What is Gnomes Away From Home?

Gnomes Away From Home is a treasure hunt. Twenty gnomes will be hidden around Gig Harbor, four at a time. When you find a gnome, congratulations! You just won a $20 gift certificate to a local business. 

How to Play

1. Go to the home page. Click on the gnome you want to search for.

2. Read the clues and look at the map. The clues are hints about where the gnomes are hiding.

3. Go to where you think the gnome might be hiding and look around for the gnome.

4. If you find a gnome, hurray! Scan the QR code OR type in the web address to the website. Please take the gnome home with you.

5. Fill out the contact form with your name, mailing address, THE NAME OF THE GNOME (found on its bottom) and the story of how you found it. You will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of many prizes.



Helpful Tips

Each gnome is 4 inches high and 2 inches wide and has their name written on their bottom along with a tag that says Gnomes Away From Home.


When you find a gnome, contact the website with your name, address and THE NAME OF THE GNOME YOU FOUND. You must state the name of the gnome you found in order to claim your prize, since that's the only way we know you didn't find it somewhere else.


Once you have shared the name of the gnome you found along with your name and mailing address, you will be sent a $20 gift certificate to an area business (woo hoo!) and a personalized letter of thanks from the gnome you found.

1. In order to give as many people as possible a chance to play the game, each prize winner is only eligible to win one time. This is so everyone has a chance to win.

2. While gnomes may be hidden from view, no tools, digging or implements will be needed to find the gnomes.

3. All city, state, county and federal laws must be obeyed while playing the game. All park rules must be followed.

4. Do not trespass, climb fences, get lost in the woods, or put yourself or others in danger please and thank you. 


All gnomes will be hidden on public property. They will not require climbing, digging with tools or trespassing to access. Gnomes will be hidden no further than three feet from any marked path, structure or parking area.

5. Please have fun, whether you find a gnome or not. (The gnomes told me to tell you that).

Helpful hint: take lots of silly selfies of yourself and the gnome (try saying that ten times really fast).


Frequently Asked Questions

1. I'm too old to play!

That's not a question, and also not true, unless you're 827, and most of the gnomes participating are older than that. Gnomes Away From Home is for EVERYONE.

2. I found a gnome! Who do I contact to claim my prize?

Me! The Gnomebassador. Use the form on the Contact page. To send your prize I will need your name, mailing address AND the name of the gnome you found. I will not share your contact info with anyone.

3. What are the geographic borders or the hunt? 

Roughly speaking, the greater Gig Harbor area. Sunrise Park to the East, Kopachuck State Park to the West, Tacoma Narrows Park to the south and 360 Park to the North. That doesn't mean you will necessarily find gnomes in each of these places, just that these form the borders of the treasure hunt area.

4. Will the gnomes all be placed in different parks?

Every gnome will have a different hiding place, but that doesn't mean a gnome might not show up in the same park or general area twice. The best way to find each gnome is to follow the clues. Also, while some may be found in parks, some may be found in other places, too.

5. I followed the clue and I can't find the gnome. Arrrrrg!

Sorry about that, but it wouldn't be much fun if the first clue led you right to the gnome. The clues will get you to the general area, after which you will have to do some searching. If the gnome is not found after a clue is published, then one week later more clues will follow, so it pays to watch the website carefully as it is continuously updated.


6. Why are only four gnomes hidden at a time? Why are they numbered?


Each gnome is numbered to help you and I keep track of them and the clues that match up with the gnome. Four gnomes at a time are hidden because if all twenty were hidden at the same time, it would be too chaotic to keep track of. Most importantly, this keeps the fun going longer for everybody. 

7. How long will Gnomes Away From Home go on for?

Until all the gnomes are found, or until December 2nd, 2021, whichever comes first.

8. Are all the gnomes going to be in______?

The gnomes will be in many different places. The goal is to encourage people to experience new things, so you might find some in lesser-known parks. You might also find some in very popular, busy areas. You will NOT find gnomes on private property, behind locked gates or doors or in places that require climbing.

9. Will the gnomes be hidden in areas accessible to people with physical disabilities?

Yes. Some, but not all will be. Efforts will be made to make the hunt as accessible to everyone as possible.



10. Who paid for the prizes?

Gnomes Away From Home is proudly sponsored and funded by the City of Gig Harbor Creative Endeavor Grant, which is approved and administered through the Arts Commission. Hops & Drops and Marketplace Grille generously donated gift cards as well.



11. How do I get more information and updates?

Sign up for our newsletter and follow our blog: Chronicles of Gnomes Away From Home to get updates, additional clues, silly stories, legends and lore, giveaways, and other fun stuff.



12. Why are you doing this?

The purpose of Gnomes Away From Home is to encourage people to get out and have fun while still encouraging social distancing, and also supporting locally owned businesses. Going on a treasure hunt gives us a renewed sense of mission and adventure, and helps us see our homes and environments in new and extraordinary ways. Having something to look for and look forward to is good for the mind, body and senses.

Long may you hunt!

Who is the Gnomebassador?

I was born in the Midwest and spent most of my adult life in St. Paul, Minnesota where there has been a medallion treasure hunt every January since 1952 as part of the Winter Carnival tradition. The Carnival is more than just a treasure hunt. It includes ceremonies and its own legends, mythology and folklore, culminating in the construction of an ice castle.


One year I joined the other medallion seekers in the frigid sub-zero cold, followed the clues published in the Pioneer Press newspaper,  and came within 50 feet of finding the medallion and claiming the $5,000 prize. I always lamented the fact that the hunt couldn’t go on longer and the fact that there weren’t more chances to win. Even though I didn't win, I still made memories that I cherish decades later.


As a mental health occupational therapist I understand people crave meaningful activity. My past experience inspired Gnomes Away From Home to help promote community wellness in Gig Harbor by encouraging participation in a fun and meaningful adventure. It is my hope that your search for the missing gnomes will be as memorable for you as the Winter Carnival medallion hunt was for me.