Hamilton Business: The craze around escape rooms has hit Hamilton
By Natalie Paddon
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Getting stuck in a room with friends, family members or co-workers may not sound like everyone’s idea of a good time but lately, it’s become all the rage.
Escape rooms — physical adventure games where players solve puzzles to break free within their allotted time — have been popular in the United States, China and Japan since 2010, and started popping up in Hamilton last year.
There are three scattered throughout the city, another in Burlington and dozens more in Toronto, St. Catharines and other nearby spots.
So what’s drawing people in, so to speak?
For some adventure seekers, it’s a new outing that strays from the typical bowling, laser tag or bar-hopping on a Friday night. For others, it’s a team-building exercise to work on communication and co-operation skills with co-workers.
Once you’re gathered inside the room, the clock starts.
Groups (anywhere from two to 12, depending on the facility) have between 45 minutes and an hour to hunt down clues and make their way out.
Most owners of Hamilton’s locations say they got hooked on the experience elsewhere before setting up their own escape rooms in the city.
Alcatraz Escape Rooms
Alcatraz Escape Rooms
WHO: Beni Kalman, Zoltan Kalman and Nathan Siwak
WHERE: 576 Concession St.
The countdown is on. Participants — as many as eight — have 50 minutes to get out of a locked room.
While they hunt for clues, the owners are outside monitoring progress through cameras.
“It’s just funny to watch how different people communicate,” says Beni Kalman. “We have groups that go in that don’t say a word to each other and groups that just scream their heads off.”
So far, the 1,700-square-foot space is home to one escape room — Casino Heist — where the groups have to rob a casino.
Plans are underway for a jail room escape named after the notorious Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary off the shore of San Francisco, which operated from 1934 to 1963.
Beni assures us that both rooms will be family friendly and won’t scare anyone.
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