In the post-COVID-19 world, where the simple act of going outdoors constitutes entertainment, comes a new diversion that seems positively wild by comparison. Called Treasure Quest Adventures, it's a treasure hunt in which participants comb through the city in search of clues that end with a cash prize for the winner.
The concept is newly devised by Virginia-based entrepreneur Ian Lovejoy, who saw treasure hunts as a way to get COVID-conscious entertainment. The company had its first hunt in Virginia in late August and they were wowed by the response.
"It turned out to be more successful than we could have imagined," he says. "That's what brought us to the idea of taking it to other cities, so we're doing them in Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, and Phoenix."
Treasure Quest Adventures uses virtual and real-world clues, with participants competing against each other and against the clock.
Participants are given clues on their phone, which direct them to physical locations strewn throughout the community, which they must chase down. The first participant to solve gets a $5,000 cash prize.
"There are generally around 20 puzzles, and they'll take you all around the city," Lovejoy says.
But they're not looking for slips of paper. Treasure Quest does not change the landscape, and they don't leave clues lying around.
"It can't be something we add, since it might be taken by a participant," he says. "When you're hunting for real money, not everyone remains a good actor."
Instead it could be something like a historic site or highway marker. And once you get there, you have to physically check in with a selfie at each location. So no memorizing the inscription at the JFK Tribute, it won't help.
They're in the process of organizing three treasure hunts throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The first will take place on December 5, and the prize will be $5,000. The prize for the two subsequent hunts will be $1,000 each.
Each quest has a limit on how many can participate: A total of 300 tickets for $55 will be sold for the $5,000 hunt; for the $1,000 event, there'll be 150 tickets at $35 per ticket. To register, visit FinishTheQuest.com.
"Our hope is to offer a fun reason to get out of the house," Lovejoy says. "It's something families can do and it also encourages people to explore their community in a new way."