Katie and Gregg Dufort created Puzzle Rides, a mobile escape room-style scavenger hunt, in the middle of the pandemic. When their Old Town golf cart taxi service got shut down in 2020 because of coronavirus, the couple pivoted to bring one-of-a-kind experiences to the city. Puzzle Rides is an adventure game where players are taken on a scavenger hunt via golf cart and must use teamwork to solve a series of puzzles before time runs out. Like an escape room, players only have a limited amount of time to reach their final destination.
The adventures are much more than a game. Katie’s background led her to include historical facts about Scottsdale in the clues, so locals and tourists learn something new about the city. But the couple took things one step further. As a mom-and-pop operation themselves, they felt first-hand the economic blow of the pandemic and the nonexistent tourism season in 2020. Knowing their fellow local business owners were suffering as well, the Duforts decided to include more than 20 locally owned shops on their Puzzle Rides routes to bring new people and potential customers through their doors.
From family-friendly adventures to adults-only rides, participants in Scottsdale find themselves searching for hidden clues at The Spice & Tea Exchange, Giligan’s, The Rusty Spur, The Museum of the West, Rack Pool Hall, Taj Mahal, Zoolicans, Philadelphia Sandwich Company, Boondocks, Bevvy, Kelly’s at Southbridge, RockBar, Wasted Grain, Scapegoat Beer & Wine, BS West, Craft 64, Coach House, Goldwater Brewing, Porter’s Western Saloon and Pattie’s.
The partnerships have proven to be wildly successful and continue to evolve. When Puzzle Rides launched in July of 2020, only four signature mobile escape room-style scavenger hunts were available. Today, Puzzle Rides offers more than 13 rides and new adventures are being added at every turn in Old Town Scottsdale and Historic Downtown Prescott.
Photo courtesy of Puzzle Rides