On Saturday night our family attended Decode Detroit’s Drive-In Adventure at their Ann Arbor location. We love Escape Rooms and have missed them during quarantine. We have been keeping ourselves busy with EXIT games, but enjoy the in person aspect.
Note; This adventure is temporarily closed while they work on a new version.
Decode Detroit’s Drive-In Adventure Room
In Decode Detroit’s Drive-In Adventure, The Doc is testing a teleportation device behind the building and he needs your help to fix the problems from the safety of your car using two mobile phones.
The Drive-In Adventure uses a combination of projections on the back of the building, your car’s radio, and two mobile devices. We had 5 puzzles to solve and up to 90 minutes to complete the adventure. We completed the adventure in about 50 minutes.
About Decode Detroit
Decode Detroit currently has 2 locations, one in Ann Arbor and one in Ypsilanti. During the pandemic they moved from their original location on Packard Rd east of Carpenter to their new location at 3170 Packard Rd, just east of Platt Rd. We had a little trouble locating Decode Detroit. It is just west of Packard Health. From the front of the building, construction is visible in their windows and there is an alley to the west of Decode with a small sign for their drive-in adventure. Head down the alley between buildings and you’ll see lights guiding you into their drive-in adventure.
Their original Ann Arbor location featured the 3 part Minerva Project – part 1 and 3 in their facility and Part 2 in Downtown Ann Arbor. We had previously completed all 3 parts of the Minerva Project.
In 2021, they opened Around the World in 80 Days at the Ann Arbor location. We visited in Fall 2022 and were able to complete our journey in less than 80 days. Will you be successful?
Their Ypsilanti location has The Aurora Society. We joined the Aurora Society in Fall 2021.
Our Thoughts on Decode Detroit’s Drive-In Adventure
Decode Detroit’s Drive-In Adventure was a perfect socially distanced activity for our family. We stayed in our car the whole time and had no close contact with anyone. After we finished, they did come out to talk with us – but they were masked and a good 15′ away from our car window.
The adventure uses 2 mobile phones, your car radio, and graphics projected on the back of the building. My daughter used her phone in the back seat while my husband and I shared mine in the front seat.
The puzzles were varied and offered some difficulty. The first challenge required solving two similar puzzles – one on each phone. My daughter solved the puzzle on her phone in about 2 minutes, while my husband and I were stuck on ours. Seeing her solution helped us get started on our solution. Other puzzles required us to work together using both phones. On these puzzles, we found it easier if we could see both phones at the same time.
Note: The Drive-In is currently closed for a new updated adventure to be installed.
The Drive-In Adventure needs to be booked in advance by phone (313-438-8054). It is offered nightly with show times depending on time of year as it needs to be dark. We attended on a Saturday night and it was offered at 6p, 7:30p, 9p, and 10:30p. I was able to book our adventure Friday evening. The Friday sessions and the first Saturday time were sold out.
No, I’m not going to give you tips on how to solve the adventure, but we do have some tips to share to make your visit more fun.
Two phones are needed. Make sure they are both charged. My husband and I shared mine in the front seat and my daughter used hers in the back seat
Disable WiFi on your phone. My daughter noticed she randomly picked up a neighbors Xfinity a few times and it disrupted us entering a pattern.
Better than phones, consider using tablets if you have more than 2 players- (you may need to use your phone as a hotspot, we did not connect to WiFi)
Bring a portable radio instead of running the car in either engine or accessory mode.
Dress warmly and bring hot beverages so you don’t need to run the heat.
Escape and Puzzle Games at Home
Of course, you can’t always make it out to an Escape Room. In the last few years we have done a number of both escape and puzzle games at home. These are some of our favorites.
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Each month you receive a box with a mystery to solve in a different destination around the world. We started with the US National Parks. Other destinations included Chicago, Ireland, Washington DC, St Petersburg, and more. Each month’s box includes various puzzles and a “souvenir” that helps you solve mysteries at various locations in the destination.
We really enjoyed our boxes, but our lives got too busy to do one each month. They were perfect for our family of 3 (our daughter was 15 when we had the subscription). We do recommend it for a smaller family. Kids as young as 8-10 will be able to solve some puzzles. But, we recommend the box for families with teens.
Sherlock Holmes Games
For Christmas 2021, I was intrigued by Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Regulars at Vault of Midnight. The box has 10 mysteries that you will help Sherlock Holmes solve by traveling through London and talking to people at various locations.
We have only found time to play about half of the mysteries in the box and can’t wait to finish the rest. These are definitely more challenging than other mysteries we have solved. There are usually a couple layers of mystery that provide red herrings to the central mystery, but are also interesting to solve.
Of the individual box games we like the Exit series the best of the ones we have tried. Note: these are one-time use games as many materials are destroyed to solve the game.
There are two types of boxes – those where you are trying to “escape” and those where you are trying to solve a mystery. Our recommendation is to look for the difficulty level and start with a lower difficulty. We went from a 2 to a 4 difficulty and it was quite a bit more challenging. Don’t worry if you get stuck. There are hints available for each mystery.