DOWNEY – Mission control will rely on the citizens of Downey to safely return their shuttle back to earth, all as a part of the Columbia Memorial Space Center’s first ever Spooky Science Escape Room Experience.
This is the first time ever that CMSC is incorporating an escape room activity into its annual Halloween-themed Spooky Science event.
The experience, officially entitled Escape from Space, will task participants with a safe return to Earth after something on their shuttle goes horribly wrong after lift-off. The escape room experience will last approximately 45 minutes, and will be held in the space museum’s Challenger Center, which is usually devoted to class and group activities.
CMSC Director Ben Dickow says that on a scale from one to 10, with one being the easiest, the difficulty level is a about a seven.
The entire experience will incorporate several STEM elements including math, biology, chemistry, and geography. However, Dickow says that Escape from Space is not necessarily meant to be educational.
“There’s a ton of critical thinking that happens to figure out this stuff, which includes some bio, chemistry…but everybody is thinking ‘We have to save the ship!’ It’s the perfect thing for us,” said Dickow. “I don’t wanna tell people it’s educational, but it’s on message. But also being a part of the Halloween thing there’s a little bit of danger, stuff like that. It’s pretty cool.”
The escape room and all the puzzles involved with it were designed by a volunteer friend of the Space Center named Chi Ni.
“He runs after school science programming,” said Dickow. “He’s like a super ace with puzzles; he can solve a Rubik’s cube in a ridiculously short amount of time…he designed all of the puzzles and all of the tasks, then our staff put together the narrative and blended it together with the challenger center.”
According to Dickow, the escape room concept – which was originally only planned for this week’s festivities – has potential to carry on past Halloween and throughout the year.
Other attractions at this weekend’s event will include a costume contest, multiple spooky science demos, and a creepy cardboard crawl through maze for young children.
Spooky Science will take place this Friday and Saturday from 5-9 p.m. Admission is $5, however Escape from Space is free for attendees.