It’s a worldwide phenomenon.
Just ask Mark Klaus, owner of Castle Noel, its gift shop and Alien Vacation mini-golf, 260 S. Court St., in Medina.
The popular Christmas museum will expand by adding a new entertainment venue downtown when Klaus opens his new innovation called Escape the Castle. The Hinckley Township resident called the opening “enormous” and hopes to unveil it in the next few months.
“It’s huge,” Klaus said. “They had to chain me down.”
At a news conference that included a visit by Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell, Klaus wore white toy chains over and around his red suit with a green vest.
He said the escape experience started in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It quickly spread to China and on to Canada and the United States.
“It was this idea where you can take a group of people, lock them in a room and give them some puzzles to find their way out,” Klaus said. “It’s taken the world by storm.”
Klaus said Escape the Castle will be the largest escape experience of its kind in the world.
“It’s going to be a totally new way of doing the escape experience with 26,000 square feet of escape challenges,” he said. “‘Can everyone get out?’ That will be the challenge.
“People go all over the country and the world to find new escape experiences. We’re excited that people will be traveling here from everywhere to experience the world’s largest.”
The Castle Noel museum is located in the old United Methodist Church. The mini-golf is at ground level. The museum opened in 2013 and is spread out over 40,000 square feet on three levels and two different buildings.
It’s become a 12-month-a-year attraction. Guided tours last between an hour and 90 minutes and cost $16. It costs $11 to golf.
The goal of the escape experience is to figure out solutions to get out of the castle. Klaus said it’s all about mental challenges. It’s designed for five to 10 people to work together to escape from the castle, and it’s all by reservation. People will have one hour to escape.
“We can build in some amazing features,” Klaus said. “My style is seeing what everyone else is doing and upgrade it to another level. We’re not only investigating what’s out there. We’re also seeing if we can up the ante and create something truly surprising, challenging and a lot of fun.”
There will be numerous skills involved with the escape, including trivia, math, science, problem-solving, puzzles and brain games.
Klaus and his wife Dana said the critiques the museum and mini-golf are getting have been impressive.
“It’s been an amazing collection of five-star reviews on (the website) Trip Advisor,” Klaus said. “People truly love it. We always want to exceed everyone’s expectations.”
Klaus is a well-known artist of Christmas figurines. The Seven Hills native has sold his items on Home Shopping Network and QVC.