Join a high-tech treasure hunt in Oxfordshire’s Arboretum

23 July 2013

Visitors to Harcourt Arboretum this summer will be able to take part in a high-tech treasure hunt by using GPS to find hidden boxes of puzzles around the beautiful 130 acre site.

Now in its fifth year, Quest, devised by the Institute of Physics (IOP), will be available from 24 July until 1 September at the University of Oxford’s Harcourt Arboretum in Nuneham Courtenay, just outside Oxford.

Visitors to the Arboretum will use GPS units to guide them to hidden boxes, known as geocaches, containing fun, hands-on activities relating to trees and physics, which visitors can try out before tracking down the next geocache.

There will be two separate trails available for visitors to choose from: Express Quest, aimed at families with children aged 6 -11, and Puzzle Quest, aimed at older children and adults.

Express Quest activities involve decoding a secret message using coloured filters and making a paper helicopter. Puzzle Quest includes chatting over a tin can telephone and finding out how astronauts grow plants in space.

Quest will provide Arboretum visitors with a unique way to explore this beautiful site, with its range of trees, woods and meadows. GPS units will be available to borrow free of charge in exchange for a refundable deposit, although there is an entrance fee for the Arboretum.

Henry Lau, Outreach Officer at the IOP, said:

“Geocaching has become a really popular activity in recent years. Quest offers a great opportunity for people to find out more about both trees and physics in a really beautiful setting at what is shaping up to be a pleasant time of year.” 

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