Escape Ashland: A Game of Creative Problem-Solving

June 2017

Escape AshlandIf you’re looking for a different, fun, challenging way to spend an afternoon or evening, Escape Ashland, located at 147 N. Pioneer, could be exactly what you’re looking for. Escape Ashland is a place where you go with friends or family to enjoy a game of problem-solving, creativity and teamwork to achieve a common goal.

“Some describe it as an intellectual scavenger hunt,” says Kerri Franklin, the owner and creator of Escape Ashland. “All the information you need is contained within the room, and the most successful groups communicate well and build upon the team members’ ideas and observations.” 

Escape Ashland has something for everyone, and for a range of ages. They’ve hosted groups ranging from a birthday party for a 10-year-old to corporate team building, family reunions, wedding anniversaries and Mother’s Day celebrations.

Escape Ashland came out of an experience Kerri and her family had while visiting Europe. In Brussels, they found an escape room on Trip Advisor listed as the number one thing to do in Brussels. 

“Solving the Sherlock Holmes-themed mystery was entirely different from anything we had done as a family, and we were hooked,” says Kerri. “We learned a great deal about each of our family members’ problem-solving styles, and it was a great bonding activity.”

They enjoyed it so much that they began looking for escape room activities whenever they travelled. It wasn’t long before Kerri and her husband, Jeff, decided that an escape game location right in their own town might be a good idea.

“We thought Ashland would be a perfect town for it, given the community’s penchant for theater, board games, and intellectual pursuits,” says Kerri. “The seed was planted, and for the next six months, we searched for the perfect location, partnered with an escape room designer in Bucharest (the birthplace of escape games in Europe) for game sequencing ideas, and roped in our good friend, Kathy Kane, to help with the real world stuff, like building a room.”

They opened Escape Ashland—a theater-themed escape room—in March 2017. “The Audition,” one of the games they offer, brings together up to eight people to find their way out of a room by solving puzzles, observing clues, and using logic and teamwork.

Games are hosted by Ashland High School and SOU students, who are fans of escape games and theater. They introduce the game and offer hints when teams get stuck.  Each experience, including debrief and celebratory photos, takes about 90 minutes to complete.

“People leave feeling exhilarated and challenged,” says Kerri.  

Located in the alley between the Northwest Nature Shop and Bestow & Bloom, Escape Ashland is open seven days a week, with games running every two hours from noon to 8pm on weekdays, and 10am to 8pm weekends.