It has only been two weeks since Nintendo launched Pokémon Go, yet it has taken the world by storm. With releases in countries all around the world making headlines, many are stepping outside the comfort of their homes and exploring neighborhoods, national parks, cities, theme parks, and zoos. Some of these locations are using this to their advantage by encouraging people to enjoy their surroundings while playing the game.
For those that haven’t come across the game or heard about it, Pokémon Go is a GPS geocaching game that allows its players to choose a character that personifies them. As you explore, this avatar moves along with you and uncovers Pokémon in nearby areas. When Pokémon appear, the user clicks on these mystical creatures and try to capture them in a Poké ball. Additionally, there are locations that serve as Poké stops, where the user can collect additional Poké balls and other items. Users can even battle in cyber Poké gyms found at various locations once they reach level 5. Each time a user levels up, they receive additional Poké balls and other beneficial items.
Many locations are joining the fun with the hope that people will be encouraged to take a look around while paying the game. There are Pokémon Go hunts all across the country, from theme parks to historical locations. Even the the US National Parks Service hopes to draw users into the parks to experience nature while chasing down elusive Pokémon.
Zoos are also jumping on the bandwagon by offering events and special times to collect Pokémon. With the aim of increasing attendance, these events not only encourage guests to play the game, but to also connect and learn about the animals at the zoo. For example, SeaWorld Orlando launched an officially organized Pokémon Go event this past weekend, which was included with park admission. Virtual lures, which attract Pokémon to your location and make them easier to catch, were launched from 11am until 2pm and additional charging stations for tablets and phones were provided. Other zoological parks are using similar events, some with discounts on admission, to get guests through the gates in order to educate them on the animals and conservation going on at the zoo. Here are just some examples of how zoos are incorporating the game into events to increase attendance:
- Pokémon Mornings at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
- BOGO Pokémon Go meet-up at Zoo Miami
- Pokémon events at various aquariums
- Pokémon day at the Sacramento Zoo
- Lure dropping events at the Naples Zoo
- Pokémon Go events at the Central Florida Zoo, Detroit Zoo, Houston Zoo, and Dallas Zoo
- Pokémon gatherings at the Louisville Zoo
While events like these are great ways to attract visitors, the ultimate goal of these events is to inspire individuals to take an interest in their natural world and learn what they can do to help. It is important to be safe while playing Pokémon Go. That includes everything from staying on a hiking trail or path, to not entering enclosures and behind-the-scenes areas. Don’t forget to look around in between Poké stops, Poké gyms, and catching Pokémon. There is a lot to experience in the world and, if you can connect with nature and the animals in it, you may be inspired to make a difference. Let us know of any Pokémon Go events that your local zoo is planning, or about any of these events that you attend. Feel free to email us or tag us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #PokemonGoZooNation. We know you “gotta catch them all” so good luck and be sure to also appreciate your surroundings and the animals you encounter as you capture those elusive Pokémon.