I first discovered scavengerhunt.com in one of those heading-down-the-rabbit-hole research moments of travel planning. A modern take on the traditional scavenger hunt game – minus the knocking on doors and asking for random items – it intrigued me as an interesting idea for travelers visiting unfamiliar places as well as a fun activity close to home.
The interactive app takes players on a specific route around a neighborhood, asking multiple-choice questions about various stops along the way. There are more than 200 scavenger hunt locations in six countries throughout the world, with several different neighborhood hunts offered in many large cities.
I booked a hunt in advance as a gift for our family, but the app also can be purchased the same day. We chose from three neighborhoods in San Diego, opting for “Downtown Splendors,” which began at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Once we arrived at the starting point, we installed the app, picked roles for our team members and pressed “Start Hunt.”
The San Diego hunt took about two hours to complete. We easily could have turned it into a half-day event by pausing the app to stop for food, shopping or sightseeing. Our tour wound its way about two miles through familiar streets and through areas we had never explored. The questions were fun and relatively easy, punctuated with wonderfully detailed facts and history about the area. We were surprised by what we didn’t know and by how much research had gone into putting the hunt together.
Just as the game was ending, we were given our final score. Points were tallied for correctly answering questions and completing photo challenges. The results really didn’t matter, of course, because we weren’t playing against another team or a time clock or even against each other.
We were there simply to enjoy the day and be tourists in our own backyard.