"We just need to figure out one more clue," my son yelled, as wind whipped his hair and black clouds threatened to open up on us at any second.
"Don't you want to get pizza?" I asked over the thunder as he and his sister took off at a run across Marion Square in Charleston.
Apparently not. And that's saying something when dealing with a sixth and third grader who never pass up a chance at a good slice.
So what could be so exciting that even the promise of pepperoni and the threat of soaking rain stood no chance?
We were on an Urban Adventure Quest. Part scavenger hunt, part history tour, part puzzle, and all on a cell phone, the Urban Adventure Quest is the perfect activity for families visiting Charleston.
A series of clues leads you all over Charleston's downtown, from the bustle of City Market to the hip stores of King Street to the sedate and shady hidden gardens down by the Battery.
So here's how it works:
You purchase the game on the company's website, and you'll be told your starting location.
You'll need a mobile device with internet connectivity to play. A cell phone is probably your best bet here. There's no app to download-just use a server on your phone to connect to the website. Once you log in, a clock starts, and you'll get your first puzzle. Look around you and use what you see to solve the puzzle. Sometimes it's a cipher, sometimes a simple math problem, sometimes a riddle. But you can't solve the puzzle until you find the clues hidden in plain sight on the buildings, sidewalks and front yards of Charleston. Enter the answer on your phone, and you'll be given your next destination, another set of directions and the next clues to look for. Most of the quest is on foot, but you'll also ride the free trolley downtown for certain portions.
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, because you'll be on your feet. Also, be sure to bring a piece of paper and pen. There are some puzzles that are easier and more fun when you can work them out by hand.
A timer begins when you start your quest, and you can certainly try to beat the clock. We took a more leisurely approach, stopping for lunch and ice cream. (Okay, I'll admit it-we stopped multiple times for ice cream. Charleston isn't just about history and beautiful architecture. There is some seriously delicious ice cream to discover along this tour, too.)
Urban Adventure Quest just might be the perfect tour of Charleston to make every member of a family happy. Parents will get a see some of the most beautiful places in a well-traveled city. Kids will get the thrill of a scavenger hunt. Teenagers will get to stare at their phones with no griping from mom and dad. Everyone wins!