Escape room opens up in Greenwood
By: ARIEL GILREATH
A wand. A unicorn. An Eiffel Tower. A missing Toto.
Each of these items are clues to solving Greenwood’s newest escape room, Trapped Emerald City, which is themed after “The Wizard of Oz.”
In the last few years, escape rooms have cropped up across South Carolina as the trend gains traction among mystery and riddle enthusiasts.
The concept behind an escape room is simple — find clues and solve puzzles to get out of the room — but in practice, they can be challenging to solve.
Trapped Emerald City, which opened Sept. 15, combines the real-life mystery of escape rooms while remaining child-friendly.
“The Wizard of Oz” theme plays off Greenwood’s nickname — the Emerald City — and the premise behind the room is finding Toto, Dorothy’s dog, who was kidnapped by the Wicked Witch.
Most escape rooms use generic layouts and puzzles purchased by the owner for use, but Trapped Emerald City’s room was completely built and thought up by Rob and Julie McMahon.
“You can purchase escape rooms already set up for you — we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to kind of bring something new and kind of original,” Rob said.
He and his wife were inspired to build the room after getting hooked on them in Greenville.
“It was going to some rooms and just trying to give people the same experience here in Greenwood,” Rob said.
The puzzles increase in difficulty the further along you get in the room, but it’s all designed so children can also enjoy it.
“I think a lot of people think ‘escape rooms’ — scary, clowns jumping at me,” Rob said. “We didn’t want something like that. We wanted something that was family friendly, child friendly.”
Participants have one hour to complete all of the puzzles in the room and find Toto.
Gracie Sanders, a seventh-grader at Westview Middle School, did the escape room last week and was able to solve two of the eight puzzles.
“It was very fun and it involved all the people, and you can do different ages, and it’s a good learning experience for everybody,” Sanders said.
Sanders said she had done an escape room before and enjoys the collaboration and team building required to do it in a group.
“I like how it challenges you to do new things and you can learn new stuff and use everything that you know and put it together with other people’s ideas,” Sanders said.
Grayson Fields, who has known the McMahons for four years, helped them build the room but was not involved in the puzzle-making process.
He said Trapped Emerald City felt more unique and original than generic escape rooms.
“I think the others are more commercially made — I know for a fact this came from 100 percent his brain,” Fields said. “So I feel like it’s very homemade — it has a lot of thought into it and a lot of ingenuity into it that is actually amazing.”
Fields, who had done two escape rooms before Trapped Emerald City, said he loved how challenging the puzzles were.
“I thought they were terrific. They’re very challenging. It makes you think, and that’s what I enjoyed about them, is it really makes you think,” Fields said. “You sometimes have to think outside of the box.”
Trapped Emerald City is across from the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce at 222 Phoenix St. and costs $25 per person. For information, visit trappedemeraldcityescaperoom.weebly.com or call 864-397-5625.