You have one hour to find and then solve all of the clues. Will you make it out?
The Lakeland Escape Room is locally owned and operated by Ana and Andrew Gillespie. Ana writes the stories and the sequence of the clues and Andrew builds the rooms. “The puzzles are a combined effort that we often come up with as a family on road trips or at the dinner table,” explained Ana. They offer 4 themed rooms with different levels of difficulty. A team of us from Haven went and tried the Cinema. It is not the most difficult, but it’s not the easiest, either. Ana recommends that beginners try the Speakeasy to start. That leaves the Asylum and Split being the 2 most difficult. Both of them offer a certain level of scariness, that the other two don’t. Each has its own background story with a specific goal you need to reach within 60 minutes. There are monitors in the rooms with a clock counting down, so you always know how much time is left. There is a seperate room in back where employees are always watching and listening to your room to help out if needed.
With that being said, we walked into a room, heard the background story and learned what we needed to accomplish.
And then they shut the door.
4 of us (first-timers) just stood and looked at each other. The 2 that have done this before, frantically started touching and looking at everything.
The countdown begins.
The Escape rooms are part game, part team-building exercise. Sometimes, the answers require critical thinking skills. When there are 5 other people with you thinking 5 different ways, communication and teamwork are crucial. Until you solve the clues to move on, nobody’s going anywhere. My advice is to bring at least one person with you that has done it before, so that you’re not completely lost.
As for our experience, we escaped with 5 seconds left on the clock. Full disclosure, you’re given the opportunity to ask for 3 clues, and we did. After that, if you want a clue they deduct time from your clock. I’ll admit, we had to ask for a 4th clue. As the clock counted down, the suspense grew and voices got louder. But we did it. It was so fun, I will definitely be back to try a different room. It’s not your typical night out, I highly encourage it!
They also have a large conference room to rent. Ideal for companies to bring in employees for a meeting and then team building.
Ana talks about what she wants for the future of the Escape Room, “To continue creating challenging and fun escapes for our friends here in Polk County. We are also very excited about our mobile escape rooms that we have been taking on the road to several schools, Universities and companies. Some of the universities we have been to or are currently scheduled to go to are USF Sarasota/Manatee campus, FAU, Florida Southern and St. Pete College. We have also worked with schools where we bring our buildable mobile escape rooms and build them in a classroom. We are currently building an exciting new escape room concept and will be bringing it to Dennison Middle School for Pi Day. This escape will be custom designed for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students and be focused on math problems. We are very excited about the STEM concept and incorporating it into our escape room.”
Some local residents are getting creative with the experience, too. So far, 8 people have secretly set up to propose in the middle of the game. That required getting in touch with Ana or Andrew ahead of time and planning it out. As you can imagine, the other person is totally not expecting it. Ana continued about a couple hiding a poem for their parents to find while doing the Speakeasy. “In the poem, the ‘grandparent-to-be’ will find out that their daughter and son-in-law are expecting their first child. We are so blessed to be around so much joy during times like these. Watching couples get engaged or families share such special moments like announcing their pregnancies, make us all smile while we are working in the back. It certainly doesn’t feel like work.”
308 E Pine St, Lakeland, FL 33801
Book your room online! Save time before you go and fill out the waiver online, too. No phones or cameras allowed in the room. This is definitely for kids ages 12+ There is normally a maximum of 8 people in a room.
Thank you Lakeland Escape Room!