It may not be "Survivor" or "The Amazing Race," but a new escape room in Goldsboro will offer plenty of challenges when it opens on July 28.
Downtown Escapes, at 208 E. Walnut St., will have one themed room to start -- The Heist -- with plans to open a second -- Decipher -- in August or September, said Jared Grantham, co-owner.
Bookings can be made on the company website, at www.downtownescapes.com, where dates and times can be reserved. The business will operate Thursday and Friday, starting at 5:30 p.m., Saturday starting at noon, and Sunday at 2 p.m. Daytime bookings, at other times, are available for corporations and private parties.
"Escape rooms make a great night out with friends," Grantham said.
Escape rooms are set up as a game where a group of friends, co-workers and even strangers are locked in a room where they search through clues to find a way out within a determined amount of time. Players work together as a team, use deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills to solve a series of puzzles and codes to break out of the room and escape before time runs out. Downtown Escapes last for 60 minutes.
The Heist escape room is already set up and designed as an art gallery, with security surrounding different pieces, and participants challenged to find a valuable item. A few clues will be given at the start, and a game master, who will watch the room, may offer other clues to help the team during their quest.
A clock is set up on the wall so players can see time ticking as they work through the room. The team will need to disable the security during their search, all with the goal of escaping the room in under an hour.
The minimum number of people in a room is two, which will make the escape more difficult, and the maximum number is eight. The rooms are designed to have a level of difficulty, making the escape a possibility but uncertain.
"We want to see the success rate, how many people can get out," Grantham said. "You don't want it to be so hard, but you don't want it to be easy."
The Walnut Street building has enough room for the addition of four escape rooms, eventually, and the themes are planned to change in the future for people seeking a new experience.
Co-owners Jared and Amanda Grantham decided to open the business after visiting escape rooms several years ago in other cities.
"There's just this fulfillment of doing this," he said. "They're really addictive. You never really know what you're going to get."
The Granthams also focused their location on downtown Goldsboro, as part of the center city's revitalization.
"We thought what better place to be than in downtown where things are taking place," he said.
They also view being downtown as a more positive experience as merchants work together for the overall success of the area.
"When we decided to go for it and launch this business, we knew from the beginning we wanted to be a part of the downtown movement," said Amanda Grantham. "Historic downtown Goldsboro has a fantastic group of merchants, and we are thrilled to be a part."
Prior to opening, Downtown Escapes will have a scavenger hunt next week in the downtown area where people can search for $200, based on clues that will be released Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Downtown Escapes Facebook.