As huge fans of escape rooms, we always include at least two of them in every place we visit. Going to Ottawa, which has an array of widely praised rooms, we had to try the most unique of them all - the Diefenbuker Cold War Museum. The Diefenbunker, built in 1959 as an emergency hideout for government and military officials in the event of a Cold War nuclear attack, and Escape Manor have partnered to run the world’s largest escape room. The experience run Thursday through Sunday in the evening after closing hours and resides within the 100,000 square foot facility. Staying true to its historic roots, the adventure is espionage themed:
"You are on the final guided tour of the day, when you and your friends duck into a room and hide so that you can spend a night at the museum. You soon discover that it is not a museum at all. It is actually a cover for an enemy spy organization. You overhear some people talking behind closed doors of an imminent attack scheduled for tonight! You must escape! But first, you must find the communications room, stop the launch sequence and phone-in the Red Alert transmission to the outside world before it is too late! 12 people, 60 minutes. Do you have what it takes to save the world?"
The entrance, through the blast tunnel, the original artifacts inside the museum - from bunkers and mess rooms to computers and communications systems, make this a truly unique experience.
Because of its popularity the Diefenbunker is often sold out months in advance. However, if you sign up for the waiting list on the Escape Manor Facebook page you are likely to get in if a cancellation occurs. Because the mission is pretty complex, teams of 12 (or smaller groups that get placed together) are broken into smaller groups to work open the three "streams" of puzzles, coming together at the end to crack the code and escape.
We highly recommend it for any escape room fans, Cold War and spy drama devotees and just as a cool team building experience.
Here is our review posted on Trip Advisor:
We lucked out and got three spots after being on the waiting list for about a week, and we highly encourage those who think that they can't get in to sign up for the Facebook waiting list - it will pay off.
Since our group was so small we were paired with two other groups, which worked out great since the escape includes three different activity streams (that's all I'll say to avoid spoilers) - so each team got a separate mission and then we came together to finish the mission.
The setting is fantastic - so you really feel immersed in the story. Running around in a huge space like that, filled with original props in an actual museum setting is what makes this experience worthwhile.
The puzzles our team dealt with would normally only rate a 3 out of five, although my husband and child would probably say 4... One puzzle in particular was extremely frustrating - not very intuitive or logical, but we finally figured out. Our teams came together and we successfully escaped with a minute or two left.
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