzzles. Nothing is too high tech, but the rooms are dressed to impress. I loved the design of both the rooms we did. We still hold the first place spot for the Titanic room, so that is pretty awesome!
- Dark Shadows – A witch has locked her vampire lover out of his coffin. Break the curses and help the vampire out.
- Titanic – You know the tale. The ship is sinking and the key to unlock the last lifeboat is locked in the captain’s quarters. Get out or sink to your death.
They recently upped the time they give you to solve the room from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. I like 60 minute rooms way better. I feel like rooms that are less than 60 minutes are shortchanging their guests because they often cost the same as the hour long games. We have done this room escape on two different occasions. The first time my hubby and I did a spontaneous date night to this room escape. We just chose the next room that had space. We knew we were going to be joined by another group because we nabbed the last two spots. It was fun despite doing it with a large group we didn’t know. We also made the leader board, so that was fun. The 2nd room we did on my room escape marathon day, and that was the Titanic room. That was fun because we got to do it with just our group. We also rocked the leader board. You can check out our big 1st place win here. I love that they have a leader board and that it is online. The Titanic Room also has a unique situation where you can challenge another group to the same exact room. So, if you have a larger group, you can split in to two smaller groups and race against each other. That is super different and gives it that competitive feel.
COST: $30 per person ages 12 and up. You have to call and make special arrangements if you have a 10 or 11 year old in your group and they don’t allow children under 10. This kind of bums me out because my kids would have loved the Titanic room and I want to take them to go do the Mystery Room. I think sometimes escape rooms underestimate a child’s intelligence.
Open Door Room Escapes – Redlands, California
Open Door was also part of my room escape marathon day. I love that it is in an old building in downtown Redlands. It really has an authentic feel. We got to try The Study, and they are set to open another room soon. This room also has an item in the room (I’m not going to tell you what) that is really good for beginners. You can basically get unlimited clues, similar to how The Curiosity Shop is run.
The Study – An esteemed journalist who wrote an important expose has vanished. No one really knows why he is gone, but the thought is that he escaped from the powerful men that he exposed. See if you can uncover how he vanished and escaped from his apartment.
Our group really enjoyed the room. It was a well written story and a couple of their puzzles really stumped us, even though by this time we were seasoned room escapers. We did make it out with a few minutes to spare, and we even got a cool sticker that says we escaped.
COST: One of the cheaper rooms I have seen in the area, especially for such a high quality escape. $25 a person. You can book a whole room for $145 a group. They recommend the room for ages 13 and above, but you can probably make special arrangements if you book a private room. I think this one would be perfectly appropriate for children.
End Game Room Escape – Colton, California
I gave End Game Room Escape as a present to some of my friend and family members for Christmas. We had a large group of ten do their Kill Switch room.
Kill Switch – You are exploring a Cyber Punk city when you uncover an android that has plans to destroy the human race. You and your group must make a unified decision about what side you choose.
It is really hard for me to not like an escape room. I love the thrill of it and I find it highly entertaining to uncover clues and make it out of the room. I even take more pride when my group makes the leaderboard, which we did!!! We got first place on the Legends leaderboard which means we didn’t need any clues at all to solve the room. That being said, the group was a little large to work on this room together. There were multiple people standing around waiting for something to do. I did like some of their unique puzzles and the choose your own adventure style ending, but I think the room could be reworked to include more puzzles or there needs to be less maximum people in the room. Of course our group had a blast, and they even waited for a member of our party that was running late, which I know most room escapes wouldn’t do, so I have to give them props for their awesome customer service.
COST: Another one of the cheapest rooms around at $25 a person, but they do not allow children under age 16. As you know this is a negative for me. There was some creepy aspects, but they could easily be changed around for a group that requests it and the room would be perfectly appropriate for children.
Kaein – Anaheim, California
Kaein is also a room escape where I invited 10 of my friends and family members to the room as a present. Giving room escapes really does make an excellent gift. I thought it was another really outside of the box escape and it really was a fun night for everyone. We did their alien room which they no longer have available, so I am glad we got the chance to try it before they changed to a new theme. I am not sure if they still do this, but our group was split up into two teams and we had to solve the puzzles in separate rooms. We had to figure out how to communicate with each other, and they had clues in their room that helped us and vice versa. I have never done anything quite like it and it really tested your communication and teamwork skills. There website is not very user friendly though. I tried to look up information about booking their new room and all I found out was that they are only booking rooms on Fridays and Saturdays now and you have to play around with the number of people and dates to get a price confirmation. They allow up to 12 people in their room, but you have to have a minimum number of participants to book the room, so my advice would be to go with a larger group.
COST: I think it costs $30 a person to do the room, although don’t quote me on that because it was hard to figure out.
My Vacation Pants (MVP) Tip: Always check the reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, or Yelp before you book an escape room. We have been burned by really shady businesses in this industry in particular, but the reviews (especially Trip Advisor ones) never lead us wrong. We just made the mistake once of not reading the reviews before we booked. Oops, lesson learned.
MVP Tip #2: Many room escapes have promotions running at any given tme, so make sure you check Groupon and Living Social before you go. (Just make sure you read the reviews first!)
Okay, so that is my Southern Cali guide to the room escapes I have tried in the area for now. I of course will add amendments as I try more. I have also done room escapes while I travel outside of my home state of California as well, so I will definitely give you reviews of those destinations as well. Check out my write up of one I did in Hot Springs, Arkansas. One of the best room escapes I have ever done, and that is saying a lot!!! Any suggestions on room escapes I should try in the area? Let’s hear about them all. I would love to try any room escape in Southern California that you, my fantastic reader, had fun at.
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Trapped Room Escapes and Mountain Room Escapes invited me and my party as their guests, but, as always all opinions are my own.