If you had the chance to get out this weekend did you notice anything…different? With the new Pokemon GO app there are thousands of Champaign County residents getting out and exploring the area, getting their Fitbit steps in, all in an attempt to Catch ‘em All.
Visit Champaign County has always been enthralled by digital geocaching, but this new platform has completely changed the game. Visit Champaign County’s Visitor Services Manager, Cody Dees, was out for an evening stroll through Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve when he noticed the large amounts of young people walking around. "There was already a large amount of people at the forest preserve for their Summer Garden Concert, but the amount of young people out and about was almost uncanny and quite frankly, a delight to see”.
Some residents will argue that this new platform is another way for people to get sucked into another digital layer. Can we truly be disappointed in an app that has gotten millions of people outdoors, ultimately enhancing their quality of life? You could argue that these individuals aren’t in fact embracing the surroundings in which they are finding Squirtles and Charmanders, but we will kindly disagree.
This is the world we live in today. Even though the focus might be on the game itself, these leisure travelers are gaining an experience even if they aren’t completely aware of it. With that being said, we encourage those playing the game to offer themselves a healthy balance of the app and the outdoor wonders they are escaping to. Life’s happiness is ultimately subject to our capacity to balance the things that bring us joy. After you catch that Snorlax outside of Prairie Fruits Farm, or anxiously come up on Porygon out at Allerton Park and Retreat Center, take a moment to explore the pretty cool area many of you call home!
While you’re out, take some pictures or screenshots and be sure to tag @visitchampaign or use the hashtag #visitchampaign to share with all the pokemasters out there where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. Looking for new places to find more Pokemon? Check out our website! You can probably anticipate finding some pretty cool ones at many of our attractions! Oh and one more thing…the first person to visit our Welcome Center and show us they’ve caught all 250 Pokemon, will receive a prize!