5 Tips for Making a Great Behind-the-Scenes Scavenger Hunt

Discovering a well-kept secret can be the most rewarding part of a trip to an attraction because you’ll feel like an explorer who happened upon a nugget of knowledge.  Scavenger hunts are a great way to share a behind-the-scenes look at your institution and for kids, it provides a sense of accomplishment.

Cathedral Quest, launching summer 2016, is a great example because it transforms a seemingly intimidating place into a fun treasure hunt with a series of clues to find ten secret treasures (and get a prize at the end!).

1. Channel your inner child: Ask what makes your eyes open wide with wonder? Choose findable objects and spaces that make visitors feel like they’ve been given special permission to do something.

Children love getting special permission to do something, like opening the secret compartment in a chair at Grace.

Children love getting special permission to do something, like opening the secret compartment in a chair at Grace.

2. Look for objects that make multisensory activities: Visits are enhanced through experiences so try to involve all the senses.  For instance, simulated playing of a musical instrument will keep kids occupied through touch and sound, engaging them with an object that otherwise can’t be touched.

The Grace app includes a virtual organ to hear and water to touch. Smell proved to be too challenging as the incense smell was inconsistent.

The Grace app includes a virtual organ to hear and water to touch. Smell proved to be too challenging as the incense smell was inconsistent.

3. Explore places you wouldn’t otherwise go: Send people off the beaten path, within reason.  Is there a space that is open to the public but rarely ventured into?  Make this an opportunity for discovery.

At Grace, the railing that separates the two parts of the church actually has a small hidden gate though few people ever go through. Via the hunt, we can tell people to open the gate, walk up behind the altar and get a secret behind-the-scenes view.

At Grace, the railing that separates the two parts of the church actually has a small hidden gate though few people ever go through. Via the hunt, we can tell people to open the gate, walk up behind the altar and get a secret behind-the-scenes view.

4. Take a walk around the space, multiple times: Determine how visitors use the space and walk around the area many times.  Writing a scavenger hunt from your desk isn’t conductive to discovering nooks and crannies.

Grace is a huge, gothic style space, where people might be worshiping. It was really important to repeatedly walk around the space over and over again to understand how people use it.

Grace is a huge, Gothic style space, where people might be worshiping. It was really important to repeatedly walk around the space over and over again to understand how people use it.

5.    Include kids and adults: Behind the scenes looks can often be marketed to kids, but they can be just as fun to parents.  Remember that kids will be accompanied by an adult, so engage them both in completing activities.  When kids have fun, parents and caregivers have fun.

 After learning about “wyvern” kids are reminded to engage their adults asking if their adult knows the difference between that and a dragon.

After learning about “wyverns” kids are reminded to engage their adults asking if their adult knows the difference between that and a dragon.

These tips will help you make really engaging tours that feature behind-the-scenes content and hidden secrets, making each visitor feel that they had a very special experience.  And, we will let you know when Cathedral Quest launches - can't wait!

* This post is part of our series for #Museumweek, specifically #SecretsMW.

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