The Franklin Institute to launch two escape rooms this summer

Philadelphians looking for a little escape this summer can head to the Franklin Institute, which this summer will debut two new escape rooms in a museum first.

The Franklin Institute’s inaugural foray into reality entertainment kicks off June 14 with the launch of Intergalactic Escape, followed by the debut of Island Escape on June 28. The rooms -- with technology like wrist scanners and set across about 4,000 square feet of space -- are touted as “the largest and most technologically advanced escape room” games in Philly.

For the uninitiated, escape rooms are the latest trend in live entertainment, and serve as live-action puzzle games that challenge players to figure out clues to break out of a room within a predetermined period of time. Philadelphia already is home to several.

The Intergalactic Escape is a sci-fi-themed adventure into a parallel world with the Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer and planetarium director, Derrick Pitts. Replete with pop-culture references to favorites like The Matrix, The Fifth Element, and Star Trek, this one is for the geeks among us — provided they are at least 13 years old. Expected completion time for this room is about 60 minutes.

The Island Escape room, meanwhile, transports players to a bizarre billionaire’s private island, where they will complete puzzles to “earn safe passage off the island,” according to a release. An immersive room, this one will assign roles (like entertainment director or movie star) to participants, who will have 60 minutes to complete tasks like peddling a carousel bike or keeping beach balls up in the air. Players for this room should be age 8 and up.

Franklin Institute designed the rooms in conjunction with Steel Owl Games, the company behind Escape the 1980s, an 80s-themed escape room in South Philadelphia. According to a release, the two worked together to construct “Next Generation Escape Rooms” that incorporate more technology and effects than traditional rooms.

“Developing an escape-game experience at the Franklin Institute allows us to blend the puzzle-solving challenges that carry a universal appeal, with the most advanced technology -- all while encouraging critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills that are crucial in all fields of science,” Franklin Institute president and CEO Larry Dubinski said in a statement.

Tickets for the rooms are $28 each, and are not included in general museum admission. Rooms are capped at 14 players, with a minimum of six players per run.

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