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New escape room opens in Santa Margarita 

escape room

Courtesy photo.

Cal Poly students helped design new interactive experience

– Getting in is easy – but do you have what it takes to escape? Such is the challenge posed by Escape! at Margarita Adventures, the Central Coast’s newest escape room experience, which is officially launching this week after a soft opening period. An escape room is a “locked” space in which guests work together to solve interactive puzzles within a specific time frame in order to “escape.”

Based in Santa Margarita, Margarita Adventures is known for its zipline tours and, more recently, its nature and adventure tours. Escape! is another addition to the adventure family.

Rita’s Relics: The First Escape!

The inaugural Escape! theme is titled “Rita’s Relics,” and is described by creator Frank Rodgers as “Indiana Jones meets Close Encounters.” The official description is:

“Rita, our resident librarian, has gone missing. As you step into her library in search of clues, the riddles will only multiply. You have one hour to find her and solve the mystery. From artifacts of antiquity to technologies from the future, you will use your hands, feet and, most of all, your mind to unlock the key to Rita’s location and become an Escape! room hero.”

The experience takes up to one hour and has two difficulty settings. The cost is $39 per person and is ideal for groups of two to six people, for ages eight and older. A current holiday promotion provides a $5 discount of gift certificates through Jan. 6, 2023. Visit for booking and gift certificates.

A new adventure

Margarita Adventures proprietor Karl Wittstrom credits longtime Santa Margarita Ranch operations employee Frank Rodgers with conceiving, creating, and building out the Escape! room experience with instrumental help from Cal Poly Amusement Park Engineers and Designers (SLO CAPED).

“Frank is our very own ‘Mr. Gadget,’” Wittstrom said. “He and the Cal Poly students have designed one of the most interactive escape rooms in California, leveraging computer science, robotics, and analytics to create a one-of-a-kind experience.”

“The entire project was all built in-house, which is exciting for us, and we are developing more,” said Rodgers, “Plans are in the works to have three different escape room experiences for people to choose from during the upcoming year, and they are all quite technologically based.”


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