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Dust off your brain and don your comfiest pair of walking shoes.

Elizabeth Preske
March 28, 2018

Fun, quirky, and educational, Watson Adventures has created scavenger hunts in more than 30 cities across the United States, inviting everyone from curious travelers and even Fortune 500 team builders to join in on any one of its 600 whimsical and fast-paced games.

And in New York City, where Watson Adventures got its start in the mid 1990s, you'll find nearly 60 scavenger hunts to please any witty clue finder.

According to Watson Adventures, the scavenger hunts are designed to help participants explore the city — its museums, neighborhoods, and cultural establishments — with a fresh pair of eyes.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is, by itself, home to 12 scavenger hunts. Visitors can sign up for the classic whodunnit and follow a series of clues hidden in the art to find out which of four suspects murdered the museum curator.

Or, for those who are still eagerly awaiting an official Hogwarts letter, there's a magical Harry Potter-themed hunt featuring artworks that reference the beloved series' characters, places, and objects.

"Each question is designed to have a distinct payoff: You will see something cool, learn an intriguing or bizarre fact, or have a good laugh," the website promises.

A perfect blend of all three can be seen in founder Bret Watson's favorite clues at the Met.

"Whom does van Gogh find apeeling at the back of his mind?" one clue probes, leading particpants to the esteemed artist's "The Potato Peeler," painted on the back of a self-portrait.

"Find the guy who is most disturbed by the sounds coming from the restaurant," another clue asks. The answer? The Romantic work "Ugolino and His Sons," whose real life counterparts died of starvation in prison. The sculpture can be located "only 10 paces from the museum café," Watson told Crain's New York Business.

Beyond the walls of the Met, scavengers can partake in hunts at historical institutions like Grand Central Station and the Museum of Modern Art. Or, for the more outdoorsy types, there are mysteries scattered around Central Park and iconic New York City neighborhoods such as Wall Street, the East Village, and Little Italy.

While participants will not be collecting objects to win, certain scavenger hunts will feature treats of a different, more delectable kind. The Munch Around the Village Scavenger Hunt in Greenwich Village, for instance, doesn't just take players to famed locations from "Sex and the City" and "Friends," or to Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams' old haunts. 

Scavenger hunters will also get a chance to indulge in the culinary highlights of the Village by sampling delicious snacks and sweets like pizza, cannolis, and gelato.

Watson Adventures offers public, private, and corporate scavenger hunts for would-be Nancy Drews. Ranging from $17.50 to $24 per person, the public hunts are the most affordable option — but they're only available in New York City and six other U.S. destinations: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C.

Locals can invite up to five friends to form a team, combine wits, and work together to win a special prize. Public hunts last about two hours, with an additional 30 minutes for set-up and post-hunt scoring.

Private group hunts are pricier, but afford more flexibility. Starting at $750 for a 15-person group, private hunts can be customized for length of time and may feature questions pertaining to the group or occasion. And you don't need to live in a major U.S. city to participate. Private hunts are available in 36 cities across the nation.

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