Escape Hunt in Fremantle pride themselves on making family-friendly rooms, so you won't be blindfolded and marched to your room, forced to work in the dark with flashing strobes or have death being the alternative outcome if you don't solve the clues in your allotted hour.
They have six escape rooms (Alice in Puzzleland being the newest, opening in October 2020) and two outdoor games which I haven't yet tried, but incorporate augmented reality and geolocation technology to take you around the local streets of Fremantle.
The premise of Alice in Puzzleland is this: the Mad Hatter has been accused of stealing the Queen of Hearts tarts, and if you don't find them in time, it's off with his head! Okay, so maybe there is a little bit of death.
Intimate knowledge of the Alice in Wonderland story isn't essential, but it never hurts to have a basic understanding. Kids will enjoy the Wonderland theme and of all the escape rooms I have done over the years, I found this the most accessible.
Admittedly it's one of Escape Hunt's easier rooms but that's perfect if you're wanting to come with the family or as a birthday party alternative. That's not to say adults will find it a walkover: it's family-friendly, not designed only for kids.
Photos inside the room are forbidden, but here are some props to get you thinking...
It turned out that my daughter's self-professed expertise courtesy of YouTube did come in handy a few times, as she constantly reminded us props and decorations are usually there for a reason and not just to make the room look pretty. That being said, you also need to be prepared for the inevitable red herring. Or red rose.
One of the most appealing things about kid-friendly escape rooms is that success is not dependent on book smarts (or even the ability to read!). Success comes from being observant, noticing patterns, seeing connections and remembering that when one door opens, sometimes you need to shut it again.
Even though it's referred to as an escape room, you aren't actually locked in – you can walk out at any time – and you are also given a cool walkie talkie in case you get stuck and need to ask for clues. A countdown clock on the wall tells you how much time you have left, and after your hour is up, you are welcome to stay in the waiting area and enjoy a free soft-drink.
We solved the mystery in just over 45 minutes (a personal best!) and we all agreed we needed to come back and do another room. Escaping is quite addictive. Escape Hunt's location in the heart of the Fremantle means there is plenty of parking and restaurants nearby if you want to make a day of it.
While nothing is technically stopping you from bringing a younger child, it is recommended the minimum age of participants is 8 years of age, and since you pay per person, not per room, you should choose wisely. Our youngest was enthusiastic although ultimately didn't solve any clues on her own, while both of my older children (10 and 13) were able to solve a number of clues that my husband and I hadn't figured out yet, which was humbling for us and exciting for them.