Quests are fun, place-based adventures that use clues and hints to encourage you to explore the natural, cultural and historical treasures of Oregon's central coast. Suitable for groups of all ages, Quests allow you to search at your own pace through parks and other public spaces throughout coastal Lincoln County.
The clues are found in the Oregon Coast Quests guidebooks, available at bookstores around the region (including our own HMSC Bookstore). At the end of each self-guided interpretive Quest, participants find a hidden Quest box containing a log-book to sign and a hand-carved stamp to mark their accomplishment. The true "treasure" is the fun of the walk and learning about special places in the community.
Quests are great fun and once you've gone questing, you may even want to help create a new Quest for the next edition of the guide book!
Tell the story of your special places by making a Quest. The next Quest-building workshop will be held on May 12, 2010 at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
WHERE DID QUESTING COME FROM?
Questing was born out of a popular, 150-year old British pastime called letterboxing, which has grown to include thousands of boxes hidden in locations of natural or cultural signficance. In Vermont in the early 1990's, an organization called Vital Communities came up with the award-winning Valley Quest program, which uses paper-and-pencil hunts to encourage people to follow outdoor clues and learn about their region. Our Oregon Coast Quests are among many across the country modeled on the Vermont program, and is the first and only such program in the Pacific Northwest.
Read on for details about Oregon Coast Quests - including some printable Quests you can try out on your next visit to the HMSC Visitor Center. Follow the links below!
Where are the Oregon Coast Quests?
There are directions to 23 Quests in the 2009/2010 Oregon Coast Quests Book:
- Crowley Creek Quest -- Created by Career Tech High School students, this Quest provides an opportunity to learn about the ecology and history of a variety of habitats near Knight Park and the scenic Salmon River estuary.
- Lincoln City Parks and Recreation Quests -- There are five Quests that have been created by Lincoln City Parks and Rec: Kirtsis Park, Friends of Wildwoods and Trails, Regatta Grounds, Spring Lake, and Cutler City Wetlands. Try them all!
- D River Invasive Species Quest -- Learn to recognize some of the non-native species that live in the Devils Lake area, their impacts and what you can do to curb the spread of invasive species.
- Head Start Quests -- Career Tech High School students created two Quests behind Lincoln City Head Start. The Head Start Fern Quest is for our littlest Questers, and the Head Start Forest Management Quest shows how the recent forest management practices have affected the woodland habitat.
- Taft Quest -- The Taft High School grounds are unique and special to students Taryn and Jordan. They created this 45-minute Quest so that others could discover nurse logs, wetlands, and more school treasures.
- Yaquina Head Quests - Three Quests at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area give visitors a comprehensive view of the history and management of this breathtaking park. Try the History Quest, the Tale of Two Hills Quest, or the Stewardship Quest - or all three!
- Big Creek Park Quests -- Learn more about the three creeks that call this city park home. The instructions for this adventure are provided in both English and Spanish.
- Water, Water Everywhere Quest -- Created by students at Newport Middle School, this vigorous Quest starts behind the Newport Pool and shows you where more water can be found.
- Newport City Buildings Quest - Students in the Newport Rec Center afterschool program take you on a tour of the grounds surrounding the Recreation Center, City Hall, Police Station and Senior Activity Center. Find out what they learned!
- City Center History Quest -- Discover the sometimes surprising history behind familiar buildings in Newport's city center.
- Toledo Arcadia Quest - Toledo students created this Quest on their former school grounds. Discover hidden art and learn how to make a fort in the woods.
- Hatfield Marine Science Center Quests-- The HMSC Yaquina Estuary Quests takes you on a spectacular 1 mile walk on the HMSC nature trail and learn about the characteristics of estuarine habitats. On the HMSC Sustainability Quest, you'll find out what 'sustainability' is and some ways in which HMSC is striving to acheive it.
- South Beach State Park Quest -- Explore changing habitats behind the sand dunes by following paved and sandy trails.
- Oregon Hatchery Research Center Quest -- The 8th-grade class at Crestview Heights School created this 40-minute Quest that takes place outdoors, but there's an indoor interpretive center you may want to also visit while you're there.
- Yachats Youth and Family Activities Program (YYFAP) Habitats of Diversity Quest -- This Quest features a choice of paths and the chance to not only witness what "Yachatians" love best, but to learn what a "Yachatian" is!
Updates and corrections
View an interactive map of current Quest sites
An Entry from the South Beach State Park Quest log book:
"Sept. 2, 2009
We played the quest and found the box! This is our fourth quest during our vacation from Bend. My children, husband and I have enjoyed these quests very much. Our 6 year old son asks every morning 'Can we do another quest today?' Thank you for creating and maintaining the quests! We love it.
