Escape on Palafox

Escape the humdrum of your week with a new interactive attraction in Downtown Pensacola. Escape on Palafox is a place for the detective and adventurer in all of us to truly shine, as participants are locked in one of three rooms full of mystery and challenge. No longer are you just a business person or service worker; you’re a secret agent, an art thief, a paranormal investigator.

The brainchild of Patrick Elebash, who runs Elebash Jewelers, Escape on Palafox is another entry in what has become a booming industry in many larger cities in the country over the past couple years. Elebash was first exposed to the concept in Las Vegas and quickly thought that the interactive attraction would be a great fit in Pensacola’s burgeoning Downtown.

“They’re big in New Orleans, DC, Nashville and other big cities,” said Elebash. “These family-friendly mystery rooms feature puzzles and games that really bring people together and challenge them.”

Elebash worked with some game engineers from Hungary to develop the puzzles, and he’s very excited about the upcoming three mystery rooms.

“There’s a secret agent room where a double agent must be identified in a hideout,” said Elebash. “There’s a museum robbery room where you have to steal a precious egg before the time is up. And finally we have a haunted room that is decorated to look like a 1950s girl’s bedroom. Each scenario is a video game brought to life.”

The only way to solve the puzzles and get out of the room is to work together, observe, gather clues, and let the game snowball into an experience of using your mind to conquer each new task and challenge.

The rooms are immaculately adorned to transport participants into the plot and be fully invested in its outcome. Technology has been utilized to make the experience as immersive as possible, and Elebash said that friends and strangers alike will have to work together to solve the mystery in less than an hour.

Some of the games are so complex that the success rate is forecast to be around 50 percent.

“Half of the time, you won’t make it out of there in the allotted hour,” said Elebash. “You’ll have to focus and really keep your wits about you.”

It is for that reason that Elebash recommended that only individuals over the age of 13 get involved with the games. Each room is completely family-friendly, an emphasis of the game-makers, but some of the puzzles are too difficult for young children to comprehend.

“This is really different than anything Pensacola has seen,” said Elebash. “We’re excited for people to try their hand at the different scenarios.”

Given the limited repeatability of solved games, Elebash is planning to change them out every six to 12 months, in order to keep things fresh and satisfied customers coming back.

For those worried about their ability to solve the problems, each scenario will have a game-maker who can keep players safe and feed clues to groups having difficulty.

Between four and eight people are recommended per room, though if a large family of 10 wanted to have a game to themselves, the Escape staff could accommodate that. For those who come with a friend, they may be paired with strangers to meet the minimum room requirements. Elebash promised, though, that the puzzles are as fun with strangers as they are with friends. Reservations are not required but recommended and can be made at escapeonpalafox.com.

At the beginning, Escape on Palafox will be open four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, with nighttime room on Thursday and Friday, and all-day rooms on Saturday and Sunday. A pricing structure has not been worked out yet, but Elebash wants to keep the cost consistent with the attraction’s family-friendliness.

“This can be great for businesses and youth groups, too,” said Elebash. “Nothing teaches you the value of communication, teamwork and leadership like being locked together in a  room for an hour, with only your wits and your friends to help you escape.”

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