Ferdinand Magellan would never have made it across the Pacific had he not swiftly deciphered the clues embedded in his star charts leading to the GPS hidden in the ship's mast. Decode the way to glory with today's Groupon: for $35, you get a two-person entry to CityQuest Philadelphia from Ravenchase Adventures on Saturday, June 18 at 2 p.m. (a $70 value). This event will begin at Mad River Bar & Grille, and check-in begins at 1:30 p.m.
Ravenchase Adventures' CityQuest sets loose teams of puzzle lovers and adventurers on a citywide scavenger hunt. Each squad is armed with a treasure map, a bag of gadgets, and their personal brain-bags, all of which serve as tools to help unravel clues, codes, riddles, and ciphers that will aid in the journey to the secret final location. In this The Amazing Race –style quest, clue-stalkers seek to edge out their competitors as they race through local museums, parks, historical sites, and haunted intersections. The top three teams are heaped with prizes, a chance to take part in the 2011 Great America Race, and earn bragging rights at the after-party where refreshments will be waiting. This hunt through scenic Philadelphia is walking-intensive, so dress comfortably and casually, preferably in a sphinx-fur coat.
Participants must register before June 15. Although teams can be composed of two to six people, Ravenchase recommends amassing a team of at least four scavengers to have a competitive edge. Invest in two Groupons to build a quality quartet, or check the box on the registration form to volunteer your duo to be matched up with other random participants, like a blind double date or an adventurous group doctor's appointment.
Josh knew the first treasure hunt he set up was a success when he saw the happy look in his three younger brothers' eyes as they uncovered the final treasure chest. Based on Josh's clues, the younger Schwabs had just gleefully trekked across Warrenton, Virginia, and into the Shenandoah Mountains in search of their goal. But the event was more than just a fun way to spend the day: it also gave them inspiration at a time when the future felt grim, as their mother was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Although that has since become a fond memory of a good day, it's also warmly remembered by the family as the catalyst that led Josh to establish Ravenchase Adventures, where he now sets up just such engaging hunts for the public.
Now Ravenchase is an event company that offers pre-set and custom treasure hunts and adventure races. As the company has grown, Josh's team has even set up events for a variety of well-known clients, from DreamWorks Studios to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But regardless of who participates, he and his dedicated staff ensure each two- to three-hour adventure is filled with brainteasers, mysterious clues, and baffling ciphers. Each solved clue leads the groups across town with treasure maps. Fun prizes await at their final destination. In an effort to give back to the community, the company also set up the nonprofit Ravenchase Foundation, which supports organizations that inspire and teach tolerance for history, logic, and the arts.