Cache in on this kid-friendly activity starting May 5.

Families who want to spend more time visiting Central Ohio’s Metro Parks may want to check out the 2018 GeoTrail. It’s a kid-friendly way to explore different venues and try geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunt that involves using a handheld GPS device and online clues to find hidden containers called caches.

Anyone with a GPS device can participate in the activity through geocaching.com, a website that lists the coordinates of caches and hints to help searchers find them. The hints are necessary because the accuracy of GPS devices ranges from about 6 to 20 feet. Once users arrive at the right location, they need to search for the containers, which are often camouflaged and hidden in bushes, trees or other out-of-sight spots. Caches usually contain a logbook for finders to sign and date and trinkets for them to take. Anyone who removes something from a geocache is expected to leave something of equal or greater value.

Metro Parks has offered a GeoTrail since 2013. Caches that are part of the 2018 trail will include facts related to waterways and some “swag,” said Jill Snyder, Metro Parks’ assistant manager of interpretation and education. Nineteen caches will be hidden throughout the park system, she said. Finding them will involve hikes of various length and difficulty.

The first 100 teams to find and log 15 of the GeoTrail caches are eligible to receive a special edition Metro Parks Geocoin. Anyone who finds all 19 caches can solve a puzzle and unlock the coordinates for a “bonus cache.” Coins will be awarded at a GeoTrail celebration in October. 

The park system will announce the coordinates for this year’s trail at 10 a.m. May 5 at the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center, 1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway. They will be posted online May 6 at metroparks.net/programs-and-activities/geocaching-metro-parks.