Put On Your Room Escape Vacation Pants – Southern California Edition, Part 2

Well it’s been over a year since my last room escape post on the old bloggy blog and I have been to even MORE room escapes.  What can I say?! I am still obsessed.  I even create one in my classroom each year.  There is nothing like unfolding a story and working toward a goal together.  It’s so much fun!  So, now I have even more reviews to share.  Please read on to find out more room escapes you need to check out this year. If you missed part 1 of my post, check out the link below.

Put On Your Room Escape Vacation Pants, Part 1

Mountain Room Escapes – Big Bear, California

I love this room escape, not only because my beloved family owns multiple locations, but because the storytelling in the room actually make sense and the puzzles you solve go with the story of the room.  My room escape team (yes, I have friends who are on my room escape team) went and beta tested their newest room, The Cabin.  Plus they have a really cool new location in a place called The Village in Big Bear Lake.  When you enter their place, it looks like you’re walking into a cute mountain village, outside, in the nighttime.  So cool!  They recently added VR experiences to their menu and that is definitely something I recommend trying at some point.  It’s a really fun experience.  They are working on their next room in this location as well. Stay tuned for more fun.

  • The Cabin-The room’s story is that a criminal mastermind has locked you in his cabin and you have one hour to solve puzzles before a gas is released into the room.
  • VR Room – They have several stories to choose from.  It’s so crazy how you feel like you are actually in another place.  It’s like the Oasis is real!!!

 

Cost:  Mountain Room Escapes has two locations.  One in Big Bear City and one in the Village in Big Bear Lake.  They book by the person, but have a very unique option.  If you have four people or more, you have the option of paying $35 instead of their normal price $30 and you are guaranteed a private room.  If you want to pay the normal price, you can pay the $30 and not have a guaranteed private room, but you can book all the slots in the room at that price. Use code MYVACATIONPANTS for $3 off a ticket.   

Brainyactz Room Escape– San Diego, California

I like to surprise my hubbo and kids with fun little travel related things.  This year I surprised them with a trip to San Diego for my husband’s birthday.  It consisted of getting a hotel by my husband’s favorite record store and letting him shop until he dropped.  We also stayed in a lovely hotel called Cardiff by the Sea with a jacuzzi tub on the roof.  We capped off our stay at Brainyactz.  It was a perfect San Diego weekend.  Brainyactz has several locations around southern California and this particular location has two rooms.  We did the Great Carnival Challenge!!!

  • The Great Carnival Challenge – You and your team work with a carnival troupe and the deed to the carnival is at stake.  You need to find the deed to the carnival before the place is bulldozed to the ground.

I love that front and center on their website they say this is a room escape for adults and children.  Although they wrote the room experience with the kids in mind, the puzzles were not over simplified.  There was plenty to do for both kids and adults.  The room also had an actor, which we usually don’t enjoy, but we really liked the way this particular room utilizes the actor.  Plus, he was noticeably impressed by our kids’ intelligence.  At one point in the game he is supposed to take a seat while we solve a puzzle, and we did it so fast, he never had a chance to sit down.  That was fun to be noticed for our teamwork and intellect.  Anyway, the room is huge and has room for plenty of people, but they cap it at 10.  We got through the room with the four of us, but we cut it until the last couple of minutes because there was a lot to do for four people.

Cost:  Brainyactz is $30 a person, but I bought a deal on Groupon.  Check for any online deals before you book because different locations have different offers throughout the year.  You are only guaranteed a private room if you book the entire room.  

Lake Gregory Room Escape  – Crestline, California

We did this one on a double date with a couple from our room escape team.  It was a great room to do with a small group.  Lake Gregory Room Escape is on the way to Big Bear, so it’s a lovely drive up into the San Bernadino Mountains.  It wasn’t too far from Redlands, where we had dinner before heading up the hill.

  • Mugsy’s Great Escape – It is a known fact that during the roaring 20s, criminals would escape to their mountain hideouts when they wanted to hide from the law.  Mugsy Malone ran a speakeasy in the area during the prohibition era.  You are invited to find out how Mugsy escaped his speakeasy when the place was busted by the authorities.

We made it out, despite my bathroom emergency during the middle of the room 😉  There were some clever puzzles in the room, but we were confused by a couple of them too.  We love doing room escapes for date nights.  It is the perfect mix of fun, entertainment, and good ole hang out time.  The owners were very knowledgeable and shared the lore about the area when it came to the 1920s.  Apparently, the story of the room is based on local legend and history, which was pretty cool.  This is a low tech room, there was nothing too high tech, but a room doesn’t have to have that to be enjoyable.

