It's a scavenger hunt...for scavenger hunt ideas!
October 16, 2010 11:33 AM   Subscribe

[Scavenger Hunt Filter] Help me help my boyfriend scavenge and hunt. My SO is a web developer, and next week he will be out of town for a week-long Java training session. I need help thinking of scavenger hunt missions to send him on. Also, the scavenger hunt is a special snowflake.

We play this game once in a while and both get a kick out of it, but it usually involves a fairly short list of things to kill a few hours of boredom. For example, when his servers at work went down for half a day he was tasked with sending me photos of items around the office representing the numbers 0-9 (ie, a photo of a pair of shoes could represent the number two.) Now that he’ll have a lot of time on his hands I’d like to come up with something more elaborate and creative, but I’m drawing a complete blank.

Google and AskMe are chock-full of scavenger hunt ideas, but they’re too ambitious for my needs. This previous question is similar, but Philly-centric; this one just made me jealous. I’d love to have a stockpile of ideas for future reference, too, so ideas of all sizes and complexity are welcome!

Out of town details/restrictions:
1) He will be in or around Raleigh, NC, but probably in a nondescript office park area with little else around. I’m not sure how much sightseeing he’ll be able (or want) to do, so nothing too Raleigh-specific. However….

2) Things like a landmark that is hard to miss (e.g., the Gateway Arch in St. Louis) or something that’s an ubiquitous part of Raleigh (e.g., Amish buggies in Pennsylvania) could definitely work.

3) Since most of his week will be spent in a classroom, hotel room, or airport, the items can’t be too exotic, but he’ll have time to root around. (I’ve been wanting to send him out to find items beginning with the letters A-Z and he’ll finally have the time to do it.)

4) I’m open to sending him on a number of self-contained mini missions, one major mission with smaller goals or checkpoints, and anything in between. I just want to avoid a scenario where he spends all week taking pictures and it ends with a massive photo dump when he gets home.

5) Bonus points for Java-related clues!
General details/restrictions:
1) Items need to be captured electronically, not physically collected. This could include screen caps or even a URL; he just needs to be able to send it to me via text or email. We’re in a LDR so it’s easier than schlepping something home just to show it to me on Skype.

2) In addition to the usual themed lists, sets/groups of things, and/or individual items I can send him looking for, I'd love to challenge his big, sexy brain by using word-y and math-y puzzles as clues to the actual items he needs to find. He raised the bar by sending me out to find a ghost, a pizza with one slice missing, a cherry, etc. and then find the thing they had in common (Pac-Man!)

3) He works at a large company and goes to an occasional conference or work-related event, so that's generally the kind of environment he'll be hunting in.

4) Holy Grail item bonus: He loves crunching numbers and playing with spreadsheets, so it would be awesome if anyone can think of a way to incorporate that into a clue or item.
Thank you, hive!
posted by Room 641-A to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you could send him to some GPS coordinates. You can find a place on Google Maps and it will tell latitude and longitude. You could make him solve a puzzle that reveals the coordinates to add some difficulty.
posted by PSB at 11:56 AM on October 16, 2010

There is (or was) a Foursquare Church of the Triangle in Durham. You should include it because I pretty much thought that was the funniest name for a church EVER.

You could probably dig up a set of amusing "Triangle" posts ... I'm sure there's some Triangle Circle Something somewhere, Somewhere Square of the Triangle, Triangle Loop, etc. I used to find them fairly endlessly amusing when I lived there.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:14 PM on October 16, 2010

posts = places. Apparently I cannot think and type at the same time.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:15 PM on October 16, 2010

I'm in the Raleigh area, and love scavenger hunts, so a few ideas from my wife and I:

1) sort of java related... the Red Hat headquarters are on NCSU Centennial campus and have a big logo and flag on the outside of the building, so easy photo ops (Red Hat owns Jboss, so vaguely java related).

2) There is a giant bronze acorn sculpture downtown in Moore Square (Raleigh is the "City of Oaks"). So maybe a hint of "more giant squirrel food"

3) There are a lot of barbeque places around, and they seem to be common lunch spots for visiting groups (a bit of local culture...). Maybe send him looking for pics of cooking pigs (common on signage). See for more info.

4) Pic of the "Hot Donuts Now" Krispy Kreme sign.

