Dedicated to Outstanding Adventures and Superior Scavenger Hunts
Watson Adventures sprang from the mind of Bret Watson, a veteran writer and editor (and occasional stand-up comedian), who started creating scavenger hunts in the early ’90s for friends as a way to share his unique take on the lighter side of museums. As word of the unusual scavenger hunts spread, companies began to ask Bret to let them get in the game, and a business was born.
Since then, Watson Adventures has grown to span the nation, with more than 300,000 people participating in hunts, including employees of more than 2,000 prestigious corporations. All the while, Watson Adventures’ scavenger hunts have received more media raves and other acclaim than any other company of its kind. Below, you can learn more about the creative, clever crew who’ve made our success possible.
Bret found the inspiration to create his first scavenger hunt on a 1993 visit to one of his favorite haunts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon discovering humorous details in works of art—like a woman spanking her husband on a medieval brass bowl—Bret realized that scavenger hunts would be a smart, amusing way for his friends to have fun while seeing the quirkier sides of interesting places. Corporate groups soon took notice, and requests for privately staged hunts led to the birth of Watson Adventures in 1999. A Princeton graduate, Bret is a former journalist who has served as a writer and editor at Entertainment Weekly and numerous other magazines. Bret lives in New York with his wife, Nicole, and their two cats, who feel that the hunts could use more mice.
When Julie became Watson Adventures’ first employee in 2001, her friends and family weren’t surprised—she’s always been a lover of games, and she used to organize her own scavenger hunts for friends. Previously she’d spent 12 years in the advertising and publishing industries, working for such companies as Time Inc. and Ogilvy & Mather. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, A.J. Jacobs (Esquire writer and author of The Year of Living Biblically), and her sons, Zane, Lucas, and Jasper. Besides chasing after three young boys, her other hobbies include trying new restaurants and seeing movies (she’s seen every Oscar-nominated film of the last 50 years).
Her love of travel (Morocco! Greece! New Jersey!), combined with her smarts about the arts (she holds a BA in painting from the University of the Arts in Philly and a Masters in Art Education from the City University of New York), make Stacy a perfect fit for Watson Adventures. She has been keeping hunts running smoothly since 2002 and has donned just about every hat within the company. (You may have caught her as a Hunt Host, though don’t be confused—her twin sister, Shannon, also hosts hunts for WA in Boston.) Stacy lives with her husband Mark, daughter Vivian, and cat Stella in Astoria, Queens, where she enjoys toys and a good cup of coffee with a chocolate croissant.
You may not have seen Rachel Duncan’s work over the past ten years, but if you’ve been on a Watson Adventures scavenger hunt, listened to their voicemail, or engaged in video game mayhem on the streets of Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto IV, you have definitely been in the presence of her greatness. A superstar problem solver, Rachel fixes and manages all of Watson Adventures’ hunt materials, while also managing the public hunts and customer relations. A former marketing guru and current voiceover artist and mom, Rachel doesn’t have to be seen to be appreciated.
Ryan practically grew up in the American Museum of Natural History, certain he would become a world-famous paleontologist. Instead, he went to grad school for journalism and became a writer and editor, which is cool too. Nowadays, if he isn’t writing about or visiting a museum, he’s probably training for a marathon, playing a video game, or planning his next cruise.
Emily is a native New Yorker who enjoys art museums, board games and Dolly Parton. After getting her bachelors in Art History from Queens College, Emily interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and proceeded to work for the Queens Museum. Her life goal is to complete the Game of Thrones book series before the show ends.
Jeanie is an organization design wizard with a soft spot for most things cultural, historical, and sentimental. She discovered her love and strength in organization design while working as a film librarian. Jeanie loves to travel and has a deep appreciation for postcards and hand-written letters. You can depend on her if ever in need of postage stamps, whether domestic or international!
Tara Hunt Melvin
Hunt is her middle name! Tara went on her first Watson Adventure at the Met almost ten years ago and found herself instantly smitten with the game. A former sales and marketing manager for Random House and museum educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, her favorite job (besides Watson Adventures, of course!) was as a Park Ranger at the Statue of Liberty. Working as a sales representative for Watson Adventures, Tara is having a blast combining her sales background with her love of history and museums. She lives on the shoreline and loves cooking and going to the beach with her husband, Charlie, and their three young children.
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“Our folks (including me) had a great time! Those of us who have lived/worked in the city for a long time learned a few things about the history of midtown, and some of the unique architectural NYC details. It was very well done, and we are looking forward to our next hunt!” —Oracle
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“Thanks for the energy and creativity you put into our hunt at the Met—incredibly original. I loved your witty questions and racing through the museum. Everyone was thrilled. You have 50 new Watson Adventures groupies. I’ve heard about all you did to make everything go smoothly, even suggesting ways to improve on the party afterwards. Thanks for all the hard work. I can’t think of a better way to bring people together and have fun.” —Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO, Amazon.com