Cost:  Again, I got a Groupon deal for this room escape, but it is a really good deal at $25 a person.  If you want to have a private room you have to book all 6 slots.  

Red Lantern Escape Rooms– Brea, California

Now I told you we are obsessed with room escapes, so obsessed, that for my mother-in-law’s birthday weekend we booked six room escapes in one weekend.  That’s right, six room in one weekend!  Not even a long weekend, just a regular old weekend. Our previous weekend record was three, so I am pretty impressed we beat it by that much.  Red Lantern was part of our room escape weekend and it did not disappoint. (Well it did a little because it was the only room we didn’t make it out of the whole weekend, but more about that in a bit.)

  • Midnight on the Bayou -You are at your high school reunion. It is a little creepy because they’re holding the event on the old Boudreau property at the edge of the swamp, where decades ago several students died in a barn fire. And it is odd that all the carnival workers are mysteriously absent, with the exception of your reunion host who keeps nervously glancing at that creepy old chest…

 

This room escape is huge, like over 1000 square feet huge.  We did it with 10 people and were able to really spread out.  That was part of the challenge because we had to run across the room if we needed help or needed to look at a different puzzle.  It’s also pretty stunning to look at.  In fact, it is easily in the top ten when it comes to set design.  Plus, some of the tech and effects involved were very impressive.  There is an actor in the room with you, but it was very well done.   He was pretty hands-off, and played his part well.  We liked that we could talk to him only if we needed to talk to him.  We got to the final puzzle with plenty of time to spare, and we even solved it, but there was an extra tech step after we solved it and they definitely had a strict end time, so we didn’t make it out.  They were nice enough to let us see the finale because we were so close, but that bummed us out a bit.  Again, I have to reiterate that the tech in this room is state of the art and really gave us some “wow” moments.  Make sure you only go with a large group of people because it will be hard to solve all the puzzles without a larger group.

Cost:  They only have one room and it costs $35 a person to book up to 12 people in the room.  The only way to book an entire room for your party is booking all 12 spots.  The $35 pricing is pretty standard for room escapes in the Orange County area, especially one of this magnitude.  

Chronos Escape Room– Pomona, California

The room escape marathon weekend continues as we move on to Chronos Escape Room in Pomona.  This was truly unlike any room escape we have ever done before.  It is more like a horror maze that you would do at an amusement park.  There were multiple rooms and as you progress through the rooms you have to find your way out.  They now have three different themed adventures, but we did Awakened when we went.

  • Awakened – A long time childhood friend comes back to town and invites you and other schoolmates to a reunion party at an abandoned high school. Is he really the same person that you knew years ago? You and your friends decided to attend the party to find out……

We made it out of this room.  It was really intense because we did not know how much time was left in the room.  They told us that the countdown clock was not working at the time, so we had to check in with them.  I did not like that feeling.  This was also a horror themed room, so not really for everyone.  There were no live actors, but there were a lot of gross scenes.  The room design and the puzzles made up for theme of the room in my opinion.  I really want to go back and try their new rooms because they don’t have a horror theme, and we really enjoyed this unique approach to the room escape experience.  Please do not bring your young kiddos to this room.  It really isn’t appropriate for them.  You must call if you are arranging to bring children younger than 13 to the room anyway.

Cost: Chronos charges $30 per person. If you would like to have a private room you must select the button when booking.  Extra fees may apply.  

Exodus Room Escapes – Anaheim Hills and Rowland Heights, California

Next up on our room escape marathon weekend we did three different rooms at different locations for Exodus Room Escapes.  I mentioned in my first post that I absolutely love Exodus room escapes.  They have solid story lines and solid puzzles.  We also enjoy the fact that they have a leader board and we have actually made the leader board here twice.  I love Exodus so much that in a couple weeks I am throwing my 40th birthday bash at one of their new rooms at their Rancho Cucamonga location.  What a great way to bring in the first four decades of my life!

  • Sherlock’s Study – Anaheim Hills Location – In the midst of a murder investigation, Sherlock Holmes has been kidnapped by the very murderer he was trying to catch! Now, it is up to you to piece together the evidence he has left behind in his study. Will you be clever enough to step into Sherlock’s shoes and solve the mystery?

