SCRANTON — When Dunmore resident Chelsea Rixner and four of her friends entered Electric City Escape’s art heist, she said they had no idea what to expect.
“We had a lot of fun going through and hunting down the little clues that would lead to the next clue that would lead us to the next clue that eventually led us to our great escape,” Rixner said. “As we were going it sort of just got funnier and funnier as we sort of stumbled through a few things.”
Escape rooms are environmental puzzle games for small groups of people. The groups are locked inside a themed room and given an objective; they’re then tasked with working together to accomplish their goal and escape within a set time limit. Rixner and her group solved the art heist scenario, based on a 2005 theft at Scranton’s Everhart Museum, minutes under the one-hour limit.
The art heist scenario, which puts groups in the shoes of a burglary crew hired by the Everhart to steal its stolen paintings back, takes cues from co-owners Ryan and Amy Hnat’s respective roles as interior designer and art teacher. Their second room, the office of a fictional private investigator, is rooted in local history.
“We did a bunch of research,” Ryan said. “There was a Russian spy that was actually from Scranton. We were going to play off that story but it wasn’t popular enough, so we came up with our private investigator, Sam Slocum, playing on Slocum Hollow the original name for Scranton. Everything in the room is related to things that are from our area.”
On June 3, Ryan and Amy will celebrate the opening of Electric City Escape with a First Friday Scranton exhibition called “Boxes.” Groups who visit the business between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the first floor of 507 Linden Street will get 10 minutes with one of the boxes that make up the exhibition. Prizes include tickets to July’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, tickets behind home plate at a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game and vouchers for escape room experiences.
The event features music from Indigo Moon Brass Band and booking specials for future visits to either escape room scenario. Amy said the private investigator scenario is slightly harder than the art heist, but Rixner and any other escape room champions shouldn’t expect the same experience or difficulty level twice.
“We’ve made some adjustments and they’ve even gotten a little bit more challenging over the past couple of weeks after our test group went through,” Amy said. “We do plan on expanding and changing the rooms we currently have after a couple of months. We want to keep it interesting and keep changing so people can come back.”
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: Electric City Escape’s opening celebration featuring music from Indigo Moom Brass Band and prizes for groups able to solve one of 10 puzzle boxes
When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, June 3 during Scranton’s First Friday celebration
Where: 507 Linden St., Scranton. Electric City Escape is located on the building’s first floor
How Much: Free