Hot take: Adventure Seekers and the eternal quest for distracting kids

By Oliver Griffin September 26, 2016

Adventure Seekers is a sightseeing scavenger hunt app that aims to enhance the travel experiences for parents and their curious kids as they explore new cities together. Great for them, terrible for the rest of us.


I am not a parent. In the clearest interests of absolute transparency, let me repeat: I, am not a parent. Yet it is easy to see how and why Adventure Seekers would appeal to parents everywhere. Holidays with children – your children (yes you, nodding along, thinking wistfully of the days when vacations meant beautiful sites, romantic dinners and hotel bedrooms) – are normally pool and beach affairs, right? You just have to make them tired enough that they’ll sleep well later. That’s where Adventure Seekers helps city fanatics.

Adventures Seekers helps children become engaged in their travels by recommending tourist attractions in specific cities, and providing scavenger hunts for each. The platform first launched in Boston and New York City, and will later expand to include Washington, D.C., although Adventures Seekers’ goal is to launch in all of the top major tourist cities in the United States.

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To begin a scavenger hunt, the app asks children to find a landmark in a city, and provides educational facts about it along the way. Children then answer questions about the landmark, listen to sounds, and take photos that they may look back on when their trip is over. At the end of the scavenger hunt, children get a stamp in their ‘passports’ to signify they’ve completed the challenge. Smug parents can also bask in some serious ‘obvious parenting’ to show how their parenting is better than other parents’.

Children who travel are, allegedly, happier and smarter. Travel exercises the areas of the brain systems that have to do with play, and the urge to explore. The more a child uses these systems, they become part of his or her personality. Adventure Seekers could, we suppose, be the difference between your child being a genius, or not.

But I – the non parent – have a question. Why would you take our one last safe haven, Adventure Seekers? The app is only present in three cities for now but its expansionist dreams are apparent. Sooner or later, no tourist hub in the United States will be free of hordes of screaming kids, chasing around for treasures to hunt, climbing monuments and generally being loud. City breaks used to be all about culture, food and romance – now they will be about tantrums, tears and foot stamping little minions.

For parents, the platform is excellent. However, for the rest of us, this could be the dismantling of the city break as we know it.