“Where’s Rascal?”: Virtual scavenger hunt helps kids and families explore Rock Co

Children’s Museum of Rock County and Sterling North Society kick off two-month long fall scavenger hunt.
Published: Oct. 4, 2020 at 9:29 PM CDT
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ROCK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Two organizations in Rock County are teaming up this fall to get kids and families out of the house. They want to help people explore the county, while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 3, families all over Rock County are on a scavenger hunt for Rascal the raccoon, like Brent Hagen and his 4-year-old daughter Mae. Hagen, his wife and their daughter found the wooden cut-out of the raccoon Saturday morning.

“We combined the trip, we went to a pumpkin patch afterwards,” Hagen remembered.

Brent Hagen, wife Bekka and 4-year-old daughter Mae show off a successful scavenger hunt,...
Brent Hagen, wife Bekka and 4-year-old daughter Mae show off a successful scavenger hunt, snapping a selfie with Rascal the raccoon.(Bekka Hagen)

The real Rascal was a pet raccoon belonging to Sterling North, an author who lived in Rock County in the early 1900s. North wrote a book about his childhood and his raccoon.

“I knew about Rascal, I read the book growing up in school, so it was a nice opportunity to talk about how the boy befriended Rascal, and Mae really thought that was a neat thing," Hagen explained.

Betty Leonard, president of the Sterling North Society, said about North, “His animals were like family, and Rascal was his best friend."

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Sterling North Society to close its museum for the rest of the year, and the virus also forced the Children’s Museum of Rock County to cancel all its in-person events.

The Children’s Museum decided to partner with the Sterling North Society to create a fun fall activity that could still be done safely, and the “Where’s Rascal?" scavenger hunt was born.

“We want parents to be out and about, socially distancing, masking, and we want them to be able to do something with their kids and families,” explained Sarah Splinter, president of the Children’s Museum of Rock County.

Every week, Rascal will be moved to a different location in Rock County. The Children’s Museum will share clues to his new spot on Facebook.

“My kids like animals, and [my daughter] really got into reading the clues,” said Sarah Lenders. Lenders and her family also found Rascal on Saturday.

To participate in the scavenger hunt, people have to find Rascal then take a selfie and post it to the “Where’s Rascal?" event page with the hashtag #CMRCRascal.

“I’ve moved!” Rascal has arrived at selfie stop #1. Follow the clues, snap a selfie with Rascal, and post in the comments section of this post with #CMRCRascal to be entered for our first prize drawing.

Posted by Children's Museum of Rock County on Saturday, October 3, 2020

Everyone who posts their selfies will be entered into a prize giveaway each week.

The excitement started early Saturday morning, according to Leonard.

“There was a family with two little ones that were here waiting before it even arrived,” she remembered.

Claire Gray, vice president of the Children’s Museum of Rock County added, “We’ve seen at least 15 people but that was just on the first day.”

Families like Hagen’s and Lenders' said they are already looking forward to next week’s clues.

“We’re definitely going to make this part of an event next week, something [my daughter] can look forward to all week,” Hagen said.

The scavenger hunt will continue until Dec. 19. There will be a grand prize giveaway at the end - Janesville Jets gear delivered by one of the players themselves.

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