Lakeshore Mall

MARC VALERO/STAFF

A Highlands County couple plan to open an “escape room” business in the Lakeshore Mall.

By MARC VALERO

Staff Writer

SEBRING — You will have to use your wits and get a little help from your friends to make your way out of the new adventure coming to Lakeshore Mall.

Amanda and Joshua Austin are gearing up to open an “escape room” at the mall. They are striving to be ready for business in the latter part of October so they can be open for Halloween.

Escape rooms have become a family-fun phenomenon popping up in Florida and across the country.

“We are really hoping to bring something for middle school and high school [students] and even adults to do around the holiday time,” Amanda Austin said. While the younger kids are doing pumpkin patches and trick or treating, high schoolers will have a safer place to hang out.”

They will have three themed different escape room challenges for groups of about five to seven people who would be locked in one of the rooms with one hour to escape, Austin explained. You will look for clues with each clue leading to the next clue to eventually find the key that releases your group from the room.

“So you have to be good at solving riddles; you are looking for things. It’s awesome,” she said. They will have a lobby/lounge area with a few games like foosball.

Bigger cities — Tampa, Orlando and Miami — have escape rooms, which are a new way to get out and interact, Austin said.

Lakeshore Mall General Manager Jenny Cheek said the escape room business will be near the mall’s front entrance and not too far from Center Court.

Cheek noted the WipeOut Zone, which has inflatable slides and features for kids, added retro arcade games.

Also, Wings and Things is new in the Food Court with burgers and fries and baked macaroni and cheese, she said. It’s really good comfort food.

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