Scavenger Hunts a the Art Institute of Chicago

Scavenger Hunts at The Art Institute of Chicago

  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Art Attack Scavenger Hunt

Uncover the secrets of Chicago’s greatest treasure trove

This whirlwind tour of the Art Institute has something for everyone—from paintings to pottery, armor to amore, Dali to dollhouse-like period rooms, ancient Roman warriors to a room where modern moneymen battled, and more.

On teams, you’ll follow a trail of clues in search of answers to tricky, humorous questions designed to get you thinking, bonding, and laughing. But don’t worry: no knowledge of the museum or its contents is necessary—you just need a sharp mind and comfortable shoes.

Your quest might include…

  • A famous Parisian dancer who probably would have been an expert during a 1990s dance craze
  • A notorious snoozer who dozed off before a war…and found things significantly different when he woke up
  • A flexible gal whose gesture seems to say, “Bring it on!”
  • A multi-armed god who’d be great at doing “the wave”

And those are just a few of the highlights on an adventure that takes you through time and around the world, all while revealing the best of the museum. The hunt is played using the Watson Adventures app, which works on any smartphone.

If you’ve been searching for something unique and fun for a corporate outing, alumni reunion, birthday party, or any other occasion where you want participants to mingle and make memories, this is it!  

Team-building booster: the Mixed Alliances Edition

Looking to have your group interact with each other even more? Consider the special Mixed Alliances Edition. During the game, each team must collaborate with three other teams, and each player must work with up to 11 other players. To win, you must not only compete—you must also cooperate.


hunt_artifact
  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Murder at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt

Dead and loving it

Well, the curator who’s been murdered probably isn’t, but you and your team will enjoy this murder-mystery game. The victim left behind a cryptic trail of clues connected with secrets in the works of art here. As you figure out what they mean, you begin to piece together the sordid details that got him killed—all of which revolve around the museum’s upcoming purchase of a priceless painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

The curator knew too much, and you’ll have to find out what he knew and which of the four suspects killed him. Along the way, you’ll get a whirlwind tour of the Art Institute, starring a pickpocket at a rooster fight, a deadly threat from a tiny rifle, a marching band suitable for the Planet of the Apes, Van Gogh’s telltale tipplers, and a warning to remain silent from a saint who literally holds his tongue.


hunt_skull
  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • kids
  • indoor

The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt

See the museum as Harry Potter might

If you’ve ever thought you could be a great wizard, fighting you-know-who alongside Harry and Hermione, then this is the game for you. On teams, you’ll search for art that echoes the people, places, and objects in the Harry Potter books and movies, and answer tricky, entertaining questions about what you find. Be prepared to track down terrifying dragons like those in the Triwizard Tournament, centaurs and unicorns that seem like they stepped out of the Forbidden Forest, and ghastly figures as scary as any Death Eater or Dementor.

But you don’t have to know Hogwarts from hog warts to win, and a cheat sheet will help out the muggles on your team. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead, it highlights strange and surprising works of art at the AIC that will remind you of J.K. Rowling’s bewitching world.


hunt_kids
  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Escape the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt

Solve the puzzle, save your life

You’ve been poisoned! Don’t panic: there’s a cure…and you’re about to have a lot of fun finding it. The evil genius who poisoned you has created a series of puzzles that lead you to figure out the combination to a box that holds the antidote. Anyone can escape a room, but can you unlock the box and escape the Art Institute of Chicago with your life?

As you try to do just that, you’ll search the nooks and crannies of the museum to find answers to devilishly tricky questions about works of art. You’ll also interact with our staff to tackle sneaky puzzles and ultimately crack the code.

No knowledge of art or the museum is required: you just need sharp eyes, comfy shoes, a smartphone, and excellent teamwork. 


  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Brain Squeeze: A Trivia Scavenger Hunt

Like a pub quiz—only better

Show off your pop-culture smarts on this unusual game at the Art Institute of Chicago. Here’s how to play: collaborate with your team on a trivia question, and then use that answer to figure out another question—this time about an object on display. Topics include movies, music, history, sports, science, books, and more.

For example, a Lady Gaga song could help you figure out what’s happening in a painting of a sneaky card game. Knowing the number of stars in a famous dipper could help you find a goddess getting a constellation prize. And a Woody Allen quote could help you spot the, um, shortcomings of a Roman statue.

If you get stuck, you can consult your smartphone—but keep in mind that the groups that get the answers faster will answer more questions and score more points.


hunt_dirigible
  • private
  • adults
  • kids
  • indoor

The Whodunit Scavenger Hunt

Catch a killer? Get a clue!

There’s a murderer lurking in the halls of the Art Institute, and you’re the only one who can stop him. How? By following the clues and answering the questions in the scavenger hunt that the villain created to taunt the police. Five of the works of art will reveal his identity, the murder weapon, and the location of the body. But which five? The police are depending on you to find the evidence they need to catch and convict the killer. Are you up to the challenge?

The hunt is great for adults who want to add a murder-mystery to their museum visit but want something less challenging than our Murder at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt. There’s also a Kids Edition, for ages 10 and up, in which kids and adults work together to solve the puzzle.


  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Sherlock Holmes at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt

Can you solve the mystery of the dancing figures?

At the outset of this game based on a Sherlock Holmes story, wealthy businessman Hilton Cubitt and his wife, Elsie, have been shot in their elegant home. Hilton is dead, and Elsie has been seriously wounded. Police think she killed her husband and then turned the gun on herself. If she recovers, she’ll be tried for murder!

But wait—there’s more to this mystery than meets the eye. A week earlier, Hilton had asked Watson Adventures’ code-breaking experts to decipher e-mails that Elsie had received. They contained strange images of dancing stick figures. They seemed to upset her, but she insisted to her husband that they were meaningless.  

The