DC Scavhunt!
August 6, 2007 7:24 AM   Subscribe

DC Mefites! Help me plan my scavenger hunt in Washington, DC

I am running a scavenger hunt in Washington DC (for 6 groups of 10 campers). I have a list of 30 great scavenger hunt ideas, but they are location-neutral. I would like to add 10 Washington-specific challenges/things to find/do, etc.

The (15 yo) kids will be going around the mall area and beyond with digital cameras, so the objective can be to find some specific location or take a certain type of picture with a certain type of person. The more Washington-y the objective, the better. I am not familiar with Wash, DC so I couldn't come up with any questions that relate directly to the district. The rest of my questions are scavhunt style and I would be overjoyed if the washington ones were as well.

Thanks so much!
posted by milestogo to Grab Bag (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Can you give us some examples of things already on your list? Are you looking for things like soldier statues, or real-live soldiers, or, dunno, maybe one of our famous white squirrels or something?
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:29 AM on August 6, 2007

Why not do a Google search for statues in Washington, DC? Almost every traffic circle has one, as well as countless statues tucked away all over the city. You could make up clues, or even provide a picture of it and say "Find this". There is a great one of Hanneman on the edge of Scott Circle. Take a look at this site: Monuments in DC. I suggest you stick to Northwest or something very close to the mall.
posted by juggler at 7:32 AM on August 6, 2007

Make sure you don't have them take pictures in "no picture" zones, or of "national security" buildings.

Make them take pictures of: Neocons, Georgetown kids with pink polo shirts (bonus if collars are popped), somebody with a sign protesting anything, and a hippie with a clipboard berating passerby (such as Greenpeace).
posted by JeremiahBritt at 7:38 AM on August 6, 2007

Take a picture with a bronze dog (at the FDR memorial)
Find the zero milestone.
Take a picture under your state. (States are featured at the WWII memorial.)
posted by Gungho at 7:42 AM on August 6, 2007

There is a scale model of the solar system running the length of the mall. Pick a planet!
posted by grateful at 7:43 AM on August 6, 2007

not neccessarily political, or DCish, but my favorite is the Einstein statue at 23rd and Constitution. right off the mall.

have them take pictures of each other sitting in his lap.
posted by uaudio at 7:45 AM on August 6, 2007

(More info on solar system)
posted by grateful at 7:46 AM on August 6, 2007

For cool statues, be sure you send them to Albert Einstein (on preview, I see I'm not the first to suggest that), and also to the fountain in front of the Library of Congress. For a silly one, you can also send them to the Hippo statue on the GW campus.

For other "washington-y" things, might I suggest the following:

An embassy (they're not all on embassy row)
A person using a blackberry (probably a lobbyist or a Hill staffer)
A protestor (readily available in front of the White House and the Supreme Court)
the American Meridian (there's a marker for it in foggy bottom)

Bonus points:
a motorcade
a Member of Congress, if your kids would recognize them.

Last thoughts: Be sure they ask permission before taking pictures of people. And as others have said, don't have them taking pictures of government buildings (other than the museums)... they could attract some unwanted attention from Homeland Security types (seriously).
posted by somanyamys at 7:50 AM on August 6, 2007

Are they allowed to talk to people? You could give them 5 points for each person they find from a different state or country. Maybe have the person show an ID in the photo? Cap it at 5 pictures so they don't stand around and just try to find people, I guess. Or maybe license plates.

Something at the national zoo.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:00 AM on August 6, 2007

Diplomat licence plates seem exotic to those outside DC, I suppose. Or how about a series of horse pictures--one each of a horse with two, three, and four feet on the ground (and maybe of a real one, too)?
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:04 AM on August 6, 2007

How about something from the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden?
posted by rtha at 8:12 AM on August 6, 2007

These suggestions are great for a DC-wide scavenger hunt, but not so much for a group of 15-year old pedestrians on the Mall. The Mall is a huge space to cover in one day - and if it's hot, you're probably going to be limited to 1-2 hours. Before you decide on your list, try to map out the "finds" and make sure you limit the area to a couple of square miles at most.
posted by grateful at 8:19 AM on August 6, 2007

an intern! with a badge and everything!
posted by ml98tu at 8:37 AM on August 6, 2007

