We booked an hour and a half session at Prison Island in Belfast to find out what it was all about.
On arrival we checked in at reception. We were given a lanyard between us with a tag to use to enter rooms and a key to a locker so we could leave our things.
There were toilets and a small cafe in the waiting area. We weren’t waiting for long before we were taken into a seperate room for a short brief and video about what we had to do. After that, we were let into the prison to play.
Prison Island is a square of 4 corridors with doors on either side all the way around. If a door has a green light you can enter and if it has a red light then there is already someone inside. You can go in as many rooms as you like as many times as you like within your time limit. You enter rooms using your tag and this also starts the timer. If you want another go at a room without leaving then you can reset the room by re-scanning the tag.
Each room contains a challenge and the idea is to gain as many points as you can doing different challenges. Other teams play at the same time as you and you can see all the team scores on screens in the corridors.
Challenges vary, there are physical challenges such as climbing across a room and pressing buttons without touching the floor or throwing as many balls as you can into hoops.
There are other challenges that involve a lot of skill and team work such as using levers to pass a ball to each other and deposit it into a hole or working together to manipulate a ball through lit up tunnels.
There are also rooms with maths questions, geography challenges and cryptic challenges where you have to work out how to gain points.
Challenges are a lot harder than we had thought but, even if we didn’t get top scores in a room, we still managed to gain some points and overall we did pretty well compared to other teams.
Our favourite room was the tilt – a room that made me feel very sick but the kids loved. It was a weirdly tilted room that made me feel like I was moving and I kept falling into the wall. The good thing was that I could move out of the tilted bit while the kids played the challenge and still be within the room.
Overall we had a lot of fun doing the different challenges and we enjoyed our visit. The great thing about Prison Island Belfast is that, due to the nature of the challenges, you can return and play again to try to improve your score without already knowing the answers. We didn’t manage to do every room either as there were so many so we would have new rooms to play next time too.
Taking an autistic child to Prison Island, Belfast?
The lights are lowered inside. The rooms are quite dark.
There is a sign on the door but you don’t really know what will be in each room until you get in there and every room is different.
You can play the same room again and again if you like.
There are sounds and buzzers.
There are other people there at the same time as you so you will see them in the corridors outside the rooms.
There are toilets and a cafe in the waiting area.
The door from the waiting area opens onto the car park.
The place is large and requires following directions so close supervision would be necessary.
You work in teams so you can stay with your child.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you would like to read more then feel free to follow my blog or like my Facebook page which I keep up to date with new posts as they are written. You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter @KidsOnTour1 and now on Youtube – subscribe to my channel for upcoming videos!