New owner reopens escape room


Sandy Tutvedt has handed over the keys to Hidden Key Escape Games to new owner Patty Holcomb. Tutvedt built the Escape Game Center on US 93 near Whitefish a few years ago, and now Holcomb wants to put his own spin on this unique attraction.

“I like it here that you can do something indoors that’s safe and clean with your family or a group of friends,” Holcomb said. Even though the Oregon native has lived in the Flathead Valley for 20 years, she doesn’t like cold winter days or elaborate outdoor adventures. When it came time for the previous owners to pass on the activity center, Holcomb relished the opportunity to develop more indoor activity options for the Valley.

Hidden Key Escape Games offers three challenges for groups of approximately two to 10 people that simulate a fantasy environment where participants must use their wits and creativity to escape the room in an hour. The “North Fork Cabin” simulates a search and rescue mission; “Saving Camelot” takes players back to medieval times; and “Secret of Terces” immerses guests in a secret society. Players piece together clues, crack codes and try other tricks straight out of blockbuster movies.

“Some people like puzzles and crosswords and fantasy,” Holcomb pointed out. Escape games are a chance to put their skills to the test and experience some of the exciting scenarios they have only imagined. There is always an emergency door and Hidden Key players only participate with members of their own party, so the unsettling experience is difficult but doable.

It’s a unique way to have fun that Holcomb said many adults love. She said Hidden Key gets a lot of business from local players and tourists, and most of their visitors are adults, although children as young as 6 can play with their parents’ permission. Many escapees return to the center time and time again to try new setups or try again to complete a challenge that stymied them earlier.

Hidden Key also features a “Pirate Booty” mobile game which is geared towards corporate events and professional team building exercises, giving employees in suits and ties a chance to bust eye patches and search for hidden treasure. . Holcomb is currently revamping this game to accommodate approximately 240 people.

Since the industry norm is to rearrange each room roughly every nine months, Holcomb plans to replace the North Fork Cabin game with an asylum-themed attraction this summer. Anyone willing to try their hand at finding their way out of the deep woods should visit Hidden Key as soon as possible.

Since taking over ownership of the gaming center in April, Holcomb has also considered a number of other changes. The biggest addition will be a rage room, which Holcomb hopes to debut next month. This unique space will allow visitors to don protective gear and let off steam by throwing, smashing and kicking discarded objects like old computers, printers, bottles or even photos of an ex-boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. a not-so-loved boss.

The Hidden Key Rage Room will be the first such space in Montana, according to Holcomb. The trend started overseas, and while this may be a new concept for the Valley, Holcomb is confident this unique outlet will generate some interest.

“People here don’t know what an anger room is,” she said. But it’s not hard to explain: “You just walked in and broke stuff.”

She said the unconventional activity makes for a fun way to celebrate birthdays, bachelorette parties or just a chance to blow off some steam. Hidden Key is accepting donations of breakable items – not filled with mercury – for the rage room on their porch.

She hopes to expand Hidden Key’s programming to also include activities such as monthly date nights.

Holcomb demonstrated the concepts to new players at Hidden Key’s “Grand Reopening” event on July 4, where attendees could play a mobile puzzle game or pay to smash a battered car for fun.

Escape games, rage rooms, and other unorthodox activities like these are growing in popularity across the country. Holcomb and her family first discovered the concepts in Oregon, and now she hopes to bring these original ideas home.

Hidden Key Escape Games is located at 5790 US 93 S. Hours of operation are 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, and reservations can be made at https://hiddenkeyescapegames.com/shop/

Journalist Bret Anne Serbin can be reached at (406)-758-4459 or [email protected]

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