[ Puzzled Escape Rooms ]
Story by Susan Hozak-Cardinal with Steve and Kay Cameron
Room photos by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions
Headshots by Dan Francis Photography
Obsessed. That's the word to describe the feeling I had when I did my first escape room about five years ago. Oh, and WINNER! So far, I have been blessed to escape out of every room I've played - I'd like to think it's my mad problem-solving skills and abundance of thinking outside the box skills, but I guess, I had help from the other players too, ha. This month, we're proud to take you inside our very first, Midwest Nest-themed escape room by Puzzled Escape Rooms. Get ready to put your investigative skills to the test because owners, Kay and Steve Cameron will throw plenty of mystery into the mix.
A Passion for Puzzled
I first met the owners of Puzzled Escape Rooms, located in Downtown Fargo, when I played the Museum of Terror. Steve was the Game Master and I could immediately tell it was more than a job for him; this was his passion. And, after meeting his wife Kay, I learned that this passion ran in the family.
With this escape room obsession in my head, I kept toying with the idea of designing my own room and running an escape room business. However, because of time and technical skills constraints, I decided to reach out to Kay and Steve to see if they would be interested in partnering up with me to help fulfill this dream. Lucky for me, they were game. And, they were even open to my "Find the missing turkey" idea that I wanted to incorporate in the room design. YAY!
They had a room but it still needed to be outfitted and created into an escape game. It didn't take us long to decide to put together a room to look like a downtown loft. Now, coming up with and devising the puzzles for the room took a bit more time. I think Kay and I went a little crazy on some ideas at times, but because of Steve's technical skills, he was on board. I can't give too much away, but yes, there is a real oven in the room that requires you to put on your thinking cap to open it.
We met up with Rebecca Knutson and Traci VanBruggen from Floor to Ceiling Carpet One Floor & Home to figure out a cost-effective way to transform our room into a condo that looked livable and cozy. Of course, the carpet needed to go away, and in its place, we put in wood flooring. Cabinets and countertops would be needed to create a kitchen area for an oven and sink. After Rebecca and Traci helped us pick out those things, Matt Mehl from On Point Construction took over to install everything. He worked fast and did an awesome job with the transformation. After that, the room was ready to be staged and outfitted with all sorts of fun puzzles, locks and more!
The Family Nest Room has an eclectic array of Fargo items and art from local artists, including Micah Zimmerman from Amdak Productions, Dan Francis from Dan Francis Photography, Dennis Krull from 5foot20 Design Lounge, and John Borge from John Borge Studios. It's a cozy space that represents what downtown living is all about. And yes, there might even be a puppy in the room, but you'll have to come and check it out to see if that's true. "We wanted to create a room that exemplified downtown living, and by collaborating with Susan, I think the three of us did just that," said Puzzled Escape Rooms owner, Steve Cameron.
"When we bring people in to play The Family Nest Room, there is almost always someone in the group who will say, "This is so cute. I would love to live in a place like this."
Kay Cameron, owner, Puzzled Escape Rooms
Q & A with Steve & Kay Cameron
[ Puzzled Escape Rooms ]
Why did you start Puzzled Escape Rooms?
We’ve always been all about puzzles and treasure hunts. We began by making treasure hunts for our daycare children years ago. When we moved to Moorhead, we discovered our house was owned by one of the most notorious bootleggers in Moorhead and may have had secret spaces where they hid alcohol. When we heard about escape rooms from a friend who played one in Orlando, we knew that was the business for us.
Why do you like being in Downtown Fargo?
Being in Downtown Fargo is being in the middle of the action. Our players love to come downtown to play an escape room and then they can enjoy dinner, drinks and ice cream after the game. Everything is within walking distance, so they only need to park once to enjoy a fun-filled evening out.
What surprised you about the escape room business?
We originally thought that all our players would be local people. However, escape rooms are becoming huge tourist attractions. More and more people are planning vacations around the availability of escape rooms in an area. We’ve had groups come here from across the country to play as many escape rooms in Fargo as they could schedule. We’ve even had a couple come here from Illinois to get married in our Chapel de Puzzled escape room.
What kind of people play escape rooms?
We have all kinds of people play our escape rooms. From couples enjoying a night out together to entire multi-generational families with great grandparents all the way down to the great-grandchildren. We also have many birthdays, bachelor, and bachelorette groups as well as workgroups who come in for team-building exercises.
Why do you love the escape room business?
We love seeing people come in to play who discover that they are smarter than they think they are. It's always satisfying to see people who leave our rooms at the end of the game with more confidence in themselves than they went into the room with. That is one of the often-overlooked values of playing escape rooms.
For more information, contact:
Puzzled Escape Rooms
Floor to Ceiling Carpet One Floor & Home
On Point Construction, Fargo
Midwest Nest loves the culture from the upper midwest, and we are excited to share stories from around the area.