Macon residents may soon have a new source for entertainment in the downtown area.
Tentatively set to open in August, Situation Room will be a “fully immersive experience” that puts individuals and groups into a room with the purpose of escaping, said Brandan Wormsbacher, one of five partners who are working on the project.
“We are medical residents over at Navicent Health. We were looking for something fun to do in Macon,” Wormsbacher said. “We Googled ‘things to do in Macon’ and nothing came up that we had not already done.”
With that, the friends headed to the Atlanta area to seek entertainment. One of the stops was to one of Atlanta’s “escape the room” venues. This got them thinking.
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“We wanted to make it more accessible for the residents in Macon. You shouldn’t have to drive two hours to have something fun to do,” Wormsbacher said. “We decided to bring an ‘escape the room’ to Macon but make it better.”
The “escape room” concept is something that has “built up quite the following,” said Alex Morrison, director of the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority.
“It is definitely good that we have this type of programmed entertainment for people to engage in,” Morrison said. “Hopefully, people that come downtown for this will see all the exciting things that are going on downtown.”
In a typical escape room experience, a group is set up with a task, and possibly a scenario, that goes along with being trapped in the room. For Situation Room, the goal is for the scenario and storyline to be just as important as getting out of the room.
“For each room you have two quests. One is obviously to escape the room, but the other is to really progress the storyline,” Wormsbacher said. “We want you to feel like you are in a movie, instead of just watching it.”
The room would be run by game masters, who sit in a control room monitoring everything from lighting and temperature to how the players react to the situation. The game masters take notes on how the group is working as a whole and as individuals. This would allow for businesses to bring their employees in for team building exercises.
“We can tell the businesses where communication broke down or where they went wrong in the scenario,” Wormsbacher. “I have heard of people who have received promotions because of how they did in ‘escape the room’ experiences.”
It is definitely good that we have this type of programmed entertainment for people to engage in. Hopefully, people that come downtown for this will see all the exciting things that are going on downtown.
Alex Morrison, director of the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority
Individuals would pay $30 per person per experience. Business rates would be determined on a case by case basis due to what each business may want out of the experience. Participants will be able to book a time through the group’s website, www.situationmacon.com, said Wormsbacher.
The Situation Room, which will be located at 475 Poplar St., is expected to start with two rooms in August and will look to expand to five rooms by next spring. Wormsbacher said he hopes to start with four to five employees, growing to 10 employees with expansion. The group expects to meet with the Planning & Zoning Commission in June.
One of the main goals is to provide family friendly fun in the city while also impacting the community as a whole, said Wormsbacher.
“We do not have anything (quite like this) that you could take your family to in the daytime. It would be nice to not have to drive an hour and a half to do something with high entertainment value,” Wormsbacher said. “The thought was that if we could bring that economy and keep it here in Macon instead of exporting it out, we would be doing a service to the community.”