Running for Dad of the Year after getting my kids to combine exercise, learning, and smiles
Several companies offer iPhone-based scavenger hunts now. We’ve tried a few hunts and found two companies that do a good job, both with similar approaches. These hunts last for an hour or two, cover a mile or two, and have roughly twenty clues. Each clue involves a question and you have three shots at a correct answer. Then you get directions to your next clue.
The scoring is based on a combination of correct answers and travel time between clues. They rank you against others who recently took the challenge, allowing you to compete virtually. However, you could also break into teams if there were enough of you and you wanted personal as well as virtual competition.
Portsmouth was an old haunt for some of us, but less so for me, and I learned about more than just the bustling waterfront.
An additional benefit is that you can pause the game after each challenge. When our hunger was getting the best of us in Salem, we paused the game, had a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant, then resumed playing. The same was true to check out a wonderful little store on Portsmouth’s main strip. This avoids the game from becoming a chore, letting you play at your own pace.
Not all cities have these scavenger hunts; these companies have found cities with history, variety, and a fairly self-contained route. However, all of the New England states have at least one place to offer. Some have mini-hunts as well, if you’re looking for a place or hunt that’s more abridged. Since these are national companies, it can be fun for vacations further afield, too: we played during a vacation in Nashville, which really allowed us to learn about an unfamiliar place.
These have also helped engage our whole family. With two teen-aged girls, “family friendly” is sometimes too young of a focus for them. They also have a high bar for entertainment. This lets them take a tour without being bored by the tour guide, creates a game-like approach, and they can lead the charge, with their iPhones being assets, since some clues are best googled. It's also an easy activity for a friend to join.
So, the next time you’re thinking about visiting a new city or an old haunt, or looking for something fun to do with friends or family, consider a scavenger hunt. It could just be the highlight of your trip!
Good adventures start as dreams. Enthusiasm turns them into great memories.
New England adventures can accommodate any season, any timeframe, any type of group, and any budget.