Park District Launches New Escape Room at Historic Creek Bend Farm

LINDSEY – For a group of six inside the Sandusky County Park District Homestead House at Creek Bend Farmthe clock ticked Thursday night as they raced to find clues.

Their frantic search led them to comb through playing cards, rummage through cupboards and bend down to look under chairs and furniture inside one of the historic house’s first-floor rooms. of the 19th century.

It’s all part of Codebreakers, the new park district escape room at Homestead House that’s for people who like a challenge and are willing to work together to solve a puzzle.

“It was intense. It took us a while to figure this thing out,” Brian Miller of Clyde said, after he, his wife, Rhonda, and four of their friends managed to find all their clues and complete their job Thursday.

The plot takes place in the early 1940s during World War II.

Sandusky County Park District Program Supervisor Deb Nofzinger said Codebreakers is set in the early 1940s during World War II.

A missing family member left messages all over the escape room, Nofzinger said.

Clyde's Kim Strudthoff searches for clues at the Sandusky County Park District's new Codebreakers escape room at the Creek Bend Farm Homestead on Thursday.

To pass Codebreakers, guests must find clues and send a secret message to aid the war effort.

The Park District launched its new escape room earlier in February, with the Homestead House open Thursdays and Saturdays at varying times.

“We’ve been thinking about an escape room for a few years,” Nofzinger said, noting the rooms’ growing popularity.

The escape game puts groups to the test

Groups of up to six people are allowed in the escape room, with visitors having one hour to decipher the clues and send their secret message.

Before Thursday’s group started, Nofzinger read the instructions in an adjoining room.

“Be sure to check above, below and inside items, including furniture,” Nofzinger said, adding that she might give them clues, depending on their progress, or that she might not.

Deb Nofzinger, the Sandusky County Park District program coordinator, watches participants search for clues at the Homestead House at Creek Bend Farm Thursday during the park district's

From there, the Millers, Wayne Strudthoff, Kim Strudthoff, Molly Brubaker, and Ted Brubaker converged in the escape room and began looking for clues.

Rhonda Miller took notes as band members opened doors, peeked inside books and deliberated on next steps, while Nofzinger sat in a chair in the corner and called periodically how long they had taken.

The escape room is a natural fit for Homestead House

The Creek Bend Homestead House property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was the home of former Sandusky County Commissioner Fran and Bob Roush.

The Park District obtained the property’s land, house, and barn in 2002 through a Roush family donation and grant.

There are several park districts in Ohio that run their own escape rooms, Nofzinger said.

Nofzinger said Sarah Chong, an interpretive naturalist from the park district, came up with the concept of an escape room at Homestead House.

Clyde's Brian Miller searches for clues Thursday at Sandusky County District's

“I always thought it would be the perfect setting for hiding clues and solving mysteries,” Nofzinger said.

Since the district launched its Homestead House escape room, the fastest group completed the challenge in 27 minutes.

Nofzinger said the slowest group took 54 minutes.

As freezing rain and sleet rained down on the roof and blanketed Ohio 590 Thursday night, the group of six completed the mission in just over 40 minutes.

“It was very well thought out,” Kim Strudthoff said, as Nofzinger asked attendees about the escape room and their thoughts on the overall experience.

Customers can sign up for Codebreakers on the Park District website at

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Twitter: @DanielCarson7