How the Game Is Played
How does the scavenger hunt work? What are we looking for?
You’re not collecting objects, but searching for answers to tricky and humorous questions about the places you visit and sights you see. No previous knowledge of a hunt location is necessary, but you will discover a lot of cool places and fascinating facts along the way. On some hunts, you might also be challenged to take team photos.
Is this a race? Will a bunch of Olympic athletes outrun me?
The hunts are not races, and we do not encourage people to run. The hunts are a test of your wits and your teamwork, not a test of physical fitness. There is a deadline, but most teams get to most questions without having to rush.
Where is the meeting place? When do I find out?
After you purchase tickets, the last page of your transaction will be your e-ticket, which will include meeting place information.
What time do I have to be at the meeting place?
Be at the meeting place ready to hunt by the time listed on the hunt schedule and on your e-ticket. If you are participating in a museum hunt and you have coats or bags to check, please arrive at the museum 10 to 15 minutes early in case of lines at the coat check room—especially when the weather is bad. The Watson Adventures host usually is at the meeting spot 10 to 15 minutes before the hunt starts. If you are running late, you can still get in on the hunt, but you might not have the full amount of hunting time. The host typically remains at the meeting spot until about 20 minutes after the scheduled start time.
How long will the hunt last?
Actual hunting time is almost always two hours for adult hunts and 90 minutes for family hunts. Add another 15 minutes or so at the start for distributing materials and another 15 minutes at the end for scoring and announcing the results.
How big can my team be?
The hunt is played on teams of two to six people. You can have a team larger than six people, but you won’t be eligible to win the hunt, because your team will have an unfair advantage. If you do bring a large group to a public hunt, we ask that you have at least five to six people per team.
How small can my team be? Do we have to join other teams?
We never force anyone to join a team—except that we do not let people hunt solo. If you want to hunt as a duo or a trio, that’s fine. If you would like to join up with other people, we’ll help you meet kindred spirits at the start. We find over and over that people who are game for joining others and meeting new people end up really hitting it off.
Are the hunts wheelchair accessible?
Most museum hunts include staircases. Some hunts are more accessible than others, and sometimes we can accommodate hunters in wheelchairs. Contact us for information about specific hunts.
Is there a prize?
Yes! Each member of the winning team will receive a token prize—it’s a sur-prize. It is not a brand-new car or trip to Europe for one reason: We find that the more valuable the prize, the more incentive people have to cheat. And we’re not offering that sort of competition.
Hunts for Kids
Can I bring kids to an adult hunt?
Yes, but we don’t recommend it. Kids will probably find the questions too hard or complain that there is too much walking. Also, there is no discount for children at an adult hunt. We urge you instead to bring kids to our family hunts, which are specifically designed for kids and adults to do together.
Do you offer hunts for kids?
Yes. We offer frequent hunts for kids and adults to do together in New York City, and occasionally in other cities. Private hunts for kids are available anywhere.
Can adults attend family hunts without bringing kids?
Sorry, no. That’s not fair to the teams with kids on them. But there’s once exception: Our Wizard School scavenger hunts allow all-adult teams to compete separately.
What ages are recommended for family hunts?
Age 7 and up. Younger children might find a hunt too long, too difficult, and too exhausting. Reading skills are important to a child’s enjoyment of the hunts.
Must adults accompany kids on a family hunt?
There must be at least one adult per team. You must purchase a ticket for everyone on the team age 7 and up.
Must I buy tickets in advance? Can I buy tickets at the door as a “walk-up”?
You must buy tickets in advance. We do not take cash at the door, and we do not accept “walk-ups.” We need to know in advance how many people will come so that we can prepare for the correct number of participants. Plus, our public hunts often sell out. On top of that, many of the locations where we conduct hunts, particularly museums, do not permit us to sell tickets on the premises.
How do I buy tickets?
You can purchase tickets via the Public Hunts pages of this website. Select the city you want to hunt in, then click on View the Public Hunt Calendar in the top right corner, or use the dropdown menus to search for a particular hunt. At the end of the transaction, you will see an onscreen “e-ticket” that you must print out and bring to the hunt. You will also receive an e-mail confirmation. You can also call our ticketing service, OvationTix, at 866-811-4111 (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time). There is a $1 surcharge for phone orders. We accept all major credit cards.
