Almost within sight of Stumpy’s Hatchet House, Camp Adventureland offers an immersive experience that has hatchet throwing and elaborate escape rooms under the same roof.
The franchise has brand new locations in Horsham, Pa., and Boothwyn, Pa., and the Middletown location had a kickoff party for invited guests in late February. The warehouse space has been transformed into a summer camp, with a log sign welcoming guests, and rows of hatchet throwing pits along two walls. Picnic tables are set up in the middle of the room.
Dennis Shea, the vice-president of business development for Camp Adventureland, said the new business has a more family-oriented slant than the nearby Stumpy’s, which is for adults over 21 only. There’s no alcohol at Camp Adventureland. About 30 part-time and full-time employees are part of the experience.
“We wanted to be here in Middletown,” Shea said. “It’s a family-oriented area. We want to attract families, while we still have the corporate teambuilding side during the week. We’re the only place in the country that has escape rooms and hatchet throwing under one roof.
“The ownership group has a Disney background, so they’re very creative,” Shea said “They were nationally known for building escape rooms. So they built them all over North America. Then they decided, ‘Why are we building these for other people when we could build them and own them ourselves?’ So we looked at that and added hatchet throwing, which is the buzz right now.”
There will be competitions set up with local police, fire and EMT teams, and possibly with high schools or clubs, Shea said. “We’re going to be part of the World Ax Throwing League as well, so the best of the best here will be sent over to Canada to participate.”
All throwing is monitored for safety by a “Camp Counselor.” There’s training and a waiver before anyone throws. “It’s not about strength, it’s about coordination,” Shea said. “Only one thrower is allowed at a time.”
Two escape rooms are open now, and a total of five are planned. They look like Disney theme park rooms, with elaborate sets and props that immerse participants in a fantasy world. “Right now we have Curse of The Jade Skull, which is our Aztec room, and a 1920s speakeasy called the Blind Tiger,” said Joe DiDomenico, the vice president of design and creative director. “It’s about trying to stop the mobster Mugsy Malone. Each room will have a game master who’s part of the game. They play along with you, and help you by giving clues from a control center. They talk to you via microphone. The game masters work with the teams so everyone has fun.”