Escape rooms have become a commonplace method of entertainment across the globe. Each one generally gives guests an hour to find their way out of themed rooms by giving critical thinking clues to help the "prisoners" escape their new reality. Themes for these entertaining games range from stories of espionage to crime scene investigations. But by far the most popular theme are those that take inside of prisons.
While most escape rooms host these games in a general vicinity and decorate their escape rooms accordingly, there are those who thrive off authenticity. Which is why there are a handful of escape rooms around the world that are hosted in actual prisons. These abandoned cells create an ominous and creepy atmosphere that adds an extra level of terror to these games. Check out these ten creepy escape rooms held in actual prisons.
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10 Amaze Escape
Amaze Escape in Arlington Massachusetts is one of the few escape rooms who invested in the game’s authenticity. Because prison-themed escape rooms are such a hot commodity, they decided to procure actual jail cells for their guests to try to get out of.
Teams are encouraged to work together to solve puzzles to help them escape Death Row.
9 Crate Escape
John and Logan McMillan, along with their friend Andrew Dean, turned a real-life prison into Crate Escape in Christchurch, New Zealand. Logan and Andrew are award-winning filmmakers who wanted to use the creaky jail cell doors and a creepy atmosphere to their advantage when they had the idea to open an escape room. The 300-square meters of the former courthouse holding cells does just that.
Crate Escape starts by sending a group of blindfolded and handcuffed “prisoners” down into a briefing room within the prison. After that, they are left to fend for themselves and use their logical thinking solutions in order to find a way out. Oh, and there’s also no cell phone service down there.
8 Franklin County Historic Jail
What’s scary about this one is that it held a notorious prisoner. 1920s gangster, Charlie Birger, was held at the Franklin County Jail from June 1927 to April 1928 where he was hanged for the murder of Joe Adams amongst a bevy of other crimes.
Now, residents of Illinois and daring travelers can get a feel of the life behind its real prison bars. “Prisoners” are locked in the lower jail block cell and have to use puzzle-solving tactics in order to break out. Like most game rooms, they have sixty minutes to escape.
7 Shepton Mallet Prison
Shepton Mallet Prison was built in 1610 and became known as the oldest prison in the United Kingdom. Behind its walls, prisoners would frequently die of illnesses as there was no real medical treatment. Security was slim and men, women, and children were all placed together. Death sentences were frequently carried out here, with the latest happening in 1945 under the direct order of the military. The jail eventually closed in 2013 and was refashioned into a prison-themed escape room.
The prison now advertises the escape room as “team building behind bars” and frequently caters to corporate company outings. Attendees will learn the full details of the corrupt events that happened within the prison walls and then try their hand at escaping themselves.
6 Prison Break Miami
The storyline for this room gives players 60 minutes to escape an unencumbered prison, where the guards have all vanished. As death row inmates with no chance for appeal, this is their last shot at freedom.
Miami’s escape room masterminds were so dedicated to bringing out a real-life experience that they brought the jail straight to their guests. Their Prison Break Miami Escape Room is made out of real prison cells. They obtained the infrastructure from a decommissioned jail. The 1960’s cells came from an old jail in Iowa.
5 Parnu Prison Escape
The former Parnu prison in Scandinavia was turned into an escape room after the jail closed in 2007. This complex is so big that up to 24 people are needed to play the three-hour long game. The rooms are full of puzzles constructed from the prison's most psychotic prisoners.
Visitors comment on the escape room's frightening demeanor, with people of all ages enjoying the challenging clues throughout the prison. Escaping from the depths of this real prison is a sure-fire way to get your adrenaline pumping.
4 Buchanan Jail
In downtown Buchanan, Matt Herm and Aaron Smith found the perfect spot to open their new escape room. The former historic Ross-Sanders building housed decrepit jail cells with chains still hooked to the walls.
The two saw it as a no-brainer. They purchased the building and now visitors can experience a unique interactive escape room. Players are locked up and have to use a series of clues and messages in order to escape without raising an alarm.
3 Escape Room Bijlmerbajes Ontgrendeld
Within the streets of Amsterdam, Escape Room Bijlmerbajes Ontgrendeld takes place in a former prison establishment. Bijlmerbajes took in its first real criminals in 1978. It was known for being a lax jail, with no bars on the windows and with group activities scheduled on a regular basis. Prisoners could take place in mud wrestling, attend rock concerts, or even take part in striptease performances.
Once the jail closed, it was reopened in 2016 to allow guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try to escape the prison cells. The Escape Room closed earlier this year because the six-tower prison framework was demolished forever.
2 Escape the Cornwall Jail
This escape room takes place at the notorious The Historic Cornwall Jail in Ottawa, Canada. The grand-scale escape takes place inside the former large prison which helps give the game a realistic feel. From 1863 to 2002, it acted as a high-security prison for inmates on death row. It was the scene of countless fights, suicides, and illness. Some say there are still bodies buried in the rec yard.
The escape room at The Historic Cornwall Jail starts off with a false accusation which lands the group in jail. They then have an hour to solve the crime unless they want to be locked away forever.
1 Maui Escape Rooms
In Maui, Hawaii, the creatives behind the island's escape room games decided to take their ideas one step further. They built a full-fledged prison that is now used as an escape room.
Players locked inside West Maui County Prison are placed into two adjacent jail cells with only an hour before the guard's return. A man on the inside says there's an escape plan, but players have to dig through the rough edges of their jail cell in order to find a way out!