I want to hunt with my friends. Do I have to buy tickets for my entire team?
Each person on your team can purchase tickets separately. During the checkout process, we’ll ask if you are joining friends that are signing up separately. If so, tell us their names during checkout and we’ll know that you’ll be on the same team as them. If you are attending with a Meetup group or for someone’s birthday, please tell us the name of the group or birthday hunter during the checkout process.
If a hunt is sold out but my friends have tickets, can I still join their team?
Maybe. The total number of people on the team cannot exceed six. But there are other factors that determine whether we can accommodate you. Please note that “Murder” hunts tend to sell out several days or as much as a week in advance, so buy all the tickets you need early to guarantee participation. To check with us about getting into a sold-out hunt, email us or call 877-9-GO HUNT, extension 12.
How do I receive my tickets? Do they come by mail?
At the end of your online purchase, you will see an onscreen “e-ticket” that you should print out and bring to the hunt. You will also receive an email confirmation. You will not receive tickets in the mail, nor will there be tickets waiting for you at the hunt location. If you bought tickets by phone, you will receive a confirmation number at the end of the transaction. Be sure to bring that number to the hunt. Do not ask people at information desks or ticket windows at museums or zoos, because they will not know about the hunt.
Where is my email receipt?
You’ll be emailed a receipt/confirmation after you complete your purchase. If you didn’t receive it, check your junk mail folder. Failing that, contact our ticketing service, OvationTix, at 866-811-4111 (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time).
All sales are final? No refunds? Really?
Yes. Consider these tickets to be the same as theater tickets or sports event tickets: All sales are final. Actually, unlike the theater or sports events, once you tell us you are coming, we include you when preparing hunt materials and booking people to run the hunt. Plus, if a hunt sells out, we turn away people who would otherwise take your place. Thus, there are no refunds. If you are absolutely, positively in a pickle, can’t attend a hunt, and can give us enough advance notice, we might be able to reschedule you—in which case, call us at 877-9-GO HUNT, extension 12.
What happens if there’s horrible weather?
Hunts almost always run rain or shine. If we are forced to cancel a hunt due to dangerous conditions or because a venue, such as a museum, has closed, we will make an announcement on the Hunt Hotline, 877-9-GO HUNT, extension 12. But we know that many hunters are intrepid, and that a particular day may be your only chance to do a hunt, so we seldom cancel hunts due to poor weather. If we must cancel a hunt, or if you prefer not to risk being uncomfortable, please call us at the number above, or email us, to reschedule. If you switch to a hunt with a different price for the same number of tickets, you must pay the difference if the new hunt is more expensive or we will refund the difference if the new hunt is less expensive.
Can I give my ticket to a friend if I can’t make it?
Yes, as long as you give your e-ticket or confirmation number to your friend and he or she brings it to the hunt.
Can I get a discount if I bring a large group?
Sorry, but no. The public hunts are already discounted from our private hunt rates. Large groups cannot expect special treatment at a public hunt—we urge you instead to consider a private hunt, where you get to call the shots. To learn more, see Private Hunts or contact us.
Where can I find discounts for the scavenger hunts?
Each issue of our email newsletters includes at least one discount offer. We also occasionally post discounts on Facebook and Twitter. We very rarely offer discounts through other organizations and their promotional emails.
If I am a museum member, can I buy my own museum ticket and get a hunt discount?
Sorry, but we cannot offer a discount to museum members. The museums explicitly tell us that participation in events not sponsored by the museum, such as our hunts, are not a benefit of membership. The museum charges us for your participation, so museum admission must be included in every ticket we sell. Just think of it as a donation to a cause you like to support!
I’m a student—can I get a student discount for museum admission?
Yes, but only when you see a Student Ticket option during the ticket purchasing process. And you must present a current, valid student ID at the hunt. If you don’t see a special ticket for students, it means we can’t offer a discount for that hunt.
Can we arrive at the museum earlier than the hunt start time?
If the museum (or zoo) charges an admission fee, then your admission is included in the price of the hunt. Unfortunately, our staff will not be at the museum (or zoo) with your admission ticket until the start of the hunt. Actually, we’re not sure that we’d recommend to people that they stroll a location before the hunt, because you might end up wishing you had all of your energy while doing a two-hour hunt.
