If you have pre-teen or teenage children, you know there are countless activities and interests pulling them in different directions. Spending quality time with them can become increasingly challenging to accomplish. So, I was thrilled to discover two businesses relatively new to the New Orleans area that offer an indoor activity that everyone from adults to pre-teens will enjoy.

These businesses, Escape My Room and Clue Carré, bring a growing national game to the local landscape. The concept is a simple: A small group of people is locked in a room for 60 minutes, charged with the task of solving puzzles and finding clues that eventually lead to the code to unlock the door. Escape My Room offers two rooms, both with a maximum capacity of eight people. The two rooms, The Mardi Gras Study and the Jazz Parlor, are, "both replicas of rooms from the DeLaporte mansion, which was demolished to make way for construction of the new hospital. Solving the puzzles and clues in each room lead you down a mysterious path where you help Mrs. DeLaporte find a missing treasure and solve an old murder mystery." It is important to note that children under 12 are only allowed if the entire room has been booked by your party.

Clue Carré, located in the CBD, offers five different rooms: the Mardi Gras Den, the Voodoo Room, the Secret Agent Room, the Haunted Swamp Room and the Vampire Hunter Room. The maximum number of participants varies from seven to 10 depending on the specific room, and children must be at least 8 years old. If your party is the exact size that the room allows, you have the entire experience to yourselves. However, if you’re booking a smaller number, the remaining spots may be filled with other customers.

Both companies offer very user-friendly websites that allow you to read a description of each room and view the available number of participants per time slot. It also shows you the average percentage of the “escape success rate.” If you think it sounds easy to follow a few clues and solve a few puzzles, think again! The average success rate hovers around 30 percent. Both companies allow you to book and prepay online, so when you arrive, you simply check in. While you’re only “locked” in your room for one hour, you should prepare to be there for longer, as you have a quick orientation before your time begins.

This is a great activity for groups of friends or multiple generations of a family. Photography isn’t allowed inside the rooms, so all cell phones are left in lockers in the lobby. Your teenagers will be amazed at how much fun they can have without their cell phones! Come ready to laugh but also ready to work together as a team to untangle the mystery set before you. Whether you succeed in the 60-minute time slot or not, you’ll be hooked and ready to be locked up again soon!

Just the Facts:
Clue Carré
830 Union St.
Open seven days a week; hours vary
Reservations required, call if within 16 hours of booking time

Escape My Room
633 Constance St.
Open seven days a week; hours vary
Reservations required and can be booked up to one hour prior to game time; walk-ins not accepted