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The 4 Most Important Words in Team Building

One of General George Washington’s greatest achievements might have been not attacking. And it wasn’t his idea.

At the start of the war, the colonial troops had the British isolated in Boston, which was virtually an island except for one narrow neck of land connecting it to the mainland. Washington’s aggressive instincts usually led him to favor an attack, and in this case, he thought his troops could charge across the ice. But he did a very smart thing: He assembled his generals and asked, “What do you think?”

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Team-Building Dilemma: Can’t Move On? Blame the Sunk-Cost Fallacy

The Scavenger Hunt Guide to Life #7: Fish or Cut Bait?

Should you go to a concert you already bought tickets for if you’re feeling miserable? Does the amount you paid matter? I faced this dilemma recently when I held two pricey tickets to see country music legend Junior Brown play at a club a half-hour drive from my house. On the day of the concert, my back was killing me. And I belatedly discovered that I’d purchased tickets to stand for two hours or more. Plus the friend who was going to accompany me had to cancel.

Should I still go to the concert? What if I’d paid $50 for my ticket? What if I’d paid $100? Would it be a complete waste of $100 if I didn’t go? Read More

New Team-Building Scavenger Hunt: Solve a Murder Mystery Anywhere!

Wstson Adventures Murder Mayhem Anywhere

Our latest game is like an “escape room” game wherever you can think of—even outdoors

Little do you know, but one of your colleagues is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. His or her good side knows nothing about the evil side—and the evil side has challenged you to a duel. Your group has been poisoned, with only 90 minutes left to live. You’ll have to complete a series of challenges and solve interlocking puzzles to reveal the killer’s identity. If you succeed, you get the antidote. If you fail…well, you know. Read More

10 Amazing Secrets from ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’

You don’t have to head to a museum to see an impressive work of art. Just go outside and look at the trees. Mother Nature’s masterful sculptures are right by the curb or the park bench, but they are so often and so easily overlooked. That’s just one of the reasons we love to feature trees on our outdoor scavenger hunts.

In Philadelphia’s Washington Square, we send hunters in search of the tree that grew from seeds that traveled into space and back with an Apollo mission. In another Washington Square in New York City’s Greenwich Village, our hunt points out the “Hangman’s Elm,” which legend (inaccurately) says helped execute criminals back in colonial times. On the Babson College campus outside of Boston, teams must locate an apple tree that descends from the very tree Isaac Newton sat under when falling fruit prompted his “eureka!” moment. Then there’s the historic  Read More

7 Tips on How to Get the Best Out of Your Team Building Activity Provider

Learn from our 19 years of experience

We stage about 2,000 team building activities a year, and we’ve been doing it since 1999. So we’ve learned a lot from observing and collaborating with superstar event organizers. How do they get the best out of our scavenger hunts and other games? How can you get the best out of any event provider?

We’ve boiled it down to these seven tips… Read More

A ‘Socially Superlative’ Evening at the American Museum of Natural History

The event publication enjoyed a Watson Adventures scavenger hunt as part of the museum’s benefit bash

When the American Museum of Natural History wanted to add an extra dash of fun to its “Moon Dance: Night Journey” benefit gala, they turned to Watson Adventures to kick off the evening with a one-hour scavenger hunt highlighting the best of the museum. The hunt went from the famous giant whale to the legendarily large T. rex.

The online publication Socially Superlative was on hand to report on the event: “The competitive juices were flowing among the teams, so much so that women (including myself) were removing their high heels so they could scurry to the next clue quicker.” See the full story.

Pop Quiz: Secrets of the New York Celebs at Madame Tussauds

In which we wax trivial

We’ve gone eye to eye with presidents, pop stars, and popes. We’ve danced with rockers, we’ve mugged with supermodels. In short, we’ve spent a lot of time in wax museums. Wait, don’t dial 911: we go to Madame Tussauds to update our scavenger hunts there, in the New York City and Washington, D.C., branches. (And before you get upset about Tussauds: they removed the apostrophe long before our first scavenger hunt there in 2006.)

We’ve learned a lot of intriguing trivia about the stars in those galleries, not just from the information cards accompanying the wax figures but also from our own roving and restless research. Allow us to share the wealth: from the following descriptions, see if you can identify the six celebs, all associated with New York City, whose wax-alikes stand or have stood in Madame Tussauds. You can guess “blind,” or you can refer to the list of candidates that follows the descriptions. Read More

Secrets of the Chicago Scavenger Hunts: Vanishing Navy Pier

The Landmark Has Lost Some of Its Quirky Charms

We’re waxing nostalgic for the good ol’ days of…2004. Specifically, we miss the old Navy Pier. The Chicago landmark, famed for its Ferris wheel towering over Lake Michigan, is undergoing renovations, and perhaps it’ll be better than ever. But we mourn the quirky, fun, informative eccentricities of yesteryear that we featured on our Navy Pier Pressure Scavenger Hunt.

Recently we took a stroll down Memory Lane by clicking through our old hunt research photos. They date back to an era when newfangled digital cameras revolutionized our hunt research. (You should see our notebooks from the days we had to write everything down, dating back to 1999. The meaning of those hieroglyphic scribbles is lost to time.) Our photos captured Navy Pier in its former, less commercialized glory, a time when local and cultural history mattered a bit more than the latest chili-dusted cupcake concoction. Read More

Travel + Leisure: “These Scavenger Hunts Help You Explore New York City in a Whole New Way”

“Fun, quirky, and educational, Watson Adventures has created scavenger hunts in more than 30 cities across the United States, inviting everyone from curious travelers and even Fortune 500 team builders to join in on any one of its 600 whimsical and fast-paced games.”

So begins Travel + Leisure’s write up of our scavenger hunts for corporate team building and private parties, available not just in New York City but across the U.S. Plus anyone can sign on for our weekend hunts for the general public in seven cities. Find out what the esteemed travel publication has to say: read the article here.

 

A Variety of Different Redundant Phrases that, Combined Together, Are Increasingly More Annoying

12 Offenders—Plus an Added Bonus!

When you write scavenger hunts and treasure hunts, filled with tricky, humorous clues and exacting directions, language becomes a minefield. Every word counts. By which we don’t mean that the words are counting up a series of numbers. Any word can be misinterpreted. Even simply typing turn left instead of turn right can send a team off in the wrong direction for blocks—and they show up at the finish line with a low score and high dudgeon. (That’s another issue: should you risk a less-common word?)

When you pay such close attention to written words, you become more aware of redundancy. In ordinary speech, our brains seem to have a natural inclination to use redundancy to help make a point clear or to add emphasis. But on the page or small screen, redundancy is unnecessary and often sloppy. You don’t need to hammer down your points with a series of repeated blows over and over until the reader throws in the white towel of surrender. See what we mean?

Here are some common redundant phrases on our black list, collected while following the media or watching TV. Some are worse than others. Did we need to say “than others”? Doesn’t “worse” already imply a comparison with others? Let the debates begin! Read More