The Great Escape – Waxahachie’s first escape room – celebrated its grand opening, Nov. 1.

Interactive puzzle game enthusiasts can now check out the seven rooms, each with a different theme: Classic Mario, Avalanche, Emerald Excavation, Escape the Funhouse, Plankton's Revenge, Compression and Party Time. The goal is to find hidden clues and solve challenging puzzles throughout a room within 60 minutes. It’s like a real-life video game and you are the actual character.

The female trio, spanning three generations, who own and operate the facility, spent months preparing for the opening.

“We want [people] to feel like it’s a movie-like experience, that they’re actually there,” said Co-owner Jackie Coffey.

“We want them to feel like they’re in the story,” added Coffey’s daughter, 14-year-old Bella Renfroe who is also a co-owner. “We want them to feel like they’re a part, like their life depends on it. That’s the goal.”

Young Bella is the mastermind behind the family’s adventure into the escape room business. She got the idea after visiting an escape room for her birthday about three years ago.

“We just had an awesome time and I was like, ‘This is really cool,’” Bella explained.

Coffey has opened other businesses in the past and is used to Bella pushing her to open different things, often something hip and fun.

“With this idea, she finally listened. I was like, ‘Mom open an escape room,’ and she was like, ‘Okay,’" Bella laughed.

Rossy Ballesteros, Bella’s grandmother, is the third owner

The hands-on powerhouse trio did all the work to transform the building at 791 N. Highway 77 into an adventure space. Ballesteros and Bella mostly did the painting, while Coffey took on the decorating and construction of the props. She also built the counter and benches in the main area.

“Anything that’s built, I built,” Coffey boasted. “Anything put together I pretty much did. Anything painted, [Ballesteros and Bella] did.

The experience costs $28 per person, which is substantially cheaper than a Dallas-area escape room that may run up to $50.

The Great Escape is for the entire family, and can also accommodate parties and company events.

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