If you’re looking to keep your tween or teen entertained for an hour or two in a way that doesn’t involve electronics, we have two words for you: Escape rooms.
Escape rooms are one of the hottest crazes to hit Long Island in recent years, popping up throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. Originally targeted to adults, many LI escape rooms are now perfect for tweens and teens, whether it’s for a birthday party, a school or camp field trip, Saturday afternoon play date, or a family night out.
Not familiar with this new form of interactive entertainment? A group of people are "locked" in a room for an hour (per state law, doors cannot technically be locked), and have to work together to figure out the clues that will get them out. And when we say room, we’re talking elaborately decorated spaces with specific themes that can be funny, scary, or cerebral, and everything in between.
We’ve put together a list of some of Long Island's most popular escape room venues for kids. Check individual websites for details since prices vary, as do the number of rooms available, how many people each holds, difficulty levels, and age restrictions. Themes occasionally change also. Try one or more. Each offers a unique way for kids to use their imaginations, develop team-building and problem-solving skills, and most of all, have a blast.
Things to know before you go
- Some venues offer rooms appropriate for kids as young as 8.
- Many venues require adult supervision of participants younger than 14.
- Not all themed rooms are available for all ages.
- Most venues require advance registration, either online or via the phone.
- Escape room sessions are timed, so don't be late or you'll likely forfeit your reservation.
- Group sizes vary, so if you are a small party be prepared to join another group or call the venue for personal options.
For more fun with your tween or teen, be sure to check our Teen GoList. Now on to the venues ...
Can You Escape? LI — Hicksville, Long Beach, Mineola
In addition to its main locations in Long Beach and Mineola, this popular escape room’s newest venue, at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, features two 30-minute escape rooms. At all of the locations, groups with children younger than 18 must have at least one adult present. Themed rooms include a fairy tale, subway, an abandoned factory, and more. Birthday party packages ae available. Youth groups, Scout troops, and field trips are welcome.
Challenge Escape Rooms — Franklin Square, Rockville Center, Patchogue
There are a host of family-friendly themed rooms at each of these locations, including a game room, the Sweet Shoppe (bakery theme), The Unsolved Case (detective theme), The Virus Room (science lab), and an art gallery. Its CarnEVIL room (haunted carnival theme) is popular with teens, while one of its scarier rooms, Killer Countdown, is for participants 16 and older.
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Escape the Rooms offers games customized for young kids to tween ages. Photo courtesy of Escape the Rooms
Escape the Rooms — Brookhaven, Ronkonkoma
Like most escape rooms, these originally were designed for adults. But Escape the Rooms now offers rooms with clues specifically for kids and tweens ages 8 to 13. Themes include The Sword in the Stone and Legends of the Hidden Temple. One room boasts a secret tunnel with clues. Birthday packages are available.
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Find and interpret clues under the green lights in the Escape Wonderland room at Escape Zone Long Island. Photo by David L. Pokress for Escape Zone Long Island
Escape Zone Long Island — St. James
This venue has plenty of rooms to choose from with family-friendly options such as Harry Potter Escape, Thieves of the Seven Seas, and Diamond Heist. Children younger than 12 are not permitted in its scariest themed room, which is aptly titled Fear. Birthday and family game nights are available; student clubs, field trips, and Scout visits are welcome.
Hour Escape — Port Jefferson
This family-friendly escape room located in the heart of Port Jeff Village welcomes kids ages 10 and older.Younger children are allowed, but might find the games too difficult. There are two themed rooms, Diamonds in the Rough and The Show Must Go On, and a third room will soon be added, owners say. It's a perfect spot for a family fun night or a child’s birthday party.
Just Escape LI — Massapequa
Popular rooms for kids and families at this venue include Pirates of the Dark Sea (steal the hidden treasure), Sweet Revenge (candy-store themed), and Carnival Conundrum (escape before the storm strikes). Birthday party packages are available. Children younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
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Puzzle Break in Syosset has teamed with the Girl Scouts; girls can enjoy the rooms while earning badges. Photo courtesy of Puzzle Break Long Island
Puzzle Break Long Island — Syosset
This venue offers a number of family-themed rooms, including Midnight Carnival (very popular with kids), The Grimm Escape (complete with an enchanted forest), and 20,000 Leagues (science- and math-related). An added bonus: There are professional game operators in every room to help guide kids and answer questions. Most clues are educational, requiring the use of STEM and literary skills. Birthday party packages are available. School and camp field trips are welcome and the room has teamed with the Girl Scouts, so girls can have fun solving puzzles while working toward completing badge requirements. Plans are underway to open a venue in Smithtown.