At first we were just taking a leisurely stroll down memory lane in the once famous Balinese Room in Galveston. There was time for some world class entertainment and a little drink from the bar. We wondered if it was true that the margarita was invented here. Then we found our way into the back room where the high rollers gathered and the gambling was king. They were all there, Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, the members of the Rat Pack. Before long our fun had turned to panic. Suddenly we had to get out. Playing the slots for money was illegal after all. The Texas Rangers would soon rush into the room to round up those of us who were flaunting the law. The clock was ticking. We became desperate to escape. We knew that all of us would have to work together to save our collective skins. We wondered if we would be able to escape in time to avert certain danger.
Of course, the Balinese Room no longer exists. The famed nightclub that was a magnet for the rich and famous back in the thirties and forties played out its final hand when Hurricane Ike blasted it from its moorings in 2008, leaving nothing but flotsam and jetsam in its wake. We were instead inside a brand new attraction that opened its doors just before Christmas in the historic Galveston Island Strand area. Escape the Island is a fun-filled brain teasing challenge that features two escape rooms based on Galveston’s colorful history.
For those who are unfamiliar with the newest craze, an escape room is a real time game in which participants must gather clues hidden all around the area so that they may work their way out of rooms within a particular time limit. It requires out of the box thinking, observational skills and teamwork to beat the clock. Everyone contributes to the process with the variety of skills and background that they bring. It is fast paced and demanding but great fun when the “aha” moments that lead to progress prove to be correct. Both the trivia buff and the academic have an opportunity to shine forth. Children and adults alike bring important abilities into the mix.
Escape the Island is located at 910 21st Street in Galveston, Texas just blocks away from The Strand. It features two escape rooms, the Balinese Room and one dedicated to Jean Lafitte. Both supply great fun and adventure even on cold and rainy days. For those who love to explore Galveston Island and spend time getting to know all of its nooks and crannies Escape the Island will surely become the newest must visit attraction. We took our family there on the day after Christmas and the youngest members enjoyed the challenge as much as those of us who are supposed to be older and wiser. We combined our afternoon outing with a stop at one of the many restaurants that are only a short walk away from the Escape the Island location and all agreed that it was a great way to enjoy unique entertainment in the always welcoming atmosphere of Galveston Island.
I suspect that once the public begins to hear about Escape the Island it will become a must see destination for family outings, date nights, parties, corporate team building, church groups and the like. I have attended planning conferences in Galveston in the past and I can imagine taking similar groups to Escape the Island as part of the effort to jump start the team into thinking about alternatives and building camaraderie. As a former teacher I see Escape the Island as a great vehicle for engaging students in the kind of brain activities that teach them how to become critical thinkers. They will absolutely become totally involved in the process of the game and won’t even realize how much they are learning.
The owners of Escape the Island plan to change the themes and puzzles in the rooms regularly to keep their visitors coming back for more. They are filled with enthusiasm, creativity and ideas designed to keep the visitors guessing. This is only the beginning of what is sure to be a fun way to spend an afternoon or an evening any time of the year.
For more information just call 409-443-5092 or visit the Escape the Island website at www.escapetheisland.com where you can book your appointment. The cost is $30.00 a person but if you bring a group of six or more people like we did there is a discount of $5.00 per person. The owners are willing to talk about other special deals for larger groups like businesses, schools or churches so just give them a call to make your plans. I can guarantee that it will be the most fun that you have had in a very long time.
Once you have your appointment just travel down Broadway until you see a sign pointing to The Strand then turn onto 21st Street and look to your right for the 910 21st Street location. You will see a red brick building that has an Escape the Island sign hanging across the second story. There will be three small palm trees in the front and two old time lampposts. There is parking on the street and on either side of the building. Once you enter the rooms be ready to be transported to another time and place where you will be in for a mind blowing experience that is truly great fun.