Anyone with a knack for puzzles and games like "Clue" is invited to Escape City Hall, opening soon in downtown Mitchell.
Ted and Maureen Mittelstadt from Blue Earth, Minnesota, are opening escape rooms, an interactive entertainment venue, in Mitchell’s old city building and fire hall on the south end of Center Avenue.
“Escape rooms are popular in Minnesota and I’ve always wanted to open one,” Maureen said. “Our son lives in Mitchell and he encouraged us to come to Nebraska and give it a try because it was a great opportunity.”
In May, Maureen visited Mitchell and received a tour of the old city hall building.
“We fell in love with the building,” she said. “The building is 100 years old and the characteristics in here are just awesome. We’ve been working on the building for the past few months and we’re trying to keep as much of it as original as we can.”
Maureen described an escape room as an interactive entertainment concept, kind of like living in a live-action game of Clue. With a one-hour time limit, a group of people are challenged to solve puzzles, look for clues and unlock hidden doors to find the answers to win the game.
Maureen said they’re setting up two rooms to start. One scenario takes place in an attorney’s office. One of the participants has been wrongly accused of a crime. The attorney has died and his ex-wife has hidden the documents that will exonerate the accused. The group has 60 minutes to discover the evidence.
“Each room has a story behind it so participants will know what the challenge is about,” Maureen said. “It’s a team building concept because the group has to work together to complete the puzzle in 60 minutes. It’s great for family, friends and co-workers. It’s also the fastest 60 minutes you’ll ever spend.”
Maureen said they’ve had amazing feedback from the community. “Wherever I go, people are exciting about giving it a try. My son’s co-workers have also been asking him about when it will be ready.”
Ted, Maureen’s husband, said the best way to play a game of escape room is in a group.
“If you try to do it with just two or three, you’ll run out of time,” he said. “With a group of seven or eight working together, you’ll find the answer. It’s a challenge for people who like puzzles.”
Maureen said they hope to be open by the end of January or the beginning of February. Reservations can be made online at their Facebook page, Escape City Hall.
“Escape rooms are fun for every age group, from kids on up,” Maureen said. “The main thing, we want everyone to have fun.”