The old exhortation that there is nothing to do in Baytown is simply no longer true. There are interesting and fun alternatives for everyone and some of them require no set-up fees or additional expense to enjoy. On top of everything else, the four games I am going to describe will not only get you outside into the great outdoors, but enable you to interact with your friends and family including small children.
The four games are Pokémon Go, Ingress, Geocaching, and Baytown Rocks. The first three require a global positioning device or Smartphone and the fourth requires shoes of some kind, unless you like to walk around barefoot.
Pokémon Go and Ingress were originally developed for the gaming industry and now allow a person to play a form of virtual reality (using a free Ap) where they follow their missions outdoors and track whatever it is they are looking for with a Smartphone. Both games have great appeal to gamers, but not so much for the average person.
“Ingress is a location-based, augmented-reality, massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). The game has a science fiction back story with a continuous open narrative. Ingress is also considered to be a location-based exergame (video games that require physical activity to play), as is Pokémon Go. Mobile exergames for GPS (global positioning system)-enabled smartphones and mini-tablets take players outdoors, in the open air, unlike console exergames.”
In my experience, Ingress appeals more to hardcore gamers, whereas Pokémon Go is a simpler type MMOG with many more players. Both games have an international following and just might be what you are looking for in an outdoor game.
Geocaching is the mac daddy of hide and seek games and one that I regularly teach. It can take you to the most remote locations on earth and have the highest terrain and difficulty rating in comparison to the other 3 games. A short description of the complicated game is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.
Doing a simple search online will help anyone learn about these 3 games and it’s not my intention in this article to attempt to cover them in any real detail. You can however learn a great deal about geocaching here: http://ourbaytown.com/baytownbert/geocache.htm
On the 4th game, it is the new kid on the block and by far the easiest: Baytown Rocks. Baytown Rocks is a Facebook-based game where local families paint rocks and then “hide” them at businesses or parks and when you find one, you log it on their Facebook page located here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BaytownRocks/ Note, you will have to have a free Facebook account to post there.
“Baytown Rocks is a communal art project dedicated to spreading joy in our community. Simply decorate a rock however you want and "hide" it in a public space for others to find. Be sure to write "Keep or hide, but post to FB @BaytownRocks" on the back! Check the group to see if anyone found your rock, and don't forget to invite your friends to join us!”
The origin of the game only goes back a couple of years to April 2014 when an Oregon couple, grieving the loss of their 2 daughters started Love Rocks on Facebook. It has since spread like wildfire and Sunday Harper created the group to bring it to Baytown. Our iteration presently has almost 4000 people playing the game.
On a couple of my Blue Heron Trail litter abatement walks, I found two! I knew about this game when it launched and wrongly decided it was nothing more than fluff and a fad, but now I am seeing the light. Maybe I had rocks in my head, but guess what? Its fun! The first stone I found was painted like a minion and when I posted my find and selfie holding the colorful mineral, I learned that a 9 year old child painted it and they were very excited that I posted the photo.
The second rock was painted to advertise the Baytown Little Theater. I pretty much left both rocks for others to find so they can enjoy the game also. As a geocacher, used to looking for things that only a geocacher would find, this game is easy peasy in comparison, but the real motivation is the exercise I am getting and the joy the creators get when someone finds their custom rock.
I think these 4 games are wonderful and if people playing are careful when out and about, they can avoid injury. We’ve all heard stories about folks playing Pokémon Go getting ran over by a car or falling off a cliff while staring at their phone screen, but geocaching in remote areas is probably potentially more hazardous. Geocache containers may be in the top of a tree, in an alligator-infested bayou, or on the side of a mountain and like most things that are really fun, it has inherent dangers.
I urge you to get outdoors and try your hand at one of these 4 games. Who knows? You might just rock out!