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Get Silly Inside the Eureka Room

The less you know, the more fun you have in this unique & playful experience

Mike Stefanik, founder of the Eureka Room, doesn’t really want to describe the Eureka Room.

“Well, it’s interesting because I don’t want people to know much about it. I do say that it’s absurd and participatory — mildly participatory and fun. And it’s supposed to be just a goofy thing for people who want a unique experience. And yeah, it’s got music. It’s got sound. It’s got lots and lots of lights, like, I don’t know, 20,000 LEDs and some other stuff. And it’s a mystery. The less you know, the better.”

Eureka Room – By Weston Carls-75 – FAVE
Eureka Room founder Mike Stefanik.

Although the Eureka Room opened as a pop-up during the East Austin Studio Tour in 2018 in Stefanik’s house, the current iteration of the immersive experience has been housed in an East Cesar Chavez bungalow since last year — but Stefanik says he’s been noodling on the idea for at least a decade.

The creator behind the longtime and wildly popular Austin Events Wall Calendar says he likes to “make fun weird sh*t that connects people.” Along with the Eureka Room, that list includes previous interactive events like the Stationary 5K, Austin Messy Homes Tour, absurdist dinner theaters, the world’s largest playable Cornhole Game, a promotional event called I Got a Bag of Wigs — Let’s Wear Them, Slackathlon, a Las Vegas adventure to fulfill a friend’s lifelong dream, an extremely complicated Seattle Puzzle Adventure and many, many more.

“I have a whole bunch of terrible ideas, and I just keep making terrible ideas until one seems like maybe they would be fun,” Stefanik laughs while trying to explain his background.

So, back to the Eureka Room.

While there is a page on the website that will spoil the experience for you, Stefanik says it’s best to go in with no preconceived notions, and the type of people who want the experience spoiled probably aren’t the type of people who might enjoy the Eureka Room.

Here’s what we can tell you: There’s an 8×10 foot room with videos, music and lights. There are props. There are games. And there’s other people, who you might have to high five. Escape room, this is not.

Eureka Room – By Weston Carls-14FAVE

As for the thought process behind the Eureka Room, Stefanik says he wanted to create something that connected people, rather than participants having paralleled experiences in the same space, like most “immersive experiences.” He also shares that he loves weird roadside attractions, which partially inspired the space as well as “Austin’s influence on .” But most of all, he wanted something fun and a lot bit silly.

“I had this idea where people could just sort of play a game but also not really have too many rules,” Stefanik says. “Most of the rules don’t matter in the Eureka Room — it’s just a platform for people to have fun and get into a state of play. The activities are meant to connect people mildly through this playful absurdity experience. Strangers aren’t always dangers!”

You just gotta experience it for yourself.

PXL_20220914_020135555 – FAVE
Photo courtesy of Eureka Room.

In addition to Stefanik’s interactive (and, yes, absurd) events — including future ones he’s too tight lipped to divulge — he’s also created the IRL Experience Design Group, whose members include the University of Texas Immersive Program director, Alamo Drafthouse programming personnel, escape room creators, artists and more. The invite-only group for immersive artists acts as a community for members to share ideas and resources or just get moral support. Like Stefanik’s previous endeavors, it’s all about connection.

“I discovered I was working in a silo, and I knew there were people who felt the same and were doing similar things,” Stefanik says. “I think there’s a greater need for connection. You see these headlines about how, like, ‘one in five people don’t have any friends at all.’ People are much more disconnected from other people. There’s definitely a lot of people out there who want to have some social connection.”

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