All of those may be too Raleigh specific if he's not near downtown, or doesn't have time/transport to travel around.

I don't have any specific ideas for number crunching clues, but some vague notions
for things that might be fodder for clues

1. local tv/radio stations numbers and call signs
2. several local universities, so maybe something about their student population, or perhaps their current football rankings (really more of a college basketball town, but thats just barely started up).
3. Lots of tech companys in RTP, so maybe something about their stock symbols and stock prices.
posted by alikins at 12:18 PM on October 16, 2010

The most ubiquitous thing now in Raleigh is that the leaves have started changing and falling, and it can be rather impressive.

I like the idea of GPS coordinates and it doesn't sound like you've used them yet. Could you work each number of a coordinate (presumably for something near him, since you said he may not be able to get away) into a code, perhaps something even as simple as A=1, B=2, etc. The list of items to look for could be a ruse, though could still have a theme, then when he presents you his group of photos, you could then inform him of the code to figure out the coordinates, based on the first letter of each object. The coordinates could be to a yummy bbq shack (another ubiquitous thing), a park near his hotel, or maybe even a public webcam so you can "personally" confirm his progress.

If you wanted help planting an object or message, or specific info about addresses or places, I'd be willing to help more.
posted by artifarce at 12:29 PM on October 16, 2010

The reference to sports is a good one. People here are insane about their college rivalries, so even looking for a bumper sticker or flag might do it.
posted by artifarce at 12:31 PM on October 16, 2010

Other ideas:

There is a Tenten rd in Raeigh/Cary (as well as a couple of "tenten" business). This month is 10/10. Perhaps a clue sent at 10:10

Some java related things that might be easy to find pics of: Ant, Couch, Harmony, hibernate, struts, coffee of any sort, icedtea, oak (ties in Raleigh, "city of oaks"), spring, etc
posted by alikins at 12:35 PM on October 16, 2010

Making him find something that represents every color in the rainbow could be a short mission.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:38 PM on October 16, 2010

Maybe because conferences often slightly annoy me, I'd be tempted to come up with a snarky theme, perhaps "obnoxious things [or people] one finds at conferences"
- at least five people staring longingly at an empty coffee carafe or food plate
- someone asleep during the lecture
- a mandatory sitting-in-a-circle bonding session [may not apply]
- chocolate candy bowl at the vendor (or ten unique vendor booth give-aways)
- X people on cell phones not talking to one another
- someone on a cell phone and laptop simultaneously
- a power suit
- the staff on a smoke break
- where the conference food comes from

Then there's "business jargon: what does it really mean?" I'm a bit out of date on my jargon, so maybe someone can help me out here, but could he snap pictures with concrete representations of...?
- someone taking an "action step"
- "add(ed) value"
- a "red flag"
- "silos (as in "we need to break down the silos")
- "outside the box"
- "pulling in harness" or "singing from the same playbook / choir-sheet"

You could also use the office park situation:
- parking lot with at least 100 empty spaces
- shaded glass with a white logo sprayed on
- a "for lease" sign
- an intersection with at least 5 lanes in every direction
- what the land used to be (farmland?)
posted by salvia at 1:15 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Holy cow, all these ideas are fantastic. They even include many things I edited out from my original tl;dr version, like maps, donuts, and bbq! I'm really kicking myself for waiting until the last minute. I've got to start right now if I'm going to finish this before he leaves. I'll post more later.

Thank you all so much!!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:30 PM on October 16, 2010

Response by poster: I realized it was better to roll this out over the course of the week instead of hitting him all at once with a huge list, so I've bought myself some time. This way I can also tweak things based on his actual schedule and plans; since tomorrow is a travel day I figure I'll do something airport-related.

PSB and artifice, the GPS idea is really funny because I have the worst sense of direction. Once I know exactly where he'll be I'll try to figure something out in a code.

Eyebrows McGee, I know if he saw came across the Foursquare Church of the Triangle on his own he'd send me a picture immediately! Tomorrow I'll start looking for this type of thing in his vicinity.

Salvia, I think your office ideas are the perfect way to start him off on his first day. He has little patience for all that so I'm sure snark will be involved. I'm also going to make him find the real life versions of characters from The Office!

That should keep me busy for the next day or so, but there are so many great ideas I may need him to stay an extra week. Hell, I should just send him a link to this thread!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:05 PM on October 16, 2010

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