While on a work trip to Las Vegas four years ago, Moab resident Jake Zufelt attended an escape room and immediately became hooked. He returned home and said, “That’s the coolest thing, ever. I’m going to open one,” recalled his wife, Jamie.
Moab Escape Rooms, 446 S. Main St., has been open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. since its soft opening on June 15, making it the second escape room business in Moab.
Both families and businesses patronize escape rooms, where players look for clues and solve puzzles to find the exit.
“You have an hour to escape,” Jamie Zufelt said. “With your team you look for a series of clues and puzzles which will lead you eventually out of the room.”
She emphasizes that at no point are you actually locked in the room — there’s always an exit.
“It’s a fun, mind-bending activity,” she said.
Cinda Culton has participated in escape rooms both for her own pleasure and to create team-building for employees of her two businesses: Sweet Cravings and Crave Moab.
With three different rooms from which to choose, Culton said she was able to bring all her employees together at Moab Escape Rooms.
“It’s fun and creative,” Culton said. “They get to know each other. It’s really fun for them and challenging.”
Players look for clues anywhere — hidden on a shelf full of books, for example. It requires “thinking outside of the box,” Zufelt said.
Each of the three rooms has a different theme. The least difficult room to escape, Arches Garage, is designed as a mechanic’s garage where “hooligans” have tinkered with Jeep Safari vehicles. Players have to figure out how to get the vehicles out of the garage and back onto the trails.
The Base Camp room is set up as “Canyonlands National Park” where players hire an expert guide who ends up hiking ahead to camp while his clients linger at a petroglyph panel. When the group arrives later to base camp the guide is nowhere to be found. Players must figure out how to escape the base camp on their own.
The most challenging escape game is the Attic Room, where players find themselves in “grandma’s house.” As you enter the attic, the door closes behind you and the players find themselves trapped in a room full of memories.
“Our rooms are constantly changing, with different clues,” Zufelt said. “We plan to change out the room themes periodically to offer the local community something new.”
Tourists are discovering Moab Escape Rooms, too.
“People Google ‘escape room’” when traveling, Zufelt said. “Our family does that, too. We always try and find an escape room. It’s kind of addicting. It’s fun to see what people come up with.”
And while young children may not understand the puzzles, they often have fun looking for clues along with their parents, Zufelt said.
Several Moab businesses, such as Sweet Cravings and Homeward Suites by Hilton Moab, have sent employees to engage in the team-oriented activity. A Girl Scout troop from New York recently booked an escape room event.
“It’s a fun, 1-hour activity where you can get out of the heat, between other activities,” Zufelt said.