The Duke Kahanamoku Statue is a stop on the Waikiki Mini Q. // © 2018 Urban Adventure Quest
Feature image (above): Aloha Tower is the starting point of the Honolulu Mini Q. // © 2018 Getty Images
I’m a big fan of urban scavenger hunts. Using a smartphone, families work together to answer questions, solve puzzles and complete challenges along a quest route. Since my family has an age range of 8 to 76, urban scavenger hunts are an activity that every member can enjoy. Plus, it’s a great way to explore a new city, see the sights and learn a few fun facts along the way.
Family-owned Urban Adventure Quest offers 52 Quests and 10 Mini Quests (called “Mini Qs”) in 48 U.S. cities and Vancouver, British Columbia. In November, the company added two new Mini Qs in Honolulu and Waikiki. (The price for a team of two to five people is $30.)
“In Hawaii, there are so many fun things to do that we wanted our quests to be short, easy and a fun way to learn a little history and see parts of the city that you’d miss if you only sat on the beach all day,” said Christie Walker, co-owner of Urban Adventure Quest.
Honolulu Mini Q
The Honolulu Mini Q includes 12 challenges (plus three bonus challenges) and begins at the 91-year-old Aloha Tower, an iconic symbol of Honolulu. From there, families will see the statue of King Kamehameha — which, if they are lucky enough to visit on Kamehameha Day (June 11), will be draped in long strands of lei.
This quest also visits the Hawaii State Capitol building and Iolani Palace, the only official royal residence in the U.S. If families aren’t overly concerned about their quest time (teams compete virtually with other teams), Iolani Palace is definitely worth a longer visit.
The quest, which runs a distance of 1.2 miles and takes about 1.5 to two hours, ends at Bishop and King streets.
Waikiki Mini Q
Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world, but many visitors to Honolulu don’t know that the Waikiki district actually includes five other beaches as well: Queen’s Surf Beach, Kuhio Beach, Gray’s Beach, Fort DeRussy Beach Park and Duke Kahanamoku Beach.
This Mini Q includes 10 challenges (plus three bonus challenges) and begins at the well-known Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Kalakaua Avenue at Kuhio Beach. The 9-foot bronze statue of Kahanamoku and his surfboard, which is one of the most-photographed spots in Honolulu, pays tribute to the man known as “the father of modern surfing.”
Families looking for a sweet treat before their quest should stop at nearby Duke’s Waikiki restaurant for a slice of Hula Pie, a chocolate cookie crust topped with macadamia-nut ice cream, chocolate fudge, whipped cream and macadamia nuts.
This quest also includes a visit to International Market Place, including its more than 160-year-old banyan tree and the celestial pool, which was designed to illustrate how ancient Hawaiians navigated around the Pacific Ocean.
The quest, which covers a distance of 1 mile and takes about 1???½ to two hours, ends at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach.
5 Quest Tips
Employ this advice to make the most of a scavenger hunt with Urban Adventure Quest
- Bring paper and a pen. You will need to write things down to solve some puzzles.
- Involve everyone. Give easier tasks to younger kids so they can participate, too.
- Read carefully. The quest is not trying to trick you, but some questions have several parts.
- Take your time. The goal is to see the city, not just hurry through it.
- Have fun. After all, this is your vacation.