“What have we gotten ourselves into?” “You said it would be easy.” “We’ve got to look at this another way.” “WHAT is THIS?” “The CLOCK IS TICKING.” “Hurry!” “Think!” “Just try it.” “YESSSS!” “Can we do this again?”
Those are phrases you might hear from participants of either of the two scenarios at The Hidden Escape in Lithia Springs. Opened in June of 2017, The Hidden Escape was among the first escape rooms on the I-20 corridor west of Atlanta. Owners John and Tessa Turner played their first escape room in October 2016. “When we walked out of that place our minds were blown!” They became quick fans of escape room challenges and lamented that there were none available in the area.
During a family Thanksgiving in Louisiana, they developed a plan to design and open two escape rooms, one in Lithia Springs, the other opened by family members in Lufkin, Texas. Much like escape room participants themselves, the couple moved quickly to solve the challenges before them. In January, only three months after their first experience as players, they started the buildout in Lithia Springs and opened their doors for business five months later.
The owners’ diverse backgrounds are reflected in the eclectic challenges at The Hidden Escape. Tessa was born and raised in south Louisiana. She has a Bachelor's degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. John was born on Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, but eventually lived in Illinois, Maryland, and Arkansas as his parents moved around. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Theology from Jackson College of Ministries in Jackson, Mississippi. After college, John went to St. Petersburg, Russia to help his parents who were missionary furlough replacements, and ended up staying in eastern Europe to continue mission work for about five years.
Tessa and John first met in the country of Lithuania in 2006 where both were living and doing missions work. They returned to the states in 2007 and were married in 2009. They both have been active in making a positive difference for others and believe that The Hidden Escape experience can promote teamwork, respect, and understanding among small groups. “In a society where families and friends rely so much on media for entertainment, escape rooms offer an experience that is not only fun, but enables groups to work together toward a common goal. They are filled with small victories and as groups solve things together, there is a tremendous sense of accomplishment and camaraderie. Escape rooms have many different elements that appeal to many personality types which lends to the overall enjoyment of every group. Whether the players escape or not, our goal is for a group to have an experience that challenges the mind and brings them together. The clock ticking down pushes them to focus and work together.”
The Hidden Escape offers two scenarios; Year of the Roommate and Orion. In the first challenge, participants take on the role of a young college student at George Washington University. Aware that something is awry, they must snoop through their sketchy roommate’s dorm room, in order solve the mystery and escape before the roommate returns from class. In Orion, players emulate Benjamin Franklin Gates in National Treasure as they try to solve the puzzles left by Astronomy Professor and treasure hunter, Dr. Eisenstein.
Both scenarios are family-friendly and challenging. There is no minimum age, but really young children aren’t likely to get as much value from the experience. People from all interests have enjoyed the experience at The Hidden Escape, from escape room enthusiasts to puzzle fanatics to church and business groups. “An Escape Room is a unique experience and hard to explain what it is like to someone who has never played, but everyone should try it at least once with people they love to hang out with. There are few things in life that test an individual's wits like an escape room. When you let several individuals test their wits together under the pressure of time toward a climatic escape, well that's just surprisingly gratifying and wildly entertaining. “