Posted by Leif Palmer in Things To Do
When you visit an attraction, you usually want to spend as much time there as you possibly can. It's only natural to want to get the most bang for your buck. But there's one type of tourist attraction in the Great Smoky Mountains where guests do the exact opposite: They try to get OUT of the building as soon as possible. In this case, however, it's not because they're having a bad time. In fact, when you visit an escape room, your goal is exit the challenge in the shortest amount of time.
Escape rooms have been a presence in the Smokies for several years now, and these days, it seems they're more popular than ever. From Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg, there are quite a few different businesses and experiences to choose from, so whether you're an experienced escape artist or a first-timer, there are options aplenty.
In case you're not familiar with the escape-room concept, guests are “locked” in a room or a series of rooms that are tied into a specific theme (more about that below). The group must work together as a team to escape within a specified amount of time, usually an hour. Along the way, participants are given clues, puzzles and challenges to overcome in order to successfully get out of the room before time expires.
If this sounds to you like a fun way to spend some time on your next visit to the Smokies, but you're not sure where to start, we've compiled overviews of many of the local escape rooms and what each has to offer.
You'll find this attraction at The Island, a popular multiuse destination in the heart of Pigeon Forge. The Escape Game offers a wide variety of themes, including Prison Break, Gold Rush, The Heist, Mission: Mars and Classified. In Mission: Mars, for example, the team has 60 minutes to launch its spaceship from Mars before a fatal amount of cosmic radiation hits the planet, making it impossible to get back to earth. Each room's experience is rated on a specific level of difficulty, ranging from 7 to 10. Some rooms only allow as many as six players per session, while others accommodate as many as 10. Each room has six different run times scheduled throughout the day.
This destination is also in Pigeon Forge, at The Shops of Pigeon Forge mall, near the intersection of Wears Valley Rd. and Teaster Ln. There are five different themes to choose from, including Orange and White, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, The Haunting, Mad Scientist and Diamond Heist. Orange And White is billed as the first head-to-head escape room in town, pitting two different teams against each other in two identical rooms. Any of the Smoky Mountain Escape Games experiences, however, is ideal for groups of friends, families, tourists, gamers or corporate personnel looking for a unique team-building outing.
You'll head to Gatlinburg to enjoy either of the two locations of this escape-room attraction. The location at Reagan Terrace Mall offers themed experiences such as Masters of Magic, The Legend of Atlantis, Moonshine Hill Hootenanny, The Haunting of Hyde House and Curse of the Kraken's Eye. In the Masters of Magic room, for example, you and your teammates are called upon to perform and solve an array of magical tricks, puzzles and brain-teasing challenges in order to progress into the secret Realm of Illusions. The second location of Gatlin's Escape Games is at The Village in Gatlinburg and only offers the Masters of Magic experience.
This attraction specializes in private escape-room experiences that don't require you to play with strangers. Here's what's in store:
Clue – A real-life rendition of the popular mystery game. Save the day by uncovering who is plotting a murder, with what weapon and in which room.
The Kidnapping – This is one of their most popular rooms. Participants start out handcuffed and blindfolded and must escape before their kidnapper returns.
Undercover Alley – You have to unlock the secrets of the alley and stop a crime syndicate before they pull off their next attack.
Mystery Mansion – Work as a team to uncover the mansion's secrets in this all-ages mystery adventure.
In addition to its three 60-minute escape adventures-Poker Night at the President's Bunker, Escape Artist: The Final Séance and Mountain Top Murders-The Great Escape Room in Pigeon Forge also offers scavenger-hunt and portable escape experiences. In the scavenger hunt room, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have decided to start training apprentices, and guests are given their chance to join forces. You'll test your skills of observation and deductive reasoning in Sherlock's library in order to pass the test. Meanwhile, On the Run is a portable experience that brings the excitement of a competitive puzzle-solving event to the location of your choice. It's suitable for groups of 50 or more.
This attraction, located in Pigeon Forge, offers five different escape rooms: Alcatraz, Asylum, Capone, Dead Zone, Haunted Cabin. In Asylum, you and your team go undercover in a seedy asylum to try to shut it down. But you have to escape before you're discovered by the doctors. The team will need to muster its critical-thinking skills, delegation skills and sense of camaraderie in order to beat the clock. Trapped has also opened a second location, in Nashville.
This Gatlinburg attraction is on Historic Nature Trail and has four unique escape themes behind its walls. Aztec Temple, Goliath, Merlin's Secret Chamber and Doomsday Bomber are all designed to test your mental acuity and challenge your abilities while the clock is ticking. The games at HeadCase have been created to accommodate almost any age, and their staff will be on hand during your adventure to skillfully guide you through your choice of room in an interactive, team-building environment.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in east Tennessee. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.