Group hopes neighborhood scavenger hunt catches on in Wichita

07/27/2013 1:27 PM

07/27/2013 2:03 PM

Think geocaching, but instead of finding treasures, finding quirky tidbits of trivia about town.

That’s what The ’Hood Hunt, a Seattle-based scavenger hunt crew, does when it comes to town.

The group will bring its free neighborhood scavenger hunt to downtown Wichita on Thursday.

The premise of the scavenger hunt is simple enough – print out a course map and list of clues from The ’Hood Hunt’s website, and find the corresponding locations that answer the clues on the day of the hunt.

“It involves finding some quirky neighborhood spots, and learning a little more about the neighborhood,” ’Hood Hunt founder Patrick Nuss said. “People can do it however they want. It’s really open-ended.”

No registration is required and the event is not timed. People have done the scavenger hunts on bicycles, skateboards, scooters and even walkers in the past, Nuss said. The group has organized 26 scavenger hunts around Seattle since 2010, and one in Kansas City in March.

“It started as a grassroots project with friends for us,” Nuss said. “It’s a fun thing to do – why not share it with people?”

Participants will meet up at the fountain on McLean Boulevard and Douglas Avenue around 6 p.m. Thursday, but from then on you’re on your own.

Whether you decide to attempt five checkpoints or all 20 to 30 of them, all participants are invited to an after party at 7:30 p.m. at the Monarch, 579 W. Douglas.

“It is kind of fun to meet the people who are out there doing this,” Nuss said. “If the whole city shows up that could be problematic, but I don’t see that happening.”

Nuss, a Seattle native, organized the first ’Hood Hunt in Seattle in 2010, and attracted the support of a few Facebook friends. Since, the scavenger hunts have grown in popularity, some attracting more than 30 people, he said, depending on the weather.

“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback,” Nuss said. “We’re seeing more excitement about this one than the ones I’ve seen in Seattle, though that may be because this is a one-time thing.”

Nuss, who is in town for the summer on business, said he first broached the idea with Run Wichita as an alternative to the standard road run. He said he hopes to attract area runners and walkers, as the course spans five to six miles if people visit every single checkpoint.

The course map and list of clues is expected to be posted on The ’Hood Hunt’s website no later than Tuesday, Nuss said. Since the course map is posted days before the event, there is nothing stopping people from completing the hunt a day before, a week after, or even a year later, Nuss said.

The main area covered in the scavenger hunt is just west of Main Street downtown and in the Arkansas River area. The course is expected to encompass no more than one square mile.

For more information and to see the map once it’s posted, visit The ’Hood Hunt’s website at sites.google.com/site/thehoodhunt/2013/wichita.

“It’s a PYOM — print your own map,” Nuss said. “I just throw it all online so all I have to worry about is going out and finding cool stuff.”

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