Jamestown, N.Y. – The nature educators at Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) are always looking for creative and fun ways to expose children to the natural world. Their latest example is the Audubon Escape Room.

If you are familiar with this current international craze, you know that escape rooms are usually an opportunity for a small group of older youth or adults — who may or may not all know each other — to be “locked” in a room and have an hour to use clues to figure out how to “escape.” The themes of escape rooms are often spooky, and the puzzles and riddles usually coincide with the theme.

Team Narwhal, composed of the youngsters in the picture, was the first to experience the new Escape Room for Kids at Audubon Community Nature Center. While the escape room craze is usually for older youth and adults, Audubon’s focuses on 8-12 year olds and incorporates learning into their adventure

Leave it to ACNC to take the spirit of the escape room and turn it on its head just a bit. Instead of being for grownups, the Audubon Escape Room is primarily for 8-12 year olds. Rather than battling a scary situation where they are confined in a space, the kids search for clues and solve puzzles throughout the three-story Nature Center to rescue the fledgling Screech Owl before the time runs out.

Team Narwhal, the group that gave the Escape Room its trial run, was able to solve the escape in 47 minutes, setting an Audubon Escape Record for others to challenge. Participants commented afterwards that some enjoyed the search, some enjoyed solving the clues, and others enjoyed just being along for the adventure.

Audubon’s Escape takes place outside of normal building hours, so players have the facility to themselves, making it a great team building activity for birthday parties, youth groups, Scout troops, and others.

The participating group is welcome to use the auditorium for a post-escape meal, and although adults are not permitted to participate in the escape, it is required for at least two to remain onsite with the group to help supervise.

The Audubon Escape Room can be scheduled during the last weekend of the month. Escapes take place on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon. Reservations must be made in advance and will be taken up to a week prior to the Escape date.  

For all the details about the Audubon Escape Room, visit AudubonCNC.org/ScheduleAProgram.

Audubon Community Nature Center is especially grateful to Cathy Johnner for the fantastic job she did with the design. Her Escape Rooms Jamestown (EscapeRoomsJamestown.com) provides adult-focused escape room adventures. 

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways. Visit at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa., or online at auduboncnc.org.