  • Apocalypse – Rowland Heights Location – You and a few remaining survivors awake in an apocalyptic world.  You start to gather supplies for survival and quickly realize that food is scarce and most of the water is contaminated. After a few hours you notice a nearby power plant that appears to show signs of activity. You and the other survivors start heading towards the plant in hopes of finding an explanation of what happened, or even confirmation of what year it is.

  • Bank Heist – Rowland Heights Location – You and several others have been handpicked by a professional thief named Curns. Each of you is an expert in your respected field. This bamboozling stranger has requested your services to break into vaults and infiltrate government facilities to steal from corrupted, unethical people! A modern day Robin Hood, you will be taking from people known to be involved in highly illegal and unethical ventures that go against the common good. Your goal, once you’ve broken in, is to collect a valuable cd, a diamond, and cash!

We were the first group to ever make it out of Apocalypse without needing a clue so we jumped to first place on the  leader board.  That was an amazing feeling.  Lots of good puzzles in this room.  We were complimented by our game master for our teamwork and collaboration.  Sherlock’s Study was really fun and, as you can see, we have over 28 minutes left on the clock from our picture.  We didn’t make the leader board on that one but it was a super solid room with a fun theme.  We also did Bank Heist, which was kind of a frustrating room for us.  We made it out, but there were some issues with the locks and puzzles not working and it just soured the experience a bit.   They no longer offer the room at the Rowland Heights location, but I noticed it was available in other locations. Hopefully, those versions have been revised, as I believe they were planning to do.  Both locations we visited had very friendly staff as well.  Exodus has multiple locations throughout Southern California, and a few out of the area locations as well, including Monterey in California and across the country in New York City.

Cost: $35 per adult per room and $25 for children (ages 7-12), under age 7 is free.  I LOVE that they are a family friendly room escape that actually gives a discount or even free room for children.  Plus, they give a lot of coupon deals through your e-mail.  Check it out.  You must book the whole room if you would like a private room.  

Era Escape Room – Anaheim, California

This was another room escape we did on our marathon weekend and it was truly unique and fun.  When you do multiple rooms in a matter of days you can start to get confused.  Puzzles and rooms may blend together.  I feel like the puzzles in this room were truly unique and I remember them vividly.  We had a blast.  This room had a great combination of low tech and higher tech puzzles.

  • Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room – You are a member of the Secret Freemason Society during the Revolutionary War. Your task is to find Benjamin Franklin’s greatest invention, a new weapon that can defeat the British soldiers. The British are coming! They are trying to steal Franklin’s invention. They will arrive in one hour. Can you find the weapon in time, use it on them, and win the war?

As you can see by the picture we made it out before the British came.  This had a great twist with the game master that I don’t want to give away.  It was definitely a fun situation.  There were some puzzles that were so unique and cool, and I was just bewildered on how they were even built.  I loved the colonial theme as well.  It was a great family friendly room, and as you know, I love a room I can do with the my sweet, intelligent, kiddos.  This was a very fun and unique room experience.

COST:  Era Escape Room offers a midweek special if you go Monday – Thursday it is only $24 (what a steal).  On the weekend, it is still very affordable for the Orange County area at $28 a person.  You do have the option of requesting a private game if you book four or more people and e-mail them that you would like a private game.  

Escape Room Palm Springs– Palm Springs, California

I have gone to this room escape multiple times.  We went here last year on a few occasions and we enjoyed ourselves.  Plus they made some changes to their games which I was excited about.  They added some games you could bring children to. (They used to have a no child policy.)   Also, they added puzzles and all their rooms are now 60 minute rooms where they used to be only 45 minute rooms.  I love that they have truly engaging room themes and that they are always so nice when we go. They also rework their themes quite often, so even though I have gone a total of four times, I can still go back because they have added some new rooms.

  • The Locker Room – Trapped in an abandoned locker room, you and your team will battle wits with a sadistic serial killer. Uncover the fate of the prisoners captured before you and if you’re clever enough, maybe you’ll save more than just yourselves. In this game you’ll face both mental and physical challenges to test your mind and spirit. 

