Escape rooms for children and adults have mushroomed in popularity, with new venues opening on Long Island every year. Each themed experience challenges players to work together to solve puzzles in order to escape from a “locked” room in 60 minutes. Here is a roundup of great escape-room experiences in Nassau and Suffolk. -- Zoe Malin and Beth Whitehouse
Escape Zone Long Island
Escape Zone Long Island in St. James offers players endless challenges. Its four family-friendly escape rooms are "The Mad Hatter," "The Wizard's Chamber: Harry Potter," "Trouble in Paradise" and "Skull and Bones." They feature mysteries to solve and clues to uncover. The two more challenging escape rooms, "Diamond Heist" and "Fear," present players with more complex situations to work through. "Fear" is deemed extremely difficult by Escape Zone Long Island, and due to its horrifying clown theme. "Fear" is offered as an extended game as well, called "Fear Extreme," during the weekend after 5 p.m. The game features a live actor, only amplifying the game's terror. Children ages 5 and older are allowed in the escape rooms, and players ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult who is also a player in the game. Escape Zone Long Island is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Price: Per player is $30 for the "Fear" escape room, $35 for "Fear Extreme" and $28 for all other escape rooms. More information: 872 Middle Country Rd., 631-645-8906, escapezonelongisland.com.
Puzzle Break Long Island
Puzzle Break Long Island in Syosset offers four rooms for guests to attempt to escape from in 60 minutes or less. "Escape the Midnight Carnival," where teams have to solve a mystery using games and clues like a colorful spinning wheel, is the easiest room, so it's best for kids and first-timers. "Escape from Twenty Thousand Leagues," featuring marine life decorations and lots of maps, "Escape the Lost Temple," a room covered in ancient-looking stones and murals, and "The Grimm Escape," where teams have to break a witch's spell, increase in difficulty respectively. Puzzle Break Long Island recommends its escape rooms for players ages 8 and older, but there is no set age requirement. It's open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday. Price: "Escape the Lost Temple" costs $32 per player. The other three escape rooms are $30 per player. More information: 180 Michael Dr., (516) 307-0888, puzzlebreakli.com.
Escape Quest Long Island
Escape Quest Long Island in Riverhead has four escape rooms. The "Pharaoh's Curse" room, which is best for kids ages 8 and older, traps players in a tomb-themed room, which is rumored to be haunted by a curse. "Poseidon's Jewel" is also a great room for kids. It's designed to look like the inside of a pirate ship and has a moderate level of difficulty. Escape Quest Long Island's other two rooms, "Mysterious Mansion" and "Cannibal Lair," are more challenging and recommended for teenagers. Players 16 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult, and each room has specific age guidelines detailed online. Escape Quest Long Island is open 4 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Price: $30 per player. More information: 20 W. Main St., 631-381-0169, escapequestli.com.
Escape of a Lifetime
Escape of a Lifetime in Westbury has three themed rooms for guests. Its "Da Vinci's Study" room is challenging, but the least difficult and best for kids. In one hour, players have to break into Da Vinci's study to steal his manuscript before security catches them. The other two escape rooms, "The Vault" and "The Asylum," are extremely challenging due to complex puzzles and riddles. Kids ages 8 and older are allowed in the escape rooms when accompanied by an adult. All players 18 years old and younger must have an adult playing in the escape room with them at all times. Escape of a Lifetime is open Monday through Sunday by appointment only; registration is available online. Price: $30 per player. More information: 473 Old Country Rd., 516-780-4420, theescapeofalifetime.com.
Escape Game Long Island
Escape Game Long Island has two locations, Ronkonkoma (718 Portion Rd.) and Brookhaven (70 Horseblock Rd.), each offering two unique escape rooms. In Ronkonkoma,there is a "Game of Thrones" themed escape room called "Battle for the Throne" but, "Legends of a Hidden Temple," is best for kids. It asks them to uncover lost treasure, go through a sand room and the walls of despair, crawl in a tunnel and end up in a treasure room. At the Brookhaven location, players can attempt to escape rooms like "Cabin in the Woods," which is great for kids. This room challenges players to put their minds together, decode clues and jigsaw puzzles, and figure out how to open the cabin's locked door. At both locations, children ages 6 and older are allowed to enter the escape rooms, but those younger than 16 years old must book a private game. Both locations are open seven days a week from 2 to 11 p.m. and extended hours are offered during the summer. Price: $32 per player at both locations. More information: (631)-974-6988, escapegameli.com.
