By Jennifer Von Ohlen
COKATO Looking for a way to escape the heat and rain this summer?
Sisters Kate (Holt) Keith and Amanda (Holt) Boadi-Aboagye of Cokato are adding the final touches to what will be known as the Cokato Escape Room, a permanent destination for puzzle-solving, family-friendly fun.
Popping up across the US, an escape room is an activity where participants are “locked” in a room usually centered on a fictionalized scenario from which they have one hour to “escape.”
They do this by solving a series of puzzles to find the key or object needed in order to leave the room.
The idea of putting one of these escape rooms in Cokato came to the sisters last fall when Boadi-Aboagye was looking for a family activity to do during the cold autumn months. Knowing her sister had done an escape room before, Boadi-Aboagye asked Keith if she thought it would be suitable for her 8-year-old.
Boadi-Aboagye had asked, “‘Is it scary?’ I knew nothing about them, and [Keith’s] like, ‘No, it’s not scary; it’s just puzzles. You’ll have so much fun.’”
And they did, after trying out an escape room in the Twin Cities.
“All four of us had so much fun,” Boadi-Aboagye recalled. “My 8-year-old could figure things out, my 11-year-old could, I could, my husband could all of us could participate. [It was] family-friendly fun.”
It was only a few days later when Keith proposed a new activity to Boadi-Aboagye: building their own escape room.
“I was like, even if this doesn’t amount to anything, we love doing them so much that we’re like, let’s just do it just to do it,” Keith commented.
The Cokato Escape Room is expected to open within the next few weeks, and will be located in the same building as Lucky Kitchen at 14001 US Highway 12 SW.
There will be one escape room available at the time of opening featuring a diamond heist. A second room is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
In looking ahead, Keith and Boadi-Aboagye also plan to add an addition to the building to make room for a small ice cream shop where participants can visit afterwards.
“What we have experienced [ourselves],” said Boadi-Aboagye, “when we go [to an escape room] with each other and with our kids, [is] we always want to sit down and talk about it cause there’s so much to talk about,” such as the clues and experience as a whole.
One of the questions the sisters get asked frequently is how often the escape room objectives will be rotated. The truth is, these rooms will be around for a while.
“The [escape rooms] that we’ve been to, they don’t change,” said Boadi-Aboagye. “They just have four or five different rooms.”
While thinking back to the escape rooms they had done about six to eight months ago, both sisters agree they would be up to doing those rooms again, “because you kinda forget” after a while.
Unless Keith and Boadi-Aboagye have reason to evaluate otherwise, they anticipate the rooms will be able to remain the same for the next five years.
Another aspect Keith and Boadi-Aboagye have run into with others is discomfort with the idea of needing to escape.
“I think a lot of people are scared that they’re locked-in; they can’t get out,” said Boadi-Aboagye. “I was like that, but it’s so not [scary]. It’s fun, and we’re hoping that people will fall into character. Like they’re [really] in a museum heist trying to steal this diamond.”
Registration for the diamond heist and future escape rooms are to take place online at escaperoomcokato.com.
Group sizes are can range from two to eight members.
Parties are suggested to arrive 15 minutes before they attempt escape.
Cokato Escape Room
at 14001 US Highway 12
(Also available by appointment)
Fridays and Saturdays
afternoon to 9 p.m.
late afternoon to early evening
Register online at escaperoomcokato.com