I Tried to Escape the Bus (and Failed!) – An Escape the Bus Review
Last night, the local school district hosted a STEAMFest (more about this in a different post). One of the events they had during this day was Escape the Bus and I want to make sure everyone knows about this.
Escape the Bus is a mobile escape room experience hosted by the iSchool Initiative. It is exactly what it sounds like: a mobile escape room that takes place on a bus. Groups enter the bus, are shown an introductory video, and then they have several minutes (our group had 25 minutes) to solve a series of puzzles that gave us clues to unlock various boxes and solve the overall mystery that would let us “escape the bus”. A group of 4th graders hold the record, they escaped in 20 minutes.
As I mentioned, my group failed. This was in part because we didn’t communicate well and people kept solving the same puzzles over and over again instead of moving on to new puzzles. I blame everyone but me, as one does.
The event itself was very well organized. People are invited in groups into the bus. The time slots are pre-arranged and there are tickets for each session. You approach the table to get your tickets and are told to come back 10 minutes before your session begins. You must have a ticket to get on the bus, and you must be there 10 minutes early or your place will be given to someone on standby. The event ran from 4:00 to 9:00 PM and they were out of tickets in about an hour. There were 8 sessions total and about 20 people per session.
The bus itself was epically cool. When you enter into the bus it is set up like a type of mobile maker lab. There is a 3D printer, a video projection wall, iPads and more. There are locks everywhere, locked boxes and locked cabinets that are just begging to be opened. But before you can open them, you need information.
The story is this: people from the future have come back in time to figure out what has happened to make the young person who cured cancer and created world peace suddenly become disinterested in school, changing the timeline. There is a very direct dig in the intro video against excessive testing and how it makes students lose interest in learning. Your goal is to figure out what this person was working on.
You start with some journals on the wall and the work begins from there. The kids were really good at working things out and we came incredibly close to escaping. Our facilitators were great with the kids and did a good job of talking to everyone afterwards about their experience. In the end there is a message about how young people can do things right now to make the world a better place.
You can find the website for Escape the Bus here. It looks like it is $3,500 for a one day event, which can definitely be cost prohibitive for a lot of places. However, I highly recommend this if at all possible because it was well organized and managed. They are located in Georgia and I don’t know how far they travel as I couldn’t find that information quickly on the website. They do, however, have a contact form that you can use to get more information. You can also do a Google search for “Escape Bus” and your location as it appears there are other mobile escape room experiences that may travel to your area or cost less money.
More on Escape Rooms at TLT:
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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