Travel games: Scavenger hunts by cell phone are all the rage

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Seth Priebatsch, the 21-year old founder of Scvngr, tries to get reception on Mt. Washington (Courtesy Seth Priebatsch)

It had to happen. Real-world scavenger hunts are now possible by apps. Credit belongs to SCVNGR, a Google-funded app that has been downloaded a half-million times since it was launched a mere 6 months ago.

Players can access Scvngr by text message on any cell phone or by downloading the app on an iPhone or an Android. Check-in, snap pics, and do challenges at major attractions. Find games at major attractions in more than 20 countries.

For example, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C is doing a trek on SCVNGR in the month of December in conjunction with their free ZooLights event.*

When you visit the zoo, open up the Scvngr app, and you'll see a list of challenges relevant to the zoo. Snap a photo for a few points. Solve a riddle about one of the animals for a higher score.

I've been playing Scvngr, and think it's lots of fun. A word of warning, though: When you're traveling abroad, you have to be very careful about data charges when roaming on a foreign cell phone network.

Have you tried Scvngr? If so, let us know what you think.

*This post was updated with a fresh example of Zoo game on Friday.

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