My name is Gage, I am 17 years old, and recently I went on a trip with my mom and both my brothers to Florence, Alabama. Florence is a city I had never heard of until I was told I was going on a trip there! We have traveled near this city multiple times on various trips headed other places but never had a need to go through this town.
Florence is very unique; it’s home to many surprising attractions for such a small town. It has amazing restaurants, famous music studios, the beautiful Tennessee River, and so much more. Speaking of music studios, there are two very interesting historic music studios in the area. Florence is one of four little towns all joined together in North Alabama called The Shoals, only about two hours from us. The music studios are in The Shoals – specifically Sheffield and Muscle Shoals. Learning about the history with all those famous musicians recording down there was really interesting. But my favorite activity we did while we were there was experiencing Escape Room Florence.
Now I’m going to have to say this in advance: I cannot tell you any actual facts about my escape from these escape rooms. I can’t tell you what’s in them, how to solve the puzzles, how to escape, or anything that specific. I can tell you what I thought of the two escape rooms we beat.
First, I probably need to explain what an escape room is. It is exactly like it sounds, a room you have to escape from! In every escape room I have ever been in, you have to complete puzzles, riddles, and codes in order to escape the room. With just one catch… you only have 60 minutes to escape. For people who might be a little claustrophobic (like my mom), you need to know you’re never really locked in the room. You literally can step out at any time you want to.
The first room we did at Escape Room Florence was a Music studio themed room, which is appropriate since so many famous songs were recorded there. Thankfully I wasn’t trying to escape this room alone. I had both my brothers, my mom, and the other owner of Hip Homeschool Moms (Ms. Wendy), and another friend (Ms. Randa) with us – and we needed all those brains working on these challenges!
Stepping into a room is always exciting, and this room was no exception! When we stepped in, we instantly began noticing things that could be clues to help solve the room and help us progress further along toward the escape. The room was filled with references to famous songs, famous people, lyrics, and other clues related to the music theme of the area. One thing I really liked was that we really did feel like we were in a recording studio in this room. It took everyone working together to get out in time. We only had two minutes to spare when we finally solved the last puzzle! We loved the first escape room so much, we went back to our hotel and booked another visit for the next night!
The second room was themed around a dark cabin out in the woods. The premise was that we were out in the woods at night seeking shelter from a storm. Once inside, we found the door locked behind us (not really), and we had to find a way to unlock the exit! This room was a lot harder! When entering, the room was darker, setting the tone for the entire hour.
We couldn’t find any obvious clues and wasted ten minutes just flipping everything upside down and searching the room. It seemed the few clues and puzzles we did find were leading us nowhere fast. All of us were working hard in different areas of the room to figure it out. My mom, Ms. Wendy, my brothers, and I were all on our hands and knees on the floor searching. Then under cabinets, on top of doors, pushing, pulling, feeling, touching, and inspecting everything we touched. We struggled with every puzzle, every clue, every idea, and used up all of our hints very early on. We were not sure we would beat this room. Once we thought we were almost there, we hit another huge challenging piece of the puzzle, and we knew we were running out of time! We barely escaped with less than one minute left thanks to everyone working together.
There was one other room we didn’t get a chance to do. It was about Russian Espionage. The premise for that one was … the KGB is building some kind of super weapon, and you’re an American spy working alongside another spy from Britain. As the weapon nears completion, you feel a gun pressed to your back, and you realize you’ve been betrayed! Now you’re locked up and you have to escape before they come back in an hour to extract information! The thing that makes this room a lot different than the other rooms is the option to play while handcuffed! Doesn’t this one sound like a ton of fun!?!
All escape rooms are enjoyable, but the ones in Escape Room Florence were far beyond any other escape rooms I’ve tried. They’re unique, creative, challenging, fun, and extremely clever. All of the puzzles were so cool and challenging. I love escape rooms, but Escape Room Florence has the best escape rooms I’ve ever played. We will be back — bringing lots of friends with us.
Escape rooms are challenging and fun forms of entertainment. But escape rooms are valuable experiences for homeschoolers too. They are a great way to develop problem solving, team building, collaboration, and time management skills as well. The ability to think creatively and to collaborate under high pressure will be valuable skills to continue to develop. So escape rooms are great for homeschoolers! At least this is how I’m presenting it to my mom so she will continue to fund these fun “workshops!”