Hi, It’s Tina and Curt again! We’ve been on the road for three weeks now and we’re writing this installment from Albuquerque, NM!
States Visited This Leg: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico Total Miles Traveled: 3,999 Total Escape Rooms Played: 21
On this leg of our trip, Tina got to check an item off her bucket list! While we were in Arkansas, we stayed at Crater of Diamonds State Park. When Tina was a young girl she read about it in a National Geographic World magazine, and ever since then she's wanted to go.
According to the park service, “Visitors to the park search a 37-acre field, the eroded surface of a volcanic crater, for a variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones – and any rock or mineral you find is yours to keep.”
Let the diamond hunting begin! We started off by watching a short video on how to search and sift for diamonds, then we rented some mining equipment. It was hard work and we were both sore afterward. We had no idea what we were doing, but throughout the day (3-4 hours) we met some really nice people, both noobs and experienced "prospectors,” who come to the mine on a regular basis.
In the end, we failed to find any diamonds, but we did find some quartz and calcite (used to make chalk). It was a unique experience that we are glad we did. Hopefully, we can find other fun and unique things to do on our trip. Feel free to recommend places to visit along our route!
While in Arkansas, we drove an hour to visit Hot Springs and played Lost in Wonderland and Home Alone at A Narrow Escape. Another sticker for our map! These rooms were beginner/intermediate level and had some fun puzzles and decent theming. Our game master was super nice, and while we wouldn’t recommend making a special trip to play them, if you are in the area and looking to play, you should check them out. They also had some interesting robotic games to play that were not part of the escape rooms.
After Arkansas, we spent a few days in Texas on our way to Oklahoma. In Plano, TX we played Summer Camp and Empire City: Villains at North Texas Escape Rooms.These rooms were classified as intermediate and hard. One thing we really liked about this company is that they offer shorter and easier versions of most of their rooms geared towards kids. The theming was pretty good and both had some fun puzzles. Of the two, we enjoyed Summer Camp more. Empire City: Villains is also offered as Empire City: Super Heroes, and there were some things in the room that appeared to be needed for our game, but ended up being part of the other game, which made them feel like red herrings. The final puzzle was also anti-climatic because it is set-up to “win” when only one part is completed, so what looks like a challenging final puzzle really isn’t. Overall we enjoyed ourselves though, and if you are in the area, check them out!
After that we played Blackbeard’s Challenge at Downtown Escapes in Sherman, TX. Although the room was classified as intermediate on their website, it was obviously designed for beginners, and we found the room much too easy. The theming was also below average and there was something that didn’t trigger when it should have and we got the feeling our Game Master wasn’t paying attention. Overall, not a great experience and we wouldn’t recommend it.
On to Oklahoma City (OKC), Oklahoma. Our sole reason for adding OKC onto our trip was to visit The Sanctuary Escapes. Multiple enthusiasts we talked to recommended this venue and even though it took us 200 miles out of our way and we had no other plans in Oklahoma City, we decided that we had to do it!
Wowie Zowie! We were not disappointed! First of all, the owner was amazing in helping us set this up. They normally have a 3-person minimum for La Famiglia and 4-person minimums for The Lost Dutchman’s Mine and Seed of Hope. We tried posting in the international and local Enthusiast’s groups on Facebook and the owner tried finding other players also, but we weren’t successful. Nonetheless, we decided to tackle the rooms on our own and the owner allowed us to “run the gauntlet.” Since The Lost Dutchman and Seed of Hope have puzzles that require four people, he even had two of his assistant managers come in to be stand-ins for us when we needed them.
We describe ourselves as Escape Room Enthusiasts, but as we tell every game master before we start a room, it only means we are enthusiastic, not that we are good! We are probably a bit above average just because of the number of rooms we have done and the various types of puzzles we have seen, but we still struggle sometimes and use hints freely. We have no interest in rushing through rooms. For us it is all about the experience and having fun.
We had read all the reviews on Morty about how hard these rooms are even with the minimum number of players, just because of the sheer volume of puzzles and tasks that have to be completed, so we knew going into this with just the two of us that we weren’t likely to finish the rooms.
I would like to say that we exceeded all expectations and set room records . . . but we didn’t. We needed a few extra minutes in La Famiglia, about 15 extra minutes in Lost Dutchman, and in Seed of Hope, we only completed about 57% of the game. Despite our 100% failure rate, these rooms were some of the best we have done! The theming is amazing and the puzzles are fun.
Their lobby is also one of the best we’ve seen! We thoroughly enjoyed La Famiglia and The Lost Dutchman, but we have to give special recognition to Seed of Hope.
THIS.GAME.IS.AMAZING! It is a 75 minute room and from beginning to end, we were captivated. The space is epic. It just keeps going and going, and all of the puzzles tied in so well together and with the story. Despite only finishing 57% of the room in the 75 minutes, we were lucky enough to be able to play through to the end with some assistance from the staff, so we could experience everything. So many “Wow!” moments! It also had the honor of being Tina’s 200th room, and it currently sits on our Top 5 Rooms of All Time List.
Even if you have no other reason to visit Oklahoma City, we recommend making a special trip just for The Sanctuary Escapes. We are so glad that we did!
Tina is a former city and transportation planner turned escape room owner and Curt is a podcaster/blogger/content creator for the summer camp industry. Their worlds collided when they were handcuffed next to each other in a pirate themed escape room while attending an escape room enthusiast meet up event.
Greetings from Traverse City, MI! Now that we have had a week to recuperate, we’re ready to give you a recap of our twelve state, thirty-five escape room marathon that we completed in just sixteen days!