In this the technological age, it’s sometimes difficult to get outside and explore. Nowadays, computer users browsing Google Street View can virtually drive through a town they’ve never been to and even tour certain businesses (like our very own Toy Joy).
No technology can truly capture the vibrancy and life on display every day in Austin, but one family of adventurers has come up with a compelling alternative to exploring new places through a screen. They call it Urban Adventure Quest, and all you need to play is an Internet-connected device like a tablet or smartphone.
The game, essentially a scavenger hunt with a few twists, was created by Christie Walker, Tami Walker, and Robbie Ros, a family of adventurers and world travelers (pictured right) based in California. They wanted an experience similar to the reality show “The Amazing Race,” but accessible to all.
“We wanted to make sure anyone can explore their own city,” co-owner Christie Walker told Austin.com. “So many people use the TV and Internet to ‘see the world.’ Our Quests combine a bit of exercise — walking up to two-and-a-half miles — some mental puzzle challenges, learning about local history, and a way to have fun and interact with your friends and family.”
The game works by sending teams racing from landmark to landmark around downtown Austin (or other cities, if you’re unlucky enough to live elsewhere), receiving clues from their devices that help solve puzzles at each location. The entire Austin course spans two miles, beginning at the Texas State Library & Archives Building and ending at Lady Bird Lake.
“Once you find the location, then the real ‘challenge’ starts,” Walker said. “You’ll need to solve a puzzle, complete a mental challenge, and work together to get the [next location]… You end up on a walking tour of Austin, seeing all the cool and historic locations while you play an interactive game.”
Complete the course while logged on to Urban Adventure Quest’s site to be ranked on the Austin leader board, where you can see your overall ranking, total score, and course time. Of course, you can call your team whatever you want — props to the “Fire Ferrets” and “Team Amelia Earhart.”
Most adventurers complete their hunts in one to three hours, but the Austin course record as of this writing was 55 minutes and 37 seconds. That takes determination. Most UAQ players just enjoy the experience, and wind up saying things like, “I’ve lived in Austin all my life and I didn’t know about half of the places we visited during the Quest!” Others have even used the quest to propose marriage.
Best of all, Urban Adventure Quest has kindly created a special promotion code for Austin.com readers. Enter the phrase GoAustin when you purchase your adventure through their website and you’ll get 15 percent off.
That’s right: It’s adventure time, baby!
Featured photo: Christie Walker, courtesy of Urban Adventure Quest.