Fairmount Park's summer scavenger hunts are going virtual. Here's how to play - Technical.ly Philly

Software Development

Jul. 23, 2020 12:14 pm

Fairmount Park’s summer scavenger hunts are going virtual. Here’s how to play

The GooseChase app will challenge park visitors with new missions each week, starting July 27.
A sign introducing Fairmount Park visitors to Mount Pleasant — and inviting them to join the virtual scavenger hunt.

A sign introducing Fairmount Park visitors to Mount Pleasant — and inviting them to join the virtual scavenger hunt.

(Courtesy photo)

With local parks seeing high usage in recent months — thanks, surely, to COVID-19 shutting down most other forms of entertainment and leisure — Fairmount Park Conservancy is planning virtual scavenger hunts to engage visitors.

From July 27 to Sept. 7, park visitors can download the GooseChase app to their smartphones for free and complete missions at their leisure. New missions will be added each week and the most successful scavenger hunters will receive prizes like gift cards to minority-owned businesses and Fairmount Park Conservancy merchandise.

Historic Houses Program Coordinator John Sigmund told Technical.ly that this is Fairmount Park Conservancy’s fourth year of organizing the Fairmount Park Scavenger Hunt and its first time using GooseChase.

In previous years, the in-person scavenger hunt had a participation fee and a limited number of players. The use of a user-friendly app now allows for unlimited team registrations free of charge to park visitors.

Sigmund worked with other experts in his field and park-based organizations to create a self-guided series of missions using photo-based, video-based and text-based challenges through which players could earn different point values depending on the mission’s difficulty.

“The weekly ‘Hub Hunts’ are aligned with nearby points of interest at each of the six Park Hubs (spots in East and West Fairmount Park that are great jumping off points for visiting the park),” he said in an email. “Besides the fun gamification of summer in the park exploration, the goal in designing this scavenger hunt is to encourage users to experience and safely discover lesser-known areas of East and West Fairmount Park and discover Fairmount Park’s rich past and present.”

Eric Chiang, head of marketing at the Ontario, Canada-based GooseChase, said the app can be used in different ways depending on who the participants are that are using it, and that this versatility makes it ideal for a virtual scavenger hunt.

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“The GooseChase EDU side of the platform is used by teachers to create games for K-12 students, while on the enterprise side, GooseChase is used by organizations for a range of internal and external purposes, from team-building [to] staff training to public outreach or fundraising,” he said.

Sigmund is optimistic that the virtual scavenger hunts will help people have fun and learn more about Fairmount Park at a time when getting fresh air is especially important.

“Fairmount Park is the largest park in Philly and there is still so much within it for people to discover,” he said. “So as we all adjust to this new normal, I think virtual scavenger hunts via apps like GooseChase will provide a really fun, safe, and engaging way for people to explore Fairmount Park and learn a lot more about its landscape and history along the way.”

P.S. This week, the conservancy also released a digital guide to Fairmount Park that includes interactive maps and information on trail routes, offering another way to use technology to interact with the place you’re probably visiting to escape all the onslaught of tech of your daily life.

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