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When the television show “The Amazing Race” first aired, I was fascinated. Combining adventure, strength and smarts to travel and potentially win a prize was deeply appealing. Knowing we’d likely kill each other before we made it to the finish line, my husband and I never applied. However, when we learned that Hourglass Escape Rooms in our region of Arkansas host mini Amazing Race-style adventures, we went for it.
If you haven’t jumped into the escape room craze, you are missing out on a fun entertainment experience. You and your friends will spend one hour in a themed room solving puzzles and cracking codes as fast as you can to escape before the clock runs out. Your task might be to solve a crime or uncover a murder suspect. You may need to escape from an upside-down room like the one featured in the Wonderland room or catch a Runaway Reindeer. No matter what, you will need to work together to solve the clues in under an hour.
Hourglass Escape Rooms in Arkansas operates four rooms in Searcy and five at their Russellville location. Each room costs $10 to $12 per person. You can complete them with groups as small as two people, but the more, the merrier. Larger groups offer a higher chance of success.
Continuing in 2020, Hourglass Escape Rooms is moving the fun beyond the four walls of the room and bringing it to the streets of your town for an Amazing Race-style escape room experience.
Russellville’s first event took place around Halloween when 33 teams signed up to race against each other and the clock to solve clues throughout town that would eventually lead them back to Hourglass Headquarters. In December, both Russellville and Searcy residents got to compete for one of three trophies in a similar Christmas-themed event.
On the morning of The Amazing Christmas Race in Searcy, the excitement was electric. My husband and I and three of our friends gathered at the location for our assigned start time. We checked in and received a small bag of supplies, a wrapped gift and our first clue. All of a sudden, the clock was running and so were we, off on a whirlwind adventure that took us through the city solving riddles and puzzles.
The clues are all written by Jessica Stevens, who owns both Hourglass locations with her husband, Mark. Jessica spends time researching local history and places to come up with interesting clues that will have you visiting several spots around town. Participants with a little knowledge of the area have a slight advantage, although most clues are easy to Google if your team is completely stumped.
We read our first clue, buckled up and headed for our first location, which happened to be the historic Rialto Theater in downtown Searcy. Once there, we had to take a selfie with our entire group and text it back to receive our next clue. Along the way, we completed tasks such as recreating the poster of our favorite Christmas movie, crafting reindeer antlers out of pantyhose and balloons, and singing Christmas carols in the park.
There may have been some arguing over traffic rules and the best route to take us to the next location, but there is no denying that we had an absolute blast. The final time for our group was 52 minutes, a full nine minutes behind the winning team. We laughed a lot and had a great time with friends, thus achieving the whole point of the adventure.
If you missed out on the recent events, you’re in luck. Hourglass is planning an Amazing Easter Race at both of their locations. The dates haven’t yet been set, but they will be posting about them on their Facebook pages as the holiday approaches. In the meantime, you can check out the Escape Rooms for some indoor fun this winter.
Hourglass Escape Rooms – Searcy
Hourglass Escape Rooms – Russellville
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