Madame Tussauds Is Opening Its First Escape Room, and It’s Alcatraz Themed

Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds

In 1962, prisoners Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris escaped from their cells at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, never to be seen again. To this day, it remains one of the most famous prison breaks in the world, and no one knows whether or not they survived their swim across the cold, choppy waters of the San Francisco Bay.

Now, you can try their daring escape for yourself. Madame Tussauds, famous for its wax museums around the world, will soon debut its first escape room, called “Alcatraz—The Breakout.” Fittingly, it’s opening at the company’s San Francisco outpost on Fisherman's Wharf, located just across the water from Alcatraz. (Luckily, once you break out, you can go get some sourdough instead of swimming across the frigid bay.)

Four friends attempt to solve puzzles and find clues in an escape room that looks like a prison cell.
Madame Tussauds

Groups of four to eight people will have 60 minutes to break out of their faux jail cell by collecting clues, cracking codes, and solving puzzles. You and your friends play inmates who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned at Alcatraz. A sympathetic guard tells you of the escape plan hatched by the Anglin brothers and Morris, and suggests you get out while you can. But there's a time limit. After an hour, the guard shifts change, and the officer helping you will go off duty.

Being Madame Tussauds, there will also be a wax figure involved: Clint Eastwood, who played Frank Morris in Escape from Alcatraz, the 1979 film based on the jailbreak.

The experience will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Memorial Day weekend, with prices starting at $125 for four people.

The Hallmark Channel’s First-Ever ‘Christmas Con’ Is Comin’ to Town

macniak/iStock via Getty Images
macniak/iStock via Getty Images

Bookworms have Book Con, comic lovers have Comic Con, and now, courtesy of the Hallmark Channel, Christmas fanatics will finally get the gift they’ve surely written to Santa about more than a few times: Christmas Con.

News 12 New Jersey reports that the festive convention will take place at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison from November 8 through November 10.

If you binge-watch Hallmark Channel’s schmaltzy feel-good flicks faster than St. Nick scarfs down a giant gingerbread cookie, this is your chance to catch its biggest stars in one decked-out hall. Mean Girls (2004) alum Jonathan Bennett will emcee the convention, The Walking Dead’s Alicia Witt will perform a concert, and panels will include guests like Chad Michael Murray, Melissa Joan Hart, and Bennett’s former Mean Girls co-star Lacey Chabert (who will hopefully be showered with enough candy canes to make up for the time that her character, Gretchen Weiners, got none).

In addition to its celebrity events, Christmas Con will also include a Christmas market with gifts, handmade decorations, and holiday treats. You can also don your most lurid holiday sweater for a chance to win a $500 grand prize in the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, or bake a gingerbread house fit for a prince in the Gingerbread Wars, which could win you $1000.

If you're hoping to attend, you might have to hunt for resale tickets on social media or third-party sites—the passes are already almost sold out on the official website. If you’re willing to shell out a little extra for a snapshot with romance royalty, most of the stars are offering photo opportunities for around $50.

Looking for a less intense way to welcome the holly, jolly holiday season? Watch the 20 best Christmas movies, Die Hard (1988) and all.

[h/t News 12 New Jersey]

Meet Holly: The Winner of Alaska's ‘Fat Bear Week’ Competition at Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park and Preserve via Flickr, Public Domain
Katmai National Park and Preserve via Flickr, Public Domain

It's that time of year when the air gets a little colder, the days get a little shorter, and the bears get much, much fatter. Every year, in celebration of the impressive, pre-hibernation transformations of its brown bears, Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve hosts a competition to determine which fat bear reigns supreme. As NPR reports, Holly (a.k.a. Bear 435) is the official winner of 2019's Fat Bear Week.

In order to build enough bulk to survive the winter, brown bears must eat a year's worth of food in six months. After gobbling as much salmon as they can find, their mass typically peaks in October, which is also when Katmai holds its annual competition.

This year, the park pitted 12 coastal brown bears against each other in a March Madness-style bracket. Images of the chunky contestants were shared on Facebook, and followers cast votes for their favorite fat bears by "liking" them.

A before and after shot of Holly, winner of Katmai National Park and Preserve's Fat Bear Week competition
Katmai National Park and Preserve via Flickr, Public Domain

Holly beat runner-up Lefty by nearly 14,000 votes. The before-and-after shot above makes it easy to see why: Between July 12 and September 22, 2019, she grew from a scrawny bear into a hulking beast. The preserve announced her win on Facebook, writing: "She is fat. She is fabulous. She is 435 Holly. And you voted her the 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion. All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence!"

Holly's new body is good for more than making her an internet sensation. The fatter a bear is, the more likely it is to survive the winter. But other factors, like climate change waking hibernating bears earlier than usual, still pose a threat.

[h/t NPR]

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