Cool Dad Alert!
When this cool dad started HoCo Pirate Treasure Hunts this summer, it quickly became a must-do family activity. Chris Fuchs creates them with his kids at local parks. We reached out and got all the details. Here’s everything you need to know to get outdoors and enjoy it with your family.
What are these Pirate Treasure Hunts & how do they work?
The HoCo Pirate Treasure Hunts are monthly adventures set up by me (Second Mate Daddy), my daughter (Captain Evie – 7), and my son (First Mate Sawyer – 3.5). We send out a message from Captain Evie to our Facebook group that includes a map and instructions for how to find five hidden clues that are used to open a treasure chest! The hunts take place on the trails and parks of Howard County, giving people the opportunity to explore new parts of the area and find hidden gems right in their backyard (sometimes literally!). It’s also a way to get kids off screens and out into nature, teach them skills like map reading, puzzle solving, critical thinking, and give families a fun way to spend time together.
How can families participate?
Join HoCo Pirate Treasure Hunts Facebook Group This is where we announce upcoming hunts and have pirate-y parent chats. The hunts happen roughly between the first two weekends of each month, Friday through the next Sunday. We will not have hunts in January, February, or March – too cold for the ship to sail these months!
What made you start this? How did it come about?
It started when my daughter was about 3 years old and my wife was pregnant with our son. It was communicated to me that I needed to get my daughter out of the house immediately, so we went for a walk. To keep her attention during our 10 min walk to the playground, I started talking like a pirate and calling her Captain Evie.
At the playground, the play structure immediately became a pirate ship in her imagination! I buried some quarters in the sandbox for her to dig up as treasure, and she made up another pirate friend. As it took on a life of its own, I just ran with it.
A week later, Captain Evie woke up to a treasure map and message in a bottle on her dresser! She loved the entire adventure and tresasure missions quickly became a regular thing for our family.
How has the community responded since starting this summer?
When COVID hit, some neighbors asked if I could set up a pirate hunt for the neighborhood, which I did. They shared it with friends, who shared it with other friends – and it spread like wildfire! The response has been amazing and humbling – we really couldn’t ask for a better crew. They’re the ones that make this all happen.
In July I created the Facebook group and it’s grown to almost 900 members in 3 months. People share pictures and videos of their kids on the hunt, letting us know how much fun they’ve had and thanking Captain Evie.
The Facebook group is full of joyful comments, which means so much right now. Friends plan out day-trips to go on the hunt with each other on the page, which I love seeing. It’s given people a way to get outside in a safe way to have fun with their kids and friends.
How is this funded & how can families support the hunts?
This is 100% community funded. I started out spending a couple of hundred dollars worth of supplies myself when it started taking off (mostly on treasure), but people have really stepped up by donating cash and sending items from our Amazon wishlist.
For those that would like to help keep the treasure chest full, we take donations the following ways:
- CashApp: $cfuchs13
- PayPal: jchristopherfuchs[at]gmail[dot]com
- Amazon Wishlist
What’s planned for the future?
We’ll be having monthly hunts through December, then will return in April. My plan is to keep this going as long as people enjoy it and continue to help make it a reality.
Okay Dads, go try it and let us know how it went
Let us know what you think of this family activity. If you have a great time, be sure to show Chris and his family the appreciation by sharing your experience on their Facebook Group. #CoolDadsUnite
We decided to highlight HoCo Pirate Treasure Hunts because it embodies so many of the values we strive to share with you all.