Cameron Park Zoo to host Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt

Those interested in participating in a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt can head over to the Cameron Park Zoo this Saturday. Cartoon by AB Boyd | Cartoonist.

By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Cameron Park Zoo is hosting their first “Wizarding World Scavenger Hunt”.

The zoo has teamed up with “GooseChase,” an application that allows participants to complete the scavenger hunt. Teams who have signed up will make their way through the zoo to complete Harry Potter-themed book and movie trivia.

Holley Day is the education coordinator at the Cameron Park Zoo. Day said that with the pandemic, her department was not able to host their annual outreach program. She said to offset this loss, the zoo has partnered with the application “GooseChase,” and hosted an array of themed scavenger hunts to both draw out a more diverse crowd to the zoo and still raise awareness and inform zoo-goers.

“This is our way to engage the community with something that is fun and educational because we’re still looking at animals, we still have to know some things around the zoo, too,” Day said.

Because of the zoo’s almost entirely outdoor nature, Day said that on a typical day the zoo almost never reaches the 25% capacity limit set in place. Because of the large premises as well, a reasonable amount of visitors can still attend.

Day said that the event is socially distanced because participants are using their personal devices to engage in the scavenger hunt, and that teams are asked to stay with those they register with.

Day said that GooseChase’s interactive nature has resulted in great success in terms of feedback and involvement from participants. The application works so that teams can take photos and videos to complete their tasks, and Day that it will work well with the Harry Potter theme.

“We have a couple of [questions] that are kind of color-based, so you’re going to need to know some colors through the Harry Potter trivia and associate that with a specific animal at the zoo,” Day said.

Day said that already, 50 to 60 teams have shown interest in participating, compared to their 25 teams at their last scavenger hunt.

Day said that the zoo is encouraging participants to come dressed up in their best Hogwarts-approved attire, wizard robes, wands and hats included. She said also that the zoo will be decked out with Harry Potter decorations, and that butterbeer, both non-alcoholic and “spirited” versions, will be served at stands throughout the zoo.

“We want it to be engaging and fun. We just know a lot of people are big Harry Potter fans, we have a lot of people here that work at the zoo that are big Harry Potter fans,” she said. “So it’s a great way to engage guests and staff on like a similar passion.”

Houston junior Kristy Hoffman, president of the Bears quidditch association, has been apart of the Baylor team for three years. While the team is currently unable to compete due to COVID-19 provisions, she said that she and her other team members are all looking forward to attending the Wizarding World Scavenger Hunt to still display their appreciation for Harry Potter.

“Not only is it going to be a fun way to compete in some Harry Potter-themed trivia, but it’s also a great opportunity for us to spend time with each other in an outdoor setting while practicing social distancing,” Hoffman said.

Sign ups will be completed on Saturday at the zoo. The cost is $10 per team to play, and $5 per team for zoo members. The funds collected from the scavenger hunt will go towards the Cameron Park Zoo’s education department and the new education building that is currently undergoing building preparation.

There will be three grand prizes awarded to teams scoring with the most points in the top three positions.

Participants in the Wizarding World Scavenger Hunt will still need to pay the admission fee to compete. To learn more about attending, visit Cameron Park Zoo’s Facebook page.