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State Tourism Officials “Escape” to Cook Forest for a Day
(Pictured, left to right: Carrie Fischer Lepore, John Straitiff, Mark Wineman, and Michael Chapaloney)
Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary for Marketing, Tourism, and Film, and Michael Chapaloney, Executive Director of Tourism, came all the way from Harrisburg to join John Straitiff, of the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau, for a peek at Kalyumet Fore Fun’s newest attraction: the “Escape in Cook Forest” Virtual Reality Escape Room.
Lepore and Chapaloney were both interested in the program and spent some time talking it over with owner Mark Wineman, who described how he and his wife, Becky, discovered the program the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Exhibition and Conference in Florida.
After the introduction to the program and equipment, it was time for them to experience the VR Escape Room for themselves.
Wineman explained the controls and helped each of the visitors into their VR gear.
As the game began, Lepore and Chapaloney each expressed their amazement with the visuals and motion in the VR environment. They also noted the complete emersion as the game continued, wondering aloud which side of the room they were actually facing after so much swiveling around, only aware of the VR environment.
They spent a full hour trying out both half-hour segments of the escape room.
“That was definitely fun,” Chapaloney said.
“It was a lot of fun, and I really love the way it is personalized, ‘Escape in Cook Forest’,” Lepore added.
After trying out Kalyumet’s unique VR Escape Room, Lepore and Chapaloney took a few minutes to talk to Wineman about how the new attraction is faring and any concerns he has.
Wineman said the VR Escape Room has been doing well, and visitors are enjoying it, along with Kalyumet Fore Fun’s many other attractions, but his one concern for the future growth of the business – and other local businesses – is the lack of broadband internet and cellular coverage in the area.
Lepore expressed her understanding of the issue and said those concerns would definitely be taken back to Harrisburg, where Governor Wolf’s Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program is already working toward expanding service to underserved and unserved areas throughout Pennsylvania.
Following their visit to Kalyumet Fore Fun, Lepore and Chapaloney were also planning to visit the site of the new Cook Forest State Park Office, make a short stop at Gateway Lodge, and finally, spend some time touring the Farmer’s Inn in Sigel before heading back to Harrisburg.
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