The Johnson Family from Bend, OR"
Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center Pattern Quest (student version)
Pattern Quest - HMSC Visitor Center - Established: Oregon Coast Quests, January 2009
Box Monitor: Oregon Sea Grant
This indoor clue-directed hunt is located in the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center, and will take about 30 minutes to complete.
Can you find all the PATTERNS?
Follow the directions and collect the letter clues to fill the numbered spaces below. At the end of your journey, the words will lead you to the hidden Quest Box. When you find the box, please sign the guest book and let us know what you thought of this Quest. Stamp your page as proof of your accomplishment, and then put the box back in its hiding place for the next person to find. Please keep the location of the clues and box a secret so everyone can join in the fun!
WHAT IS A PATTERN?
A pattern is something that repeats. If you understand a pattern, you can make good guess about what will happen next.
Example: What is the missing number in the pattern?
2 4 6 8 ___ 12 14 16
We use patterns all the time. Scientists use patterns, too. This Quest will help us find out more about patterns. Let's go!
PATTERNS IN SKELETONS
Two animals skeletons hang near the bookstore. The bones are arranged in a pattern. How are the skeletons different from each other? How are they the same? Does YOUR skeleton follow the same pattern?
Why is the whale skeleton so small (for a whale)? Read the sign and find out. What is the third letter of the last word on the sign? Write that letter in space number one.
PATTERNS IN THE TOUCH TANKS
Go to the tidepool touch tanks. See the splashes of pink covering the rocks? These are coralline algae, which are plant-like organisms that use the sun to make their own food. Where do the algae grow? Can you explain the pattern of where they grow?
Answer the question below and put the letter of the answer in clue space two.
A) are pink in color
B) are not a type of coral (animal) but are actually red algae (plant-like)
C) live in salt water habitats
D) all of the above
PATTERNS IN SHORELINE GEOLOGY
From the touch tanks, walk left and see the rocks along the wall. The rocks are arranged in a pattern of layers. The bottom layer is darker and called Nye Mudstone. The top layer is lighter and called the Astoria Formation. Can you find three fossils in the Astoria Formation? Clue number three is under a sign near the scallop shell fossil.
PATTERNS LEAD TO A HYPOTHESIS (and a clue!)
Follow the wall to the emergency exit doors and then stop. Look back at the floor. Do you see any patterns on the floor?
Question: How does salt water get to and from the touch tanks and the other wet exhibits? Use the floor patterns you see to make a hypothesis. Test your hypothesis by going to the wall where you think the pipes lead in and out of the building. If you are correct, you will find clue number four hiding on the wall.
Follow the wall into the "Planet Research" exhibit hall. The first exhibit looks at research that happens on a Global Scale (from really far away).
Sit on the bench by the wall and watch the fish. Do you see any patterns in the way they look or move?
Question: What do you think the fish will do if you stand up and gently walk closer to the tank? Make a prediction then test it and see what happens. Were you right? Repeat your experiment and see if the pattern of your results is the same.
The words on the lower left side of the tank give the name of one of the most common schooling fish off the Oregon coast. The first letter of the fish's name is clue number five.
BIRD'S EYE SCALE
Follow the wall to the next tank. This exhibit is about research that happens in the local region. Sit on the bench by the wall and watch the rockfish in the kelp forest. How are their patterns different from the first fish tank?
Before you leave this tank, pull out the top drawer on the right and look for clue number six written on its side.
EYE LEVEL SCALE
When you are ready, go to the next big tank that holds wolf eels. This exhibit is about research that happens right in front of you. Scientists can gather data by studying animals at eye level. They use observations to come up with good questions to investigate.
Inquiry at Eye Level
Try this: Put your face right up to the glass and look at one of the animals in the tank for a full two minutes (have someone time you). Describe three things you NOTICE about the animal. What questions do you have about this animal; something you don't already know but that you WONDER about?
MICRO LEVEL SCALE
The last set of tanks show research that happens at the smallest level of scale. What scientific instrument could you use to look at things that are very, very small? The first letter of the instrument is clue number seven.
As you keep walking, you will see you are back at the front of the Visitors Center. Check out the octopus. Look on the tank and find the words "Patterns can also show ____". Put the first letter of the missing word in the number eight spaces.
FIND THE BOX
Now you have found all the clues. Use the words you spelled to find the hidden Quest Box. It's not far away... good luck!
How can you take part in Oregon Coast Quests?
There are many ways to become involved with Quests.
Go on a Quest - Obtain the book of directions or download a sample Quest and head outside to explore.
Make a Quest - Attend a Quest-building Workshop to find out how you can help youth and adults connect with community through the making of Quests.
Volunteer - We are always looking for people who can help monitor Quest boxes and clues. Consider adopting a Quest near you.