 

  • Mystery Room -This room is no longer available, but it was kid friendly.  Since it’s gone, I can’t find an official description, but I know you were trying to find a way out of the room for some reason.  It was a good beginning room, but they have other rooms now that you can do as instead

Our experience with The Locker Room was extra special because somehow my husband and I convinced 8 of my work peeps to go to a room escape about a serial killer.  It wasn’t too creepy.  As I mentioned above, I am not into horror themed rooms, but that one worked the best with our work conference schedule, so we did it anyway.  My work friends had a blast and we made it out of the room.  I also learned I work with a couple of brainiacs.  If you can do a room with people from work, you should definitely do it.  What a great teamwork activity!  On a separate visit, we also did the Mystery Room (before they changed it to a new room.)  It was fun to be able to bring my kiddos to the room, and we enjoyed the kid friendly theme.  I am definitely looking forward to trying their new rooms at their new location. They have a Bank Heist one, a Jack the Ripper one, and one called Merlin’s Magic, so all very cool themes.  I am disappointed they don’t have their online leader board anymore.  They were the only ones to have one and they kept it updated regularly.  I liked seeing my team name and feeling all famous and stuff.

COST: $33 per person.  Make sure you check which rooms are child friendly.  They do allow children to come.  

Open Door Room Escapes – Redlands, California

Open Door Room Escapes was also a repeat room escape.  We don’t ever do the same room twice, but we definitely go back to do additional rooms if we try a place and we enjoyed it the first time.  Open Door was one we really wanted to do again.

  • Arrested  – You are in jail for a crime you didn’t commit and you are awaiting execution.  Luckily, there is someone who believes you are innocent and leaves you clues to find a way out of jail before the sheriff comes and gets you.

This room is very different than their other room we did at Open Door.  We really liked the theme and the special effects.  You can tell from the picture that this room has a high-concept design.  It’s not hard to imagine you are really back in an old western jail.  This room had some solid puzzles, and one in particular was something we’ve never seen at another escape before, which is impressive.  We were a little stressed because the room didn’t have a timer, and there wasn’t an easy way to find out how you were doing on time.  (I am always the resident time keeper on my room escape team.)  I talked to one of the owners and she said they are working that out.  We did make it out, but it was super close. Apparently we solved the last puzzle right on the buzzer!  We also went on Mother’s Day, so that was a super fun thing to do on my celebration day.  It was a high quality room, and a little bird told me that they are working on their third room set to open this summer.

COST: The cost is $30.74 a person with taxes and booking fee. You can book a whole room for $152.64 a group.  Both the rooms were perfectly appropriate for children, although they do recommend for ages 13 and older.  Also, both rooms are intended for a max of six people, but they were very accommodating for our 7th friend. 

End Games Riverside – Riverside, California

Who doesn’t love a good pirate adventure?!  Everyone dreams about uncovering a pirate’s treasure, so that is what we did.  End Game has some solid puzzles and some very unique special effects.

  • The Pirate’s Cabin – While sailing the Caribbean in the year 1720 tasked with learning the family business your ship was savagely attacked.  The infamous Captain Bartholomew Roberts “Black Bart” has locked you in his quarters aboard his ship the Royal Fortune, what happens next is up to you… will you walk the plank? or will you escape?

We talked to the owner for awhile after we did the room and he was really cool and seemed to have a passion for what he was doing.  They have now opened a 2nd room that I would really love to go back and check it out.  I enjoyed that the room was family friendly.  Since this is the first room I did without my super intelligent husband, I am going to arrange a daddy / kid date to the room.  It does recommend that kids be older than 12 on the website, but the owner said it is not a problem to have kiddos in the room.  Also, there is a super amazing movie reference in the room.  See if you can figure it out.

COST: The cost is $30 a person and you can book through their website.  They do say if you have four or more people in your party you can e-mail them and request a private game.  

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 time, so make sure you check Groupon and Living Social before you go.  (Just make sure you read the reviews first!)

MVP Tip #3:  Make sure you have a plan with your team before entering the room escape.  Have someone who will be time keeper, someone who will get clues, choose an area in the room to put puzzles that have already been completed.  Don’t forget to communicate.  It seems weird narrating what you are doing and seeing, but someone across the room could have something related to a puzzle you are solving.  

Well, there you have it, part 2 of my room escape adventures in the Southern California area.  I am sure I will have a bunch more to add to the list when I do my annual post next year.  We’ve also tried some rooms out of the area, and even the state.  Check out my post on the ones we tried in New York.  They were seriously the most high tech room escapes we have ever done.

Please share if you found this guide helpful, and comment below if you have any questions at all.

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Red Lantern Escape Rooms and Mountain Room Escapes invited me and my party as their guests, but, as always all opinions are my own.

Exodus Room Escapes, Palm Springs Escape Rooms, Chronos Room Escapes, and Era Escape Rooms gave me a discount in exchange for reviewing our experience, and, as always all opinions are my own. 

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