Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Questburgh (Pittsburgh, PA).
I often think I don’t do enough stuff with my kids. This is most likely because I do not, in fact, do enough stuff with my kids, but also, Facebook doesn’t help. I mean, you log in for five seconds and look, there goes one family rock climbing together; oh wow, those guys are skiing; these other ones at a sporting event or a ballet or making a craft. Whatever they’re doing, they’re making memories. As for me, I’m just trying to finish my library book before the digital loan expires.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I am boring. Which is sort of fine with me, because though I would like to add maybe a tiny bit of adventure to my life – for example I really would like to learn to ski – for the most part I am happy with things as they are. So are my kids, at least as far as I can tell.
And yet, I often get that nagging sensation: I should do more with them. I should. I should. Should should should.
And so when Gino from Questburgh contacted me about an Escape Room quest for kids, I thought: PERFECT. It’s one hour. As in, they kick you out if you do not finish in sixty minutes. It’s not like an amusement park, which can last a full eight hours or more. It’s not like a craft which would involve hours of shopping and then more hours of anxious frustration and glue errors because I don’t know what I’m doing, when it comes to crafts. An escape room is nothing that requires huge amounts of preparation or even any particular level of physical fitness. SIGN US UP, I told Gino.
I’m sure some of you have done escape room challenges before and some of you have not. If you haven’t, I will tell you that it’s just like those “escape the room” apps you can get on your phone, except in real life. Life-size. With actual things to manipulate and investigate and scratch one’s head over.
I’m not going to describe the place in detail, because you can go to their website to find out whatever you want to know. I will tell you that I believe this is the only escape room in the Pittsburgh area that is suitable for kids. I went with a seven-, eight-, and nine-year-old and one other adult. Some – or actually, many – of the puzzles were a tiny bit difficult for kids of that age, and even quite honestly for kids of my own age. But since it’s a kid-geared adventure, we had plenty of assistance from the Questburgh staff, who watched us via video camera, answered questions, and offered suggestions when we were clearly at a loss. One suggestion aimed at me: “That might not go there. That might go somewhere else. NO THAT DOES NOT GO THERE.”
Despite the incompetence of the team member that was me, we made it to the treasure chest within 53 minutes. Or so they told us. It seemed longer than that to me and I wondered if they were just trying to not make us feel bad because they knew I was writing this. Either way, I always say, just shut up and take your wins where you can get them. Here’s a photo of the three kids at the end of the quest:
Note that smaller kids, or those that are more easily frightened, might be a little creeped out either by the general atmosphere (not that creepy, but you know how kids can be) or by some of the “pirate ship” accoutrements (fake rats, swords, a skeleton or two and so forth). Kids over 12 could probably be sent in with no adult accompaniment; under 12, I wouldn’t advise it, but you know your kids better than I do.
So, mission accomplished! I did something with my kids, we all had a good time, and the two siblings and their friend actually demonstrated a good deal of good-natured teamwork, as opposed to “But it’s my turn!” And “Mommy, he elbowed me in the eyeball!” All around I’d call it a win.
So, if you live in the Pittsburgh area and you’re sitting around some afternoon trying to think up some fun activity to do with your kids that you haven’t done a million times before, this might be exactly the escape you need.
Also, one last thing – I’m told they’ll have a party room ready sometime within the next few months. I can think of hardly anything better than locking a bunch of birthday-cake-fueled kids in a room for an hour while I wait in the lobby area, because, you know. I have library books to finish.