Redeeming Gift Certificates & Credits
I have a hunt credit. How do I redeem it?
Call us at 877-9-GO HUNT, extension 12, to make your reservation—do not use our regular online ticketing service. If you have a monetary hunt credit (with a dollar value), we will have a record of it on file. If the tickets you wish to purchase exceed the value of your hunt credit, you can pay the balance with a credit card over the phone. If there is a balance due to you on the hunt credit, you must apply the balance to another purchase—we don’t give “change,” so to speak.
I have a gift certificate. How do I redeem it?
Visit the Public Hunts section of our website, choose a hunt, and then during checkout enter the claim code inside the gift certificate. Easypeasy! You’ll receive an email confirmation with your hunt ticket and meeting place information. If your purchase doesn’t use up the full value of the certificate, your account in our system will have a record of your balance, to apply towards your next hunt purchase.
If you received a gift certificate prior to March 2013 you must call us to redeem the certificate, at 877-9-GO HUNT (877-946-4868), extension 12. We’ll issue you a ticket, which you’ll receive by email. Then just bring the gift certificate card with you to the hunt and present it when checking in with our staff.
I have a card or a credit for a free scavenger hunt. How do I redeem it?
Call us at 877-9-GO HUNT, extension 12, to make your reservation—do not use our regular online ticketing service. Just like with airline miles, there are a specific number of spots available per hunt that can be redeemed by people using free hunt cards and free hunt credits. Please call us to check availability. Be sure to bring your free hunt card to the hunt, otherwise it will be the same as not having a ticket.
How do I purchase a gift certificate?
Visit the Gift Certificates page.
Preparing for a Hunt
How should I dress for the hunt?
Dress comfortably. In particular, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Avoid carrying anything heavy.
Can I check coats, bags, and luggage at the hunt?
On museum hunts, there is usually a place provided by the museum to check coats and bags. If you plan on bringing luggage, check with the museum before your arrival—some museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, won’t even let you in the door with luggage. Some museums have do-it-yourself coat check rooms that require a quarter deposit to secure a locker. Some museums charge a separate fee for checking coats. Again, check with the museum for its policies. Please note that the Watson Adventures staffers are constantly on the move during the hunt and thus unable to watch anyone’s possessions on either indoor or outdoor hunts.
Receiving Emails From Us
Why haven’t I received the newsletter or other notices I’ve expected?
So you bought tickets to a hunt or signed up to receive The Culture Vulture in your e-mailbox, but you haven’t been receiving emails from us. What gives? Here are some possible explanations and what you can do to help us correct the problem:
• Junk Mail Filters: The number one cause of people not receiving our email notices is spam or junk mail filters. If you can control your junk mail settings, be sure to put “watsonadventures.com” on your “safe list.” This is a list that tells your email service provider, “Please let emails from this address go through to my mailbox.” You can usually find controls for your junk mail filter under a menu with a name such as “Options” or “Preferences.” Sometimes it’s as simple as finding a Watson Adventures email in your junk mail folder and clicking on a button that says “Not Junk.”
• Company Email Addresses: If you subscribe or make a reservation using your office email address, your company may have a filter that blocks out messages with “inappropriate” language. So although we might call our popular hunt “N-ked at the Met,” that still might not be enough to slip past your company’s filter. In that case, you’ll probably have to use a personal address. Please click here to re-subscribe, and be sure to put “watsonadventures.com” on your email “safe list.”
• Your Address May Have Been Deleted from Our Newsletter Database: Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, your email service may reject or bounce back our mailing, and if this happens more than once our mailing service deletes your address as no longer valid. The remedy: Please click here to re-subscribe, and be sure to put “watsonadventures.com” on your email “safe list.” We apologize for this hassle, but strict spam laws and our own policy prevent us from adding your email address to our list if there is any indication that you might not want us to do so.
You Have More Questions? We Have More Answers!
To learn more about the individual hunts, see a schedule, and buy tickets online, go to Public Hunts.
If you have a question we haven’t answered above or want to purchase tickets by phone, call our ticketing service, OvationTix.com, toll free at 866-811-4111.
You can also contact us by email.