In the US Botanical Garden (on the east end of the National Mall going toward Capitol Hill), there are neat regional/international gardens both inside and outside. you could pick a region or reference something distinctive such as this new glass sculpture.

how about finding a food cart that sells half smokes that's dc for you

also maybe a street musician (bonus points for playing drums on a plastic bucket)
posted by citron at 8:46 AM on August 6, 2007

1. A rock from Mars (National Air and Space Museum)
2. A painting of a flag (Jasper Johns' exhibit in the east wing of the national Gallery of Art. Probably other places as well.)
3. A picture of someone eating a hotdog bought from a street vendor
4. A picture of the whole group on the metro (not too far from the mall, and they could easily ride one stop and back).
posted by god hates math at 8:48 AM on August 6, 2007

Proving that anyone can buy a monument in DC, I present the Homeopathy Monument!

Have them find increasingly rare Kubrick Tiles (a lot of those listed are paved over now, so check first). Meet the president's neighbor.
posted by phrontist at 8:51 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh snap! They've got to ride the western hemisphere's longest escalator!
posted by phrontist at 8:53 AM on August 6, 2007

The Hope Diamond!
posted by candyland at 8:53 AM on August 6, 2007

A cockroach from the Tastee Diner in Maryland.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:11 AM on August 6, 2007

More seriously, I like the idea of finding/taking pictures of obscure embassies. You'll have to do your own research, but some are in weird/hard to find places. How hard do you want this to be?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:13 AM on August 6, 2007

Find and have lunch at the Well Dressed Burrito.

If good things do in fact come to those who wait, the Well Dressed Burrito may very well be the antechamber to infinite patience. This shoe-box-sized oasis remains a well-guarded secret amongst true takeout enthusiasts—the locale is hidden in an alley between 19th and 20th Streets NW above M Street NW and is open only from 11:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., Monday through Friday—even though its gargantuan entrees have achieved near-infamy around town. The rustic interior conveys all the warmth and comfort of a prison cell, while the scattershot service makes the trading pits of the New York Stock Exchange seem downright civilized.

Direct them to 19th and M and tell them to find the source of the bright yellow bags.

Walk up to Dupont and eat in the park.
posted by probablysteve at 9:38 AM on August 6, 2007

a Member of Congress, if your kids would recognize them.

They just recessed - you'll have more luck finding a sober member of the Kennedy family than a congress critter in the district.

There's a neglected world war ONE memorial that's off to the south side of the reflecting pool. A picture of a member of their team in front of it would be fun and draw attention to a site that few tourists get to see.

I always find it interesting how many law enforcement groups/terrains we have here. Perhaps you could have an item asking them to get pictures of a member of their team with two of the five: Metropolitan Police, Secret Service Police, FBI Police, Park Police, and Capitol Police. Metro and Park will be easy to find.

Or a picture of two team members, one standing in park police territory and one in DCPD territory. You can do that on many sidewalks.
posted by phearlez at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2007

The find a Member of Congress idea won't work as they're all on August recess. One thing around the Capitol would be finding both party headquarters buildings, the Republicans are just outside the Capitol South Metro but the Democrats are on Ivy between Canal and New Jersey (not where the actual address leads you).
posted by awesomebrad at 9:53 AM on August 6, 2007

What about finding the mistake in the carving of the Gettysburg Address in the Lincoln monument...

Pose a picture so it looks like the Capitol Dome is wearing a hat, or pose a picture so that it looks like you are holding the Washington Monument between your hands.

Or find the obscure George Mason memorial, or the even more obscure DC World War One veterans memorial

Get a picture taken with a veteran at the WWII memorial
posted by chickaboo at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2007

The moon rock is in Air & Space fairly close to the Mall entrance, the Mars rock is in Natural History in the rocks and minerals exhibit (on the other side of the throngs of people that permanently surround the Hope Diamond).

That Natural History exhibit also has a seismograph that you can jump up and down in front of...maybe tell them to take a picture of an earthquake?
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:07 AM on August 6, 2007

Pose a picture so it looks like the Capitol Dome is wearing a hat, or pose a picture so that it looks like you are holding the Washington Monument between your hands.

