The Evolution of Scavenger Hunts to Treasure Hunts

by Andy Cohen Kraus

Corporate teams are jumping at the chance to explore next-generation treasure hunts rather than old-fashioned scavenger hunts.

According to Wikipedia, a scavenger hunt is “A game in which individuals or teams seek to find a number of specific items, or perform tasks, as given in a list. The goal is either to complete the list first, or to complete the list in the most creative manner.” Scavenger hunts are easy to organize and are great for school groups and social gatherings. No knowledge of the course area is required, as most of the items on the list can be found just about anywhere.

Treasure hunts are very different from scavenger hunts in that the activity requires much more than retrieving items on a list. Team building companies who arrange treasure hunts should not disturb the area on the course and the points should not interfere with other patrons in the area.

One previously common form of treasure hunt is geocaching. Geocaching is where someone hid containers for groups to locate. Teams open the containers and find cards with varying point values on them or small objects. A common problem with this type of treasure hunt program was that the geocache container was often found by someone not involved in the team building activity and caused undue alarm. It was also not very rewarding or exciting to spend the day looking for small containers.

Team building treasure hunts have come a long way and now include hunts such as: GeoQuest: The High-Tech Treasure Hunt and ClueQuest: The Indoor Treasure Hunt facilitated by GeoQuest incorporates hand-held GPS units to help teams locate clues in a town, city, or zoo. Teams of approximately five people receive handheld GPS units pre-programmed with the locations of hidden treasures. The GPS units guide teams to within 20 feet of their goal. After that, they use their wits and determination to decipher written clues to find the hidden answers. GeoQuest gives participants the opportunity to work together to achieve their goals. Teams can learn about history along Boston’s Freedom Trail, discover the jungles at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, or explore the sites in historic Charlotte, NC.

Treasure hunts like ClueQuest: The Indoor Treasure Hunt are similar to GeoQuest, but instead of utilizing hand-held GPS units to solve clues outdoors, teams solve an emulator using Braille or sign language to solve clues indoors at locations such as the Field Museum in Chicago, the San Jose Tech Museum, the Atlanta Aquarium, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, or the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC to name a few.

GeoQuest and ClueQuest are perfect team building activities for corporate groups of all sizes. Effective teamwork, strategic thinking, planning, and communication are some of the skills needed to be successful during the treasure hunt activities. Participants learn about a city, zoo and even discover things they never knew about in their own backyards.

Team building treasure hunts continue to evolve past outdated scavenger hunts.


Don’t be left in the dark with scavenger hunts. Take your team on a real adventure with a new and exciting kind of treasure hunt.