Houston's Where's Waldo? Scavenger Hunt: Let's Track This Guy Down, Once and for All

He's always hiding in plain sight, but in spite of his distinctive red-and-white striped shirt and thick-rimmed hipster glasses, he's always tough to find. We're talking about famous children's book character--and master of disguise--Waldo, of Where's Waldo? fame. During the month of July, Brazos Bookstore and fourteen other local businesses are participating in a Where's Waldo? scavenger hunt designed to entertain the kids and provide a fun way for your family to support local businesses and the Shop Local movement.

(People of all ages are encouraged to participate, but if you are a grown up and you feel silly going solo, borrow some kids from a friend for an afternoon or two.)

So, how does the Where's Waldo? scavenger hunt work? It's pretty simple. First, it lasts for the entire month of July so you've got some time to complete the challenge; you can complete it in one day, or over the course of the entire month. The hunt is completely free of charge--to participate, simply pick up or print a "Find Waldo Local in Houston" passport, and start looking! Visit the fifteen locations listed on the passport to receive a stamp or signature; the first 100 Waldo seekers to get their passports stamped/signed can bring their passports back to Brazos to collect a prize. Overachievers who collect all of the store stamps and signatures will be entered to win a grand prize drawing, which will take place at Brazos Bookstore on July 31, at the Where's Waldo? party at 2 p.m.

"This is a fun way to engage our customers in a traditionally slow retail month," explained Mary Allen at Brazos Bookstore. "Stores all over the country are participating in the Where's Waldo? scavenger hunt. All of the businesses we approached were enthusiastic about participating. We are really excited about working with these other businesses, and we think this event has the potential to grow and be really big--we're hoping to have 25 participating businesses next year."

If the idea of collecting 10-15 stamps and signatures seems intimidating, Allen recommends breaking the hunt down into three sections. Start out on Bissonnet by picking up your passport at Brazos Bookstore, and then head over to their neighbor, Buffalo Exchange; work your way down the street to Impromptu, Murder by the Book, and then Picnic Box Lunches. On Day Two, focus your energies in Rice Village by starting at Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop, and then move on to Purple Glaze Paint Your Own Pottery, FUNdamentally Toys, Purple Mango, Un Deux Trois, and Right Start. Don't forget to dart over to the Monster PBJ Food Truck for some sustenance. Finally, on Day Three, focus on finding Waldo in Montrose--Southside Espresso, to Texas Art Supply, to Eatsie Boys. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump back to Brazos Bookstore where you can present your passport and claim the prizes for which you worked so hard!

Keep an eye on Brazos Bookstore's Facebook and Twitter today, because they will be posting photos and Vine video of the Day One kickoff---and we hear that Waldo himself will be making appearances along the scavenger hunt trail.

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Christina Uticone