Prompted by COVID, Escape Room Park City now offers an outdoor, Main Street experience
Escape Room Park City is taking it to the street.
Instead of just offering indoor adventure puzzles, owners Shirin Spangenberg and her husband Dirk now offer a “Main Street Experience” that gets people out and about in Old Town.
“While COVID hasn’t prevented us from doing inside experiences, because we make sure we sanitize the rooms before and after every session, we also realize that there are people who don’t feel comfortable inside,” Spangenberg said.
Like the indoor puzzles, the Main Street Experience starts with a clue, she said.
Participants meet at the Escape Room offices on Heber Avenue to get their clue and clipboard, she said.
“By using this clue, people will work their way up the street to the top of Main where they will find a box, and the clue gives them all the information they need to open the box.”
The box contains another clue that will lead the group back down the street.
“When they finish the challenge, they can open another box and prize,” Spangenberg said.
The prizes are not just trinkets, she said.
“I love collaborating, and what’s cool about this is that we’ve collaborated with Red Banjo Pizza and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for the prizes,” she said. “So you get to explore Main Street and then go back out to enjoy some of the goodies you can find on Main Street.”
The idea for an outdoor session took shape when the Spangenbergs closed Escape Room Park City’s doors for the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic, Spangenberg said.
“I’ve always wanted to do an outside experience, COVID or no COVID,” she said. “Since COVID-19 has deterred some people from going inside buildings, we thought we could find a way to take advantage of the fact that people want to be outside.”
After brainstorming sessions, the Spangenbergs decided to use Main Street as a room itself.
“We knew we needed to think outside of the box, so Dirk and I took our employees to do some exploring to find what we call the Main Street staples to help us set up some clues.”
They originally wanted to work with Main Street merchants.
“The problem was storefronts change, so we decided to use some of the stationary Main Street attractions,” Spangenberg said. “While there isn’t a theme like we have for our rooms, the people who participate in the Main Street Experience get to learn about the history of Park City and have fun while doing it.”
Although there isn’t a limit on group sizes, Spangenberg said the smaller the group the better.
“The thing is we only provide one sheet of clues per adventure,” she said. “So if you have a really big group you may want to divide it in half, and sign up two groups.”
The Spangenberg’s first established Escape Room Park City in 2016, after a family trip to Seattle.
“I was looking for something to do and I discovered an escape room up there,” she said. “I’m a huge puzzle person, and I thought this would be up my alley.”
The experience wasn’t what Spangenberg expected.
“It was in a basement, and kind of scary, and unnerving, because there was someone who was sitting in the room with us,” she said. “So I didn’t like it. But when we left, my husband told me he could see the potential of doing something like this at home.”
When the couple returned to Park City, they began talking about creating their own escape room experience, Spangenberg said.
“People come to Park City to get their physicality on, whether it’s skiing, biking or hiking, and a lot of them want to complement those experiences by using their brains,” she said. “So we began designing, setting up and writing clues for our own escape rooms, and it’s been the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done.”
When it opened, Escape Room Park City began getting attention from other escape room owners, Spangenberg said.
“Some time ago Dirk’s cousin went through an escape room in Oregon and the owner told him his favorite escape room experience was in Park City,” she said. “I thought that was the greatest story.”
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In the closing scenes of the about-to-be released documentary “Public Trust,” environmental journalist Hal Herring says this of the battle over public lands: “You only have a right to what you are willing to fight for.”