Pure entertainment awaits down the rabbit hole at Maranatha Christian School’s first escape room challenge, available to the public beginning Oct. 13. The unique live adventure game was designed by Mike Warkentin, Grade 4/5 teacher, and Shandi Warkentin, school volunteer.
Down the Rabbit Hole: a Maranatha Christian School escape room challenge is a game that begins in an Alice in Wonderland forest, according to Mike.
“You can’t move on to the next room until you solve riddles, collect clues and solve puzzles,” he said, adding that the game is designed for teens and up. “It’s meant to challenge you and get you thinking outside the box.”
In the escape room challenge you are locked in a room with 40 minutes on the clock and have to solve the puzzles and escape before time runs out.
He said escape games started out online: an interactive room where you find the key and escape. “Someone decided to try this live; it got going in Japan about 20 years ago and caught on like wildfire,” he explained. “It’s still going strong, spreading across North America.”
Shandi and Mike have done five or six escape room challenges across the province. “We love them: they’re fun and challenging and take resourcefulness, logic, perceptiveness and communication,” Shandi said. “We’ve done ninja house, black ops with Morse Code and Mayan temple challenges.
“It takes great teamwork and is great for team-building for organizations and businesses.”
There are four leader boards, tracking the various groups going through. “We have fastest team, fastest business, most team spirit and best team photo,” she continued. “We have a fun photo booth for participants, with costume pieces, props and signs indicating their successes.”
Photos are posted on the Rabbit Hole escape game Facebook page and the team whose photo gets the most likes wins the photo challenge and wins a prize.
“It’s a blast,” Mike stated. “Personally, I’m a fan of anything that makes me think and challenges me. I go in, and if I want to keep going I have to figure out how to do that. You’re using the whole environment to figure things out.”
Mike’s passion for thinking outside the box carries over into his classroom, where he uses codes, puzzles and riddles to encourage critical thinking. “I encourage kids to think in a different way than they’re used to and they love it when they figure things out,” he said.
The escape room challenge is a unique fundraiser for the school and a great opportunity for the community.
“Bookings are going really well; tickets have been on sale for about two weeks and 20 sessions are already sold,” Mike said, adding that high school and elementary students helped build some of the set parts and props.
“We’re all excited to have this in Williams Lake: our kids are pumped about it.”
He said they’re already planning next year’s escape challenge.
Down the Rabbit Hole runs on October 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22.
For more information, including booking a session and where to get tickets, visit Maranatha Escape Room Challenge on Facebook or phone the school 250-392-7410.