Hidden treasure awaits anyone with a GPS, a pen and paper and a sense of adventure.
The Fort Worth Library has established a Geocaching Family Day to introduce the pastime to the community and is inviting explorers of all ages.
Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunting adventure where players use GPS-enabled devices to navigate different coordinates to locate mysterious containers called geocaches.
Geocaches must remain aboveground and range in size, shape and difficulty of location.
Gilbert Hernandez Jr, library assistant II for Fort Worth’s Central Branch Library, said before the decision was made to get involved, he had never heard of geocaching.
“When we looked into it, we realized they were everywhere,” he said. “It was just this fun thing that kind of snowballed and has been really successful.”
Hernandez said the library has stashed seven geocaches throughout various locations in Fort Worth, including other libraries and the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge.
Participants are asked to enter coordinates of their choice into their phone or GPS tracking device, find the geocache and record their pursuit using a camera, logbook or online website. After the geocache is retrieved, rules require participants to put the geocache back where they found it and leave something of equal or greater value for the next adventurer, Hernandez said.
“It’s a take-something, leave-something game,” he said. “We put it out there, and they show up. The geocaching community is so active, and I really like that we are tapping into this community that already exists.”
Hernandez said his favorite geocache is an elusive prize that remains in plain sight.
“You can see it from outside, but the only way to get it is to go through the library,” he said.
Southwest Regional Branch supervisor Donna Kruse said the library’s recent Geocaching Family Day allowed people of all ages interested in geocaching to meet with advanced adventure seekers willing to share quest stories and photos.
“It was a great turnout,” she said. “It’s a perfect opportunity to help someone start a lifelong hobby.”
Kruse said by engaging the community with activities like geocaching, the library provides a fun and exciting craft that teaches people to embrace their curiosity and broaden their world.
“We are all about getting entertainment and education out of the classroom,” she said. “I believe it encourages reading, expands knowledge and gets people out into the community.”
Anyone wanting to begin a geocaching adventure can go to www.geocaching.com, register for a free membership and enter a ZIP code to receive coordinates for geocaches in the surrounding area.
Information about geocaching with the Fort Worth Library is available at http://fortworthtexas.gov/library.