Keys and Clues: Inside the Talon Falls Escape Room

Stock image: Creative commonsWhen you live in a small town like Cape Girardeau, you don’t expect the unusual. You don’t plan to be trapped in a time machine and sent back to the past, where the only way back is a series of cryptic clues, puzzles, and hidden items, but that’s exactly what happened when we stepped into the Talon Falls Escape Room . . .


It was a normal Saturday night out with friends, we had gotten dinner and decided to hit the mall for a little shopping. That’s when the strangeness hit. Suddenly we were commandeered by a strange man with wild hair claiming to be a time traveler. After some jibberish about wormholes and time paradoxes we found ourselves in a time machine being hurled through three different decades. Trapped in the past we used our wits to solve the puzzles, find the clues, and make our way back to the future.

We discovered that the man behind this fantastic adventure was Cory Henkelman, Manager for Talon Falls Escape. Apparently we weren’t the first to enter the time machine, nor was it the only adventure the Talon Falls Escape had to offer. Along with ‘Escape Back to the Future’ there was also ‘The Morgue,’ during which explorers are locked in a room for 60 minutes. Before the time runs out you must solve the clues and find the key to escape.

Each room is designed and built by owner Todd Ferren, and his wife Shell, who Cory says are partners in crime, “Everything Todd does, Shell is right there. They bring in a crew and build the rooms themselves . . . I see them all as pieces of artwork.” A key member to their team is Clayton Reece, the special effects technician. Along with lights and audio, Clayton also creates special locks for the rooms to throw patrons for a loop, "He adds these important little things that make the rooms so unique."

Talon Falls Escape, which is a year-round location, has been seeing a good deal of success, and the team plans on building on to the business as it grows. The Escape Room is created on a foundation of secrets, so while Cory couldn’t reveal details, he says that a ‘Treasure Hunt’ themed room is being added in addition to the other two rooms. There are also ‘Prison Break’ and ‘Uncle Buck’s Boathouse’ escape rooms in their Melber, Kentucky location.

Cory emphasized that each escape room is a completely different experience, with unique sets of clues to go with the theme, “When the name changes, the game changes.”

Cory says the Ferren’s main goal is making sure this experience is completely immersive, “Every room is a labor of love. It’s not so much about making a profit as providing a great experience.”

Despite the fact that the Escape Room is a branch of Talon Falls, which also has a Screampark, there’s no scare tactics, “We’re not trying to scare, we’re trying to thrill. We don’t need to scare you to thrill you.”

During the 60 minute escape time, patrons stay in contact with the staff through a walkie-talkie, and are watched via security cameras while in the room. Each group that participates get’s their picture taken, and are encouraged to come up with a team name. There’s no prize for those who are triumphant and escape before the time is up, but you do win bragging rights.

“If you live in the area and don’t do this game you’re nuts,” Cory says, adamant on the immersive and thrilling nature of the experience, “It’s the funnest thing you can do in town.”

Talon Falls Escape is located in West Park Mall next to Barnes and Noble. Cost is $25 per person. All bookings must be made online in advance. Visit the website to learn more and purchase tickets. Visit their Facebook for reviews and see who else has escaped.



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