“I’m so bored!”
It’s a phrase children inevitably groan as the summer months roll on, and something even parents and adults may be looking to cure as the Utah heat drives them inside.
For those who enjoy puzzles, mystery and a taste of world travel and history, a local Utah company offering an “escape room in a box” might be just the trick for families and adults looking for something to cure their summer boredom.
Finders Seekers began when three friends who share a love of mystery and puzzles went to a local mystery escape room experience together and left thinking “we could do this, and do something better,” said co-founder Cody Dingus.
In-home mystery fun
Their idea for something better was a mystery box subscription service: a carefully designed box sent to subscribers each month with clever puzzles and codes centered on a different location or city as a theme. Solve all the clues, what Dingus and his team term “a Find,” and subscribers are entered into a drawing for cash prizes and rewards. So far, Dingus’ team has created boxes around places such as Paris, Beijing, San Francisco, Boston, London, Petra and more, traveling to each exotic location first for research.
We really want to provide an uplifting option. You’re able to solve fun, challenging mysteries and puzzles, but the educational, historical aspect means there’s also learning involved.
“When we started, we thought it would be challenging to come up with new clues every month,” Dingus said. “But a year later we’ve done over 100 puzzles and clues, and it hasn’t been difficult at all. We get immersed in the research and traveling, and then we let the place dictate the feel and the puzzles themselves.”
For example, one location was Petra, a place known for its trading of exotic fragrances. Dingus said the box included homemade soap scented with amber, incense and myrrh, all part of the puzzles and clues to lead subscribers to the “find.”
Dingus said they aim to be family-friendly, inexpensive entertainment in an industry often dominated by darker mysteries and murder.
“We really want to provide an uplifting option,” said Dingus. “You’re able to solve fun, challenging mysteries and puzzles, but the educational, historical aspect means there’s also learning involved.”
Dingus said he tests each of the puzzles on his children, ages 10 and 12, and suggests Finders Seekers is one of few activities parents and their older children or teens can enjoy together.
He said the game has also become popular for date or game nights, and thanks to a Finders Seekers User Facebook page, even individuals are enjoying solving the puzzles on their own with a little help from a robust online community of more than a thousand “Seekers."
Dingus said Finders Seekers is also a popular experience gifts for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, etc., especially for those hard-to-shop-for friends and family. And with a one-month subscription priced at less than the cost of dinner and a movie and discounts when you prepay for three or six months of mystery boxes, it makes for a creative and inexpensive gift, date night or family activity.