MEXICO — Jess Rodrigue and Nick Graham of Hoodwinked Escape Rooms have opened their first escape room, at the Mexico Rec Center.

A year in the making, the room at 15 Recreation Drive carries a dojo theme, with the feel of a room used for martial arts.

In this theme room, players have an hour to complete their mission and escape the room. A successful escape will require finding hidden clues and solve challenging puzzles.

Jess Rodrigue and Nick Graham of Hoodwinked Escape Rooms at the entrance to the Dojo Escape Room at the Mexico Rec Center at 15 Recreation Drive. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times Buy this Photo

Rodrigue and Graham said they are escape room enthusiasts, having visited about 80, including Vermont, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Graham said it is a family activity, “the thing we do with the boys, ages 12 and 8.”

“It’s something we obviously like doing as a family,” he said.

Graham said their escape room is family friendly.

“We have the ability to send hints if people struggle,” he said, “but you’ve kind of got to go in there and figure it out on your own.

“If you’ve ever watched ‘Indiana Jones’ or ‘The Goonies,’ and you like the idea of discovering secrets, that’s what you do in an escape room — discover secret doors and passages, and solving puzzles.”

“If you’ve seen the work Nick has done with the Haunted Walk in the same building,” Rodrigue said, “you know the quality that has gone into this.”

Added Graham: “A lot of people think it’s about trying to escape. It’s not you versus us. We don’t want you to not escape. You’re paying for an hour of entertainment. Our goal is not to get you stuck in there”

There are misconceptions about escape rooms, according to Rodrigue.

“One is that you’re locked in and can’t get out unless you figure everything out,” she said. “And that’s not true. It’s illegal to lock somebody in a room. One door is always unlocked, and then you have the door you’re trying to get out of.”

Graham noted other misconceptions about escape rooms, including that they are scary, dark or feel claustrophobic.

“We enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun, and we want other people to enjoy it,” Graham said. “We have as much fun watching people go through the room and discover stuff.”

Rodrigue added, “We’re out here cheering them on as they go through.”

Graham said there is enough room for two more escape rooms in the future.

The cost is $22 per person, with a minimum of two people and a maximum or six “or so.”

Hours for now are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends; Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m.; and Monday through Thursday by appointment only.

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