By Lorna Oppedisano
When Museum of Intrigue was founded in 2017, the team knew they wanted to have a family-oriented feel to the establishment, but had no idea it would become such a destination spot for families in the Central New York area.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve discovered that our main audience is young families,” said Leila Quinn, the Museum’s National Director.
Leila has been with the company since the team — the minds behind Escape the Estate, an escape room destination formerly located in the now closed ShoppingTown Mall — opened Museum of Intrigue on the third floor of Destiny USA next to the IMAX theater. When they opened in November 2017, it was a small crew of people; the team has grown into 15 part-time employees, including floor actors, a marketing team, managers and a game design team.
Their website provides an explanation of the space and gameplay: “Each Story is unique, and exclusive to your group. You will not be sharing a story with any other players, you will not be timed, and you will be exploring our entire 9000 sq. ft. space in order to complete your adventure.” Museum of Intrigue offers guests, or players, 15 individual games, or stories. Five are Prologues, games designed to last about 30 minutes, ideal as an introduction to the Museum or for a group with a limited amount of time. Ten are Standard games, taking an average of an hour to complete.
Discounts are available, as well. A half-day pass gets your group four hours of gameplay. A full-day pass is eight hours, plus snacks and water. With Museum of Intrigue’s growing popularity, Leila suggested groups make reservations, available online at intrigueandco.com.
Now that they’ve been open for several years, the team has come to know many regular players.
“We’ve been here for five years, so we’ve seen some of these kids grow up,” Leila said.
She also notes the uniquely age-inclusive nature of the gameplay, bridging the gap between younger and older siblings. She’s often seen multiple generations playing together.
“There’s magic here,” she said.
What’s more is Museum of Intrigue is a great place for parents to have their children put their phones away and connect together to solve puzzles, Leila said.
“The Museum is friendly not only to families but also students and adults who have sensory sensitivities and learning disabilities,” she said.
Museum of Intrigue is the first facility in the state to be part of Kulture City, an organization that provides training and resources to help employees better entertain guests with sensory needs. The Museum’s employees are all sensory trained. They offer special backpacks that include noise-canceling headphones and have a quiet room and weighted blankets available.
Once a family arrives at the mall, finding the way to Museum of Intrigue and avoiding the crowds is simple — just enter by The Cheesecake Factory, take the elevator up to the third floor and turn right toward the IMAX theater.
When asked about any negative reputation associated with the mall, Leila explained, “You hear more about the bad stuff than the good stuff,” adding that everyone on staff is trained to address any issues that might arise.
Looking to the future of Museum of Intrigue, Leila shared that the team has already sold pieces of what they do into locations in 13 different states. As National Director, she helps to organize contacts with those locations, along with taking care of the day-to-day business at Museum of Intrigue. “We thought this would be something that just Syracuse had,” she said. But then they realized the demand elsewhere for this sort of immersive gameplay. “As soon as the inkling happened, we realized we can be everywhere.”
While Leila couldn’t speak to the notion of any additional locations in the Central New York area, she did share that they are hoping to expand further across the country in the future. “We’re striving to make ‘Intrigue’ a household name,” she said.