Tips for a 2-hour outdoor scavenger hunt in Philadelphia
May 17, 2016 5:02 PM   Subscribe

A scavenger hunt newbie finds herself captain of a team in an office scavenger hunt. I'm looking for tips and strategy.

My workplace (in Philadelphia) is having a scavenger hunt on Friday. Participants volunteered to participate and are enthusiastic - this is not an HR-mandated event. I am a team captain, and I hate losing. Unfortunately for my team 1) I've never done a scavenger hunt before and 2) I don't live in Philadelphia, so I'm not as familiar with places around the office as others. I'll have about 6 people on my team.

What I know:
> It's not a 'find the next clue' type of hunt, just a sheet of objectives.
> As team captain, I will have to text/email photos/videos back to the organizer.
> Some objectives will require the entire group to be in the photo, others won't.
> Point value for each objective will vary. The harder the task, the higher the point value.
> City Hall has been established as the furthest we'll have to go. It's 2 subway stops away or about a 15 minute walk away from the office.
> We will have 20 minutes to get our teams together (they were randomly chosen) and strategize before heading out.
> We will have to all be back in the office in 2 hours. (10am-noon)

The first place team (out of 5 teams) will get a day off. I like days off. I hate losing but I really don't want to come in last.

I've read past scavenger hunt questions from organizers, but I'm looking more for strategy and tips.

Thank you!
posted by kimberussell to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Make sure your phone is fully charged!
posted by hydra77 at 5:12 PM on May 17, 2016

Best answer: If there are things you can easily identify like (this objective is at McDonald's which is here, this objective is at a fountain which is here) try to come up with a route you'll take. Start at one end, work your way to the farthest and then back to the start point, picking up objectives as you see them. You may want to plan around your highest point values.
posted by rubster at 5:19 PM on May 17, 2016

Best answer: Start brushing up on landmarks in the city ( mostly location) assuming you'll be mostly in center city

So city hall, love park, bronze eagle, crystal team room, reading terminal (off the top of my head) - it will make navigating and planning routes easier.

Pack some odd bits in your purse - rubber bands, pens, paper clips, tape, etc - sometimes scavenger hunts include tasks like "make a bouquet out of items on your person" - having these odds and ends can put you at an advantage.

Obviously wear comfortable shoes to maximize running time.

Good luck!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 5:31 PM on May 17, 2016

Best answer: Might be helpful to know where and what the public art is in Center City. Stuff like William Penn on top of City Hall, Love Park's LOVE sculpture recently relocated to the NW corner of City Hall and the Clothespin at 1500 Market. There's a map and pics here.
posted by GamblingBlues at 5:47 PM on May 17, 2016

Best answer: In similar types of team games, assigning roles is a good strategy. Trust in each team member to do their part. I'd suggest these for a scavenger hunt:

Timekeeper - keeps track of the time, you'd be surprised how quickly times gets away from you, a timekeeper can use their phone as a timer to keep track and nudge things along.
Navigator - a person who is good at maps and directions, they have the final say on which way to go, saves time arguing opinions and making decisions
Record keeper - I guess that will be you having to document each thing with photographs - make sure there is room on your memory card, you are familiar with how to take pictures/videos on your phone, and that it is charged
Collector - a person who holds on to anything you need to collect along the way. A fold-able tote bag, like the kind many grocery stores offer, would be good to bring along for this purpose.

- Been a while since I've used the subway in Philly, but if they still use tokens, I'd make sure you and your team have enough for a ride or two.
- Taking a little more time to plan goes a long way.
- Read your clues slowly and carefully - TWICE (I've seen too much Amazing Race to not offer you this suggestion).

Good luck!
posted by NoraCharles at 5:53 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Not just "make sure your phone is charged", but also get a portable charger and cable to keep in your bag if it needs to be recharged.

Get a paper map of the area - maybe one of the maps geared towards tourists that you can pick up for free at a visitor's bureau. It will be easier to read, will have all those landmarks mapped. You don't want to rely on digital maps when the signal dies (mine always dies just when i really need it). You can also lay it out at the beginning of the challenge and have your Team Navigator mark the things you guys know, so s/he can make an overall plan for getting to the most sites easily. Then use phone maps for directions or specific details.

Have some Sharpie markers for marking the map.

Another Team Job: the Googler. Your team may need to look things up if the clues have riddles built in, or you may need to search for things on a digital map.
posted by CathyG at 8:49 AM on May 18, 2016

Response by poster: We came in second place (out of five teams) and scored a 1/2 day PTO! Wooooo! I'd share it with all of you if I could.

Yesterday I printed off 2 google maps - one of the path from our office to the city and the other a detail of the city hall area. I highlighted important buildings and wrote in landmarks. The Clothespin was on the list, as was the Macy's eagle, and the Love statue. I brought a backpack because we did need to collect things (a takeout menu, a post office change of address card, a fortune cookie, etc) and a selfie stick, which we didn't end up using because it was too complicated.

Yes, reading the objectives was key, because people lost points for having a pic of one person at a place instead of the entire team. We were supposed to have a 30 second video of the Macarena at a public place (my finest hour) but misread and only did it for a verse.

Philly gets a bad rap, but the kindness of Philadelphians today was amazing. We took pictures with SEPTA employees, hugged police officers, and had random folks offer to take our picture.

I wish I could mark you all as best answer. Heck... I can so I did. Thank you! :)
posted by kimberussell at 5:03 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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