Having exploded in popularity over in Europe, the escape room is a relative newcomer in our domestic world of entertainment, but a hot trend nonetheless. Such rooms are basically live-action games and puzzles, immersive and challenging experiences wherein the goal is to find and decipher a series of interactive clues in an attempt to get out of a locked room.  And, as of Feb. 1, Santa Fe can add itself to the list of towns across the globe that has one with Escape Santa Fe, the newest business at Luna (505 Cerrillos Road, 303-3876).

The project of former Los Angeles residents Mary J Nungary (also the president of the company) and her husband Bill Hernandez, Escape Santa Fe provides three distinct experiences: an Egyptian tomb, a mobbed-up Italian restaurant and a clandestine government facility. Each presents its own unique challenges (no spoilers) and may be more complex than one might assume; there are those who won't solve the room within the allotted hour. They are, however, fun and great for small or large groups, even for businesses looking to build bonds and teamwork among employees. Really, anyone with an inquisitive mind, knack for puzzles or mysteries ought to find something to like.

For Nungary and Hernandez, tackling the business was not only a way to preside over something different and entertaining—it was about bringing something new to Santa Fe while finding a niche within the community.

"When you come to a new town, you want to immerse yourself; you want to be a part of it," Nungary says. "I did this … to be part of something fun and to contribute to Santa Feans and our economy." Escape Santa Fe employs two game masters and, according to Nungary, they're looking to hire more to allow for concurrent rooms running at once. As it stands, reservations, which run $30 per person, are highly recommended, though Nungary does say walk-ins can usually be accommodated. Further, active duty military, first responders and 911 dispatchers are eligible for a discounted entry fee.

We love that this exists now, especially in our sleepy little town. "Santa Fe is like a subtle, beautiful woman," Nungary says. "She has a lot to offer, but that doesn't mean she's gonna put it all out there—you have to look."