Unlock History and Escape the Mysteries of the Black Hills
There is a craze sweeping across the nation that even celebrities are getting in on. Escape Rooms! This activity involves themed rooms with different scenarios and brain teaser clues to help you escape. Rapid City has not one but two Escape Rooms in Downtown Rapid City, Rapid Escape and Black Hills Escape Rooms.
Recently the fantastic Do Big Things team took the challenge to escape at Black Hills Escape Rooms. Let me tell you they are a blast as long as you’re not afraid of being locked in a small (sometimes dark) place.
Which room to choose?
Black Hills Escape Rooms has 5 different rooms to choose from, my friend Dani had been to the rooms before and escaped from the most difficult, Terror at Holy Terror, which tells the story of a mining accident in the Black Hills. Most of the rooms only take an hour to complete, although if there is no one else waiting you can take longer. We decided to break in to two teams and see who could escape the fastest. Which rooms were chosen? Haunting in Room 812 and Saloon no. 10.
What these 2 rooms have in common are the events that took place in them. One a mysterious suicide that left the Hotel Alex Johnson haunted and the other, the murder of a wild west hero. I was in Room 812 so I will speak to my haunting experience but those from our group who did the Saloon #10 room had just as much fun as we did. Another great thing about the Saloon no. 10 room is there are two of them so if you really want to race your friends you can do the exact same room.
Which clues are real?
The most challenging part of room 812 was the clues. There were times that we couldn’t tell which clues were real and which were fake. Since many of our clues involved numbers in getting our locks open we had to try multiple codes and write down everyone so we knew what worked and what didn't. Some clues were obvious, but others had us using special tools to help get the right answer. For instance, the clocks were mentioned in a previous clue so we knew they had to have significance. We could see they were all set to different times but the numbers we needed to unlock the code were actually hidden on two different clock faces and we had to use a special light to figure them out. Since every clock had codes and only a couple were right but we had to write down all of them so we could find the ones that worked. PRO TIP: Even if it seems ridiculous or unnecessary try it. More than once someone would suggest something that seemed out of the ordinary that actually worked. When something crazy worked we all got really excited.
It’s ok to call for help
One nice thing is if you are really stumped you can call for help on a walkie talkie. Yes, we had to do this twice but we were glad we did! The clue we were stuck on was a pretty tricky one. Again, this is because there were multiple clues that we were not sure correlated. We were truly stumped and spent way too long rearranging the bottles arguing over different code combinations finally we surrendered and asked. Then we still couldn’t figure it out and called for help again! It was a tough clue but once we figured it out it was smooth sailing to our final escape!
Keep in mind that the clues only get trickier as the game progresses, if you are not getting something right away just take a minute and think about it. There was another clue where we had to unscramble letters from tombstones, after a few different combinations one of the girls figured it out and exclaimed DEATH! We were able to unlock our next clue and advance in the game. Moral of the story, always try everything you can before you call for help. Your brain is sure to figure out the puzzle but if you are lost someone will come to your rescue.
Learn about the area
While the scenarios are fictional the stories behind them are real. That was my favorite thing. On the wall, they have different pamphlets of the actual story that give you clues so make sure you read everything. I had read stories about the ghost in The Hotel Alex Johnson but I never really knew the full story. The escape room gave me a crash course in the lives behind the Lady in White and the mystery behind her suicide. The detail these rooms go into is amazing so check every corner for a clue to get out. I promise you will have fun, even if you are digging through graves and examining bones.
After calling for help two times and solving all of the puzzles our team finished before our co-workers! It took us a little over an hour and it was a ton of fun. When you Visit Rapid City, make sure you add a little time to your schedule to escape!
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