Rebecca Abdelbaki opened Bellingham Escape the first weekend of March with the hope of creating a space for friends, families, and co-workers to socialize while exercising their minds. Escape rooms are adventure games where a team of participants have a set time to “escape” a room by using elements and solving puzzles inside the room.

Bellingham Escape hosts groups to solve puzzles in one of two themed rooms: Pirate Cove Plunder or Lost Teddy. The first is designed for adults and gives participants 60 minutes to solve several puzzles. The Lost Teddy room is for children and lasts 30 minutes. While the rooms are called “escape rooms,” team members are allowed to leave the game at any time. Neither room is designed to be scary; rather the puzzles are meant to bring people together, Abdelbaki said. “It can bring people together in a way that is engaging, and allows everyone to contribute to a fun activity.”

Karen Funston visited the Pirate Cove Plunder room as part of a work event and said the experience was perfect for co-workers. The puzzles keep people engaged and give them something to do rather than just socialize, which works well for work groups who might otherwise not interact outside the office, Funston said. While her group of eight wasn’t able to solve the puzzle, Funston said she thinks they came very close. The adult room is meant to have about a 70 percent success rate, Abdelbaki said. “People are surprised by how difficult it is,” Abdelbaki said.

The processes started out slow, Funston said, but once the group got the hang of how the puzzles worked, they found a system. “Each person was interested in different pieces of the puzzle, so people we work individually and we would periodically check in with each other,” she said. Since the room is pirate-themed, the puzzles revolve around hunting for treasure. And it’s not just the puzzles that give the game a nautical feel, the room is decorated with jugs, crates, and features an ocean soundscape track to get participants fully in the mood. There are chests to be unlocked and maps to be followed, Funston said. Each time they found a clue, she said, they felt successful. “I really enjoyed it. I personally love puzzles. And it was nice to do something with a group that required teamwork.” Rather than another night at the movies, or a date over a cocktail, Bellingham Escape provides an active and engaging activity, Abdelbaki said.

1417 Cornwall Ave., Ste. A101, Bellingham

360.519.9213 |

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"The puzzles keep people engaged and give them something to do rather than just socialize,"