SEBRING – A1 Escape Rooms held its grand opening Monday afternoon with a ribbon cutting inside the Lakeshore Mall (near the Belk entrance). Business owners Joshua and Amanda Austin of Avon Park have created escape rooms with three different scenarios: the Temple, The Laboratory and the Murder Scene, which might be too intense for kids under 13.

Joshua explained the popular scavenger hunt type puzzle.

“It takes about 60 minutes,” Joshua said. “We give them a story line for each scenario and the people inside the rooms have to gather clues in order to find the key and escape.”

Amanda said the Temple and Laboratory are family-friendly for everyone. Before the grand opening, the couple had two families try to escape the Murder Scene but were unsuccessful. There is no word as to their whereabouts and the Austins aren’t talking.

What they are saying is they wanted to bring something local that families could do together. With a teenager, a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old, the Austins understand family. They also grew up here and remember when the Lakeshore Mall was “the place” to hang out. They wanted to bring some of that back.

“We see how the community is going down a bad path,” Joshua said.

“We wanted to give people something they can do and do it together,” Amanda said. “We wanted to open in the mall; it used to be our hangout with our classmates. It is a safe place for young people.”

The Austins will run specials on admission today (Tuesday).

In addition to the escape rooms, there is another Kid Zone for an admission fee, with an Xbox, a Wii, television and karaoke television and other games for parents waiting for their children, or husbands can watch the game while their wives shop.