Just Escape in Massapequa offers six escape rooms with themes ranging from the candy-filled "Sweet Revenge" room to the "Pirates of the Dark Sea Room" and the terrifying "Prey" room. Each escape room has locks players have to decode, with a total of 175 locks spread throughout the six rooms. The "Carnival Conundrum" escape room is the least difficult room and is not scary, making it the best for kids. When players enter the room, they will be distracted by bright lights, fun music and classic carnival games. But as time goes by, the weather at the carnival turns from sun to rain and players have to quickly find their way out in 60 minutes or less. Children ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by a participating adult (ages 16 and younger for the "Prey" room). Just Escape is open noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Price: $35 per player. More information:529 Broadway, (516) 809-8980, justescapeli.com.
Can You Escape? Long Island
Can You Escape? Long Island has a diverse array of rooms for players at its two locations in Mineola (44 Jericho Tpke.) and Long Beach (Riverside Blvd. and the Long Beach Boardwalk). Of all the rooms, Mineola's "Once Upon a Time" room is best for kids. This room tasks players with decoding a fairytale about a little boy in the magical world he constructed, and gives them one hour to uncover clues and secrets that they can use to free themselves from the locked room. The other escape rooms in Mineola are more challenging. The Long Beach location is only open during the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Its escape rooms are completely different than those in Mineola, giving players new opportunities to challenge themselves. While all escape room experiences in Mineola are one hour, those in Long Beach are 30 minutes. Additionally, Can You Escape? Long Island has a mobile bus escape room called "The Insane Asylum," as well as four other types of escape roomes, which can come to any party or event in Nassau and Suffolk.To participate in the escape rooms at all of the locations, players should be 18 years or older. Players younger than 18 in a group must book the entire escape room for themselves and at least one adult must be present. Both locations are open seven days a week, but hours vary. Price: $30 per person in Mineola, $20 in Long Beach, call to inquire about pricing for the mobile escape room. More information: (516) 246-9939; canyouescapeli.com.
Challenge Escape Rooms
Challenge Escape Rooms has three locations on Long Island: Franklin Square (922 Hempstead Turnpike), Rockville Centre (203 Sunrise Highway) and Patchogue (180 E. Main St.). Each has themed rooms ranging in difficulty for players to choose from. Franklin Square's "Under the Sea" room is filled with fish and ocean decorations, and is ranked as having an easy to medium level of difficulty by the location, making it the best option for kids. In Rockville Centre and Patchogue, the board game themed room called "The Game Room" is the least difficult. However, it's still challenging since players have to solve clues and use them in different ways to escape. Challenge Escape Room also has an Escape Room Truck that travels throughout Long Island to different parties and events. At all locations, children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Players ages 14 and younger must book out the entire room. All locations are open 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Price: $31 per player at all locations. More information: 516-888-0202, challengeescaperooms.com.
Padlocked Inc. in Ronkonkoma tasks players with completing escape missions instead of just figuring out how to get out of locked rooms. The location's five escape rooms are immersive experiences, and teams have to crack codes, solve mysteries and piece together clues in 60 minutes or less. Padlocked Inc.'s "Home Alone" escape room is based on the hit 90s movie and is best for kids ages 10 and older. The other escape rooms increase in difficulty. Children ages 5 and older are allowed in the escape rooms; specific age requirements are outlined on its website. Padlocked Inc. is open 3 p.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday. Price: $27 per player. More information: 2402 Ocean Ave. Suite 2, 631-676-5625, padlockedinc.com.
MORE ESCAPE ROOMS
When players enter the escape rooms at Hour Escape in Port Jefferson, they're thrown into an immersive storyline. Both rooms at the location give players a scenario based on the theme of the room, heightening the intensity of figuring out how to escape in 60 minutes or less. In "The Show Must Go On," an escape room that's designed to look like an actress's dressing room from the 60s, players need to find a kidnapped superstar and solve the mystery behind who took her, all while trying to break out of the room. This room is the easier of Hour Escape's two options, so it's best for kids and first timers. The "Diamonds in the Rough" escape room, which looks like the inside of a pawn shop, is more difficult. The escape rooms are best for kids ages 10 and older, but younger players are allowed. Players under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Hour Escape is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Price: $27 per player. More information: 1303 Main St., 631-403-3030, hourescapeportjeff.com.
Operating differently than traditional escape room locations, Know Escape in Port Jefferson creates an interactive mystery experience for players across three rooms. Players are presented with a series of puzzles to solve and clues to uncover in each room. After escaping one room, players move on to the next, since all three rooms connect and provide different challenges. The theme of the game changes, but currently, Know Escape's game is called "Masquerade." It is designed to look like an abandoned theatre where players enter a secret party filled with twists and turns. Check Know Escape's website for updates on the changing theme. Players ages 12 and older are allowed in the escape rooms, but players younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Know Escape is open 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Price: $28 per player. More information: 1518 Main St., 631-241-1239, knowescapeportjefferson.com.