One of the clues featured at Northside Library’s July 13 Geocache and Scavenger Hunt was a series of pictures: the Incredible Hulk, ice cubes and a growling dog. This clue refers to Rivermark Village’s Smashburger Restaurant. The reasoning required to crack the code is this: The Hulk smashes things, the ice cubes form “brr” and a growling dog makes the “grr” sound. The combined syllables make the word Smashburger.
“Our game built teamwork and it encouraged [kids grades seven and up] to explore,” says librarian Angela Ocana. “There was one task that involved geocaching, where players had to use the global coordinates on their phone to find a secret item in the library. [We were inspired by] Pokémon Go. Like a scavenger hunt, this game also encourages people to go out and visit their surroundings while looking for hidden items.”
“The difference between Pokémon Go and our game is that our game is more clue-driven and localized to the Santa Clara community. You have to really use your brain to play our game,” says Cheryl Lee, branch manager. “Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where you become a part that virtual world with your phone’s GPS (Global Positioning System).”
“A clue from our scavenger hunt only took teams to the location. Then people had to scour the location for a hidden envelope,” Ocana says. “There were three teams with seven kids on each team. The envelope they’d find at the given location, such as Smashurger, would have a secret word. None of the clues were hidden inside the building. They were all hidden outside the building. Some of the clues were in a tree, in an exterior wall or in a plant.”
This afternoon game took two hours. The scavenger hunt took place outside the library. The geocache hunt, considered especially challenging, took place inside the library.
“The Geocache hunt was a search for just one secret item, but it was combined with the traditional scavenger hunt where players could hunt for other things too,” Ocana says. “Geocache locations have to be at a distance of at least 500 feet from each other. So only one geocache search item was hidden in the library.”
Laila Davison , 13, says her team came in second place but she still had fun playing the game.
“It was not only a great source of exercise but we also got to hang out with people and make new friends,” Davison says. “It was frustrating at some points because some clues were hidden better than others. Some of the clues were inside bushes. We had to find envelopes with a word in them and then write down the key word.”
Members of the winning team received gift cards from Cold Stone Creamery, courtesy of the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends.