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Adventure Treasure Hunts

So, you're looking to go beyond the Basic Treasure Hunt? Even so, if you haven't already done so, it would be a good idea to first peruse the information as it won't be repeated here. (Click HERE to review our Basic Treasure Hunts article.)

How is an Adventure Treasure Hunt different from the Basic Treasure Hunt? There are two key aspects that we'll address here as well as some more fun ideas! The first is the potential for multiple participants or larger groups and the second is the incorporation of themes and storylines.

Multiple Participants

Organizing a large scale treasure hunt for groups into the hundreds is a pretty hefty task and those professionals that can facilitate them successfully definitely earn their money. The types of issues that arrive with numbers in the hundreds are more numerous than we will be covering here, though we do address some of these issues in our Traffic Control articles HERE.

When you're dealing with multiple participants, you'll want to think about the following potential problems or concerns:

* Will there be any place along the route where congestion will arise. Perhaps it's a longer puzzle to solve, a smaller space to be in or a difficult clue to find. With multiple participants you should make it a goal to avoid congestive elements of any kind. If not, then you could run into safety issues, frustration on behalf of the participants, and a real 'fun killer.'

* Make sure that you have extra materials on hand to pass out to your participants. You never know when you'll need them…and you usually do.

* The more participants you have going through your treasure hunt, the more you'll want to make sure that you've tested all of your clues.


* For those treasure hunts with larger playing areas due to a larger number of participants (i.e. at a park, college, etc.) you might consider providing every team with a sealed envelope containing directions to the final location of the treasure hunt. If, for any reason, the team(s) don't finish, they can tear open their envelopes and go to the final destination to join the fun with everyone else. If the treasure hunt was part of a competition, collect the envelopes and select a winner from a team who has a SEALED envelope.

Themes and Storylines

Are themes and/or storylines essential for a good treasure hunt? Absolutely not…but including them is an easy way to make the treasure hunt more interesting. Having a compelling storyline will also add motivation and inspiration for the treasure hunters to actually COMPLETE your hunt. What do we mean by themes and storylines? Here are two examples from the movies:

Raiders of the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones) - If you were to give that particular 'treasure hunt' a theme, it would probably be something like "Egyptian Archeology." The storyline would be something like "Finding the lost ark before the Nazis do."

National Treasure - The theme for this treasure hunt would be US history, particularly during the Revolutionary War. The storyline would be "Finding a secret treasure horde from the Revolutionary War."

Get the idea? The storyline basically details the mission for the treasure hunters. It mentions what they will be looking for and often within what context. The theme is the basic subject matter of the context so that the treasure hunters can get in a certain frame of mind to handle the problem solving needed to complete the hunt.

Something else to seriously consider, even if you don't include a theme or basic storyline, is to include some kind of back story to your actual treasure. What treasure is it? Where did it come from? Who created it? How long has it been 'lost?' The more that your treasure hunters know about whatever it is that they are looking for will inspire them to overcome the challenges that will get in between them and finding that object. Compel them to find it! This is not just for adults, either. Every video game on the market now includes tons of back stories for all of the characters within the game. Kids nowadays fully understand what a back story is and will appreciate the inclusion of one in your treasure hunt.

Finally, here are some extra fun ideas to help make your treasure hunt more interesting.

* Vary the puzzles and tasks so that your treasure hunters will have no idea what will be waiting for them around the corner. Perhaps for one stop they have to read a personal ad from the newspaper while the next stop they'll need to climb a tree. Variety makes for engaging interest.

* Utilize texting (making sure that each team has a working cell phone with texting available.) Leave a clue at a location for the teams to text a certain number with a message - when they do, they'll get a response back with the location for the next stop on the hunt.

* Consider adding a single live character somewhere. For example, station a volunteer to sit at a park bench reading a book, waiting for teams to approach them with a pass phrase to receive a clue as to where the next location is. Get creative with this one!
Remember, make it interesting and your treasure hunters will be engaged and will consequently have a great time!

Ready to move on to Questing? Click HERE.