Or so it looks like the Washington Monument is coming out of your head...
posted by Lucinda at 10:08 AM on August 6, 2007

Catch The Awakening before it's moved.

Find the 19 degree corner of the National Gallery of Art East Building.

Find the lockkepper's house of the C & O Canal.

Find the Congress Bells in the Old Post Office (great views from the tower).
posted by hoppytoad at 10:39 AM on August 6, 2007

Pose a picture so it looks like the Capitol Dome is wearing a hat, or pose a picture so that it looks like you are holding the Washington Monument between your hands.

Or so it looks like the Washington Monument is coming out of your head...

you mean like this?

yea...i just wanted to show off my daughter...
posted by ShawnString at 11:10 AM on August 6, 2007

also maybe a street musician (bonus points for playing drums on a plastic bucket)

Definitely get one of the guys playing on a drum kit made from buckets, trash cans, and parking cones - I'm told that this style is related to the Go-Go genre of music that sprang up in DC in the 80s. Good locales to find folks playing are Dupont Circle (usually at the south Metro entrance), and oftentimes around Gallery Place - in front of the MCI center, often.

The "Taxation Without Representation" license plates might be worthwhile.

If they're down by the Capitol, you could also have them take shots of street signs from each of the quadrants (the Capitol is where all the quadrants intersect).

One of the horse-mounted police officers? I overheard one of them saying that there were only six police...horses in the MPD.

I guess if you wanted to get something really "Washington-y," you could have them snap a shot of a gaggle of tourists either: a) standing shoulder to shoulder the entire breadth of the subway platform as they decide which exit to use; b) eating on one of the trains; or c) standing to the left on the escalators. Bonus points if you can catch a resident rolling their eyes with mute rage.
posted by averyoldworld at 11:59 AM on August 6, 2007

One of the horse-mounted police officers? I overheard one of them saying that there were only six police...horses in the MPD.

While the Metropolitan Police Department may only have six mounted officers, there are well over 50 different local and federal enforcement agencies in DC, and many of those have mounties. I'm thinking of the Capitol Police, the Secret Service, the Park Service, etc...
posted by grateful at 12:05 PM on August 6, 2007

Pick some of the more obscure state avenues (Texas Avenue? Hawaii Avenue? Vermont Avenue?) and have them take photos of street signs. (Make sure you're not sending them too far away, though.
posted by raf at 12:11 PM on August 6, 2007

Something I never knew: there is no Ohio Avenue in Washington. Instead, there's an Ohio Drive — and it runs right next to the Mall. If you want to give them something really hard, you could ask for "a photo of a street sign for a street named after a state, but which is not an Avenue."
posted by raf at 12:16 PM on August 6, 2007

There's also no J st. I'm not sure how you'd ask them to memorialize this in a photo. A picture of the street signs that bracket the street that isn't there, perhaps?

The Awakening is nowhere near anything, by the way. The thing it's closest to that a tourist would probably go see is the Jefferson Memorial and from there you have to go over a mile down through East Potomac park to get to it. So if you make it a prize and they don't have someone driving them around make sure you give it points accordingly.
posted by phearlez at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2007

Who can photograph the most protests.

Even when there are no big protests, there are often random little protests. The last time I went to watch a Supreme Court oral agrument (Spring 06) I passed a guy with a sign blaming Bush for the murder of Rehnquist.

On second thought, maybe a craziest protest photo contest.
posted by probablysteve at 1:20 PM on August 6, 2007

There's a spot in the entry way to the Canadian embassy that functions like an echo chamber. It's on the outside of the embassy so you can go there drunk in the middle of the night with a bunch of friends (I went there the night I met my wife). I don't know how to put this in the form of a scavenger hunt question but this thread is mutating into a discussion of weird things in DC.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:08 PM on August 6, 2007

Actually, J Street is the GWU eating hall, and there's a proclamation hanging up in the Marvin Center where Anthony Williams declared the GW eatery to be the city's J St.
posted by kdar at 4:56 PM on August 6, 2007

« Older Mixtape Filter: Songs about NYC   |   IPA in Paris Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.