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New escape rooms cater to young escape artists and their families

Clues & Keys, 3120 25th St. S., Fargo, provides escape room fun for children as young as kindergarten.

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Kay and Steven Cameron have opened a new family-friendly escape room location called Clues and Keys in south Fargo. David Samson / The Forum
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FARGO — The operators of several metro area area escape rooms are hoping to appeal to a younger demographic with their new location at 3120 25th St. S.

Escape rooms at Clues & Keys offer clues that can be solved by children as young as kindergarten and first grade.

Steven Cameron, who owns Clues & Keys with his wife, Kay, said the puzzles are a little less complex than those customers may tackle at their other businesses, Puzzled Escape Rooms and Fargo Escape Room .

"The biggest thing is they start here and get their sea legs. Then they'll be ready for Puzzled," Kay explained.

Location lead Amanda Richards, the Camerons' daughter, said it's already working.

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"I already had a boy who played. The whole family did well, but he said, 'I'm ready to go to Puzzled and play' because he knows those are harder," Richards said.

But the fun isn't reserved for kids.

"I would say there is a lot of variety in difficulty levels. Some harder ones and then some more single layer ones that kids can look at more," she said.

"In my pregame, I'm encouraging kids to take the lead on things and letting their parents help them out versus the other way around," she added.

Kay said escape rooms reinforce what kids are learning in school.

"What I think is fun is that this backs up things they're learning in school. Reading is important because it's going to help you here. Problem solving. Working together. Just like a corporate group, it's important to listen and lead. It's the same with a family. Everyone has their strengths," she said.

Clues & Keys currently has two escape rooms: The School Art Show and Reindeer Rescue.

In School Art Show, participants must locate the students' art before the show starts in an hour.

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In Reindeer Rescue, Santa's sister Sandy has kidnapped all of the reindeer. Participants must find the reindeer in the allotted time in order to save Christmas.

Clues & Keys began conducting a soft opening in mid-November. Richards said the response so far has been great.

"Parents probably get into it as much as the kids do. And the kids are encouraged to initiate more problem-solving, so the kids really, really like it," she said. "We've had holiday and birthday parties, and we've had a great response."

'We're just getting started'

While the holiday season is busy for escape rooms, the Camerons say demand is steady year-round.

"You get the holiday surge, and then it goes into business teambuilding. Then we get a little lull so we can catch our breath, but then it goes into the summer tourism time. That is another Christmas season for us," Kay said.

"There is escape room tourism where people will go places specifically to play escape rooms there" Steven added. "We've had people come from all over the country to play our rooms."

In addition to Clues & Keys, the Camerons operate seven rooms at Puzzled Escape Rooms , 3301 S. University Drive, Fargo, and four rooms at Fargo Escape Room , 2220 Main Ave. E., West Fargo.

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They say more rooms and locations are possible.

"We have a lot of dreams. We're not even close to done. We're just getting started," Kay said.

"We haven't even hit the gas yet," Richards added.

BUSINESS PROFILE

WHAT: Clues & Keys

WHERE: 3120 25th St. S. Suite V, Fargo

CONTACT: 701-645-1021

ONLINE: cluesandkeys.com

Angie Wieck is the business editor for The Forum. Email her at awieck@forumcomm.com
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