If you go
What: Buffalo City Escape
Where: 311 1st Ave S Suite 12
Hours: 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, or by appointment
What: 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse escape room
Where: 504 3rd Ave SE
Hours: By appointment only
Both Buffalo City Escape and the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse escape room offer similar challenges for around the same price, and both are looking to bring more to what the Jamestown area has to offer the community.
Buffalo City Escape, which opened May 25, is owned and operated by Courtney and Shannon Wiest.
“We’ve toyed with the idea of opening one for three to four years,” Courtney Wiest said. “It’s something to do in Jamestown.
“We’re hoping to bring more traffic to the downtown area,” she added. “It’s better than just going to the same bar again.”
The Wiests's business charges $28 per person and requires individuals 16 years old or younger to be supervised by an adult.
“It’s not scary,” Wiest said. “It’s just fairly difficult right now.”
Four to 10 players have up to an hour to rescue Brock Charleston, a "prison inmate" wrongly accused of a crime landing him on death row. Players must find clues to free Charleston and the entire group by signing his exoneration papers to successfully complete the mission, or the group loses.
In the future, the Wiests have plans for three more escape rooms, two of which would pair two groups of players against one another, racing against each other, as well as the clock.
The 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse escape room has a similar theme, but with a vastly different experience. For $25 a person for a group up to six, players must also escape the historically accurate jail room in the basement of the courthouse in one hour.
The courthouse escape room, which opened its doors in the last week of June, has seen only one group escape in the allotted time.
"It’s is very difficult,” said Steven Reidburn, site supervisor for the courthouse. “It’s at least seven out of 10 on the difficulty scale, if not more.”
Reidburn believes anybody can enjoy an escape room, including families, friends and coworkers.
"It's a team-building exercise ... that's how these things started," he said. "You lock people in a room and force them to work together to get out.
“It’s historical, it fits with the courthouse because it’s actually the basement of our jail where this was the real jail back in 1883, so it’s theme based,” Reidburn said. “It’s a lot of fun. It's a puzzle ...”
The courthouse escape room is available by booking appointments online through its website and is open until Labor Day. Searle Swedlund, executive director of Jamestown Tourism, believes the authenticity of the courthouse escape room benefits the entire experience.
"You're not escaping a theoretical jail room, you're escaping a real one," he said.
Swedlund believes the escape rooms at the courthouse and Buffalo City Escape may be exactly what Jamestown needed.
"This was a missing piece of the community and for years I wondered when we were going to get one," he said. "And then suddenly, there were two of them.
"Escape rooms are a fantastic way for families, friends and coworkers to learn how to work together while still having fun," Swedlund said. "That's what these are here for, for people to have fun."