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New escape room helps customers relive Teton Dam disaster 45 years after it happened

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REXBURG – Floodwaters are rushing your way and will engulf you and your town in 25 minutes unless you can solve the clue to prevent it from happening.

That’s the premise of the Teton Dam Evacuation Escape room, which opened in Rexburg Saturday on the 45th anniversary of the Teton Dam flood.

Staff members at the Musem of Rexburg created the experience, which is designed to help people relive what happened that day while having fun at the same time.

“An accountant working on the Teton Dam project got to work on June 5, 1976. He was told there were some leaks and that he had to evacuate all of the towns below him and then get out himself. That is what our escape room is based on,” Museum Curator Ashley Tietjen tells

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The experience begins with a variety of boxes with locks on them. The goal is to solve a series of riddles to help you determine the code to unlock each box.

Along the way, customers will have access to devices like a rotary phone and a tape recorder — common technology of the day — to help them solve the mystery.

“You get to use some 1970s technology, which is kind of fun for us to watch people struggle with some of that,” says Tietjen.

Tietjen says there will also be some learning opportunities and a few surprises throughout the experience.

“Ten minutes in, you start hearing dripping sounds. When you have 10 minutes left you will hear louder dripping. At 5 minutes left, you will hear the sound of rushing water and when it stops you know you’re time is up,” she says. “If you finish in time, we’ll write down your name and time on a chalkboard along with a group photo to display in the museum.”

Tietjen says the escape room is open to anyone and you don’t have to be an expert on Teton Dam history to give it a try.

She’s hoping it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone who attends.

“We actually started out with only giving you 15 minutes to finish the escape room, and that didn’t go very well,” says Tietjen. “People needed more time so we’ve upped it to 25 minutes. You come here and you’ll learn about what happened that day.”

The Teton Dam Evacuation Escape Room is inside the Museum of Rexburg at 51 North Center Street. It’s open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and appointments start every half hour. The cost is $6 per person.

To book an appointment or learn more, visit the museum’s Facebook page.