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Presidio Kids: A Treasure Hunt along the Presidio Trails

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016 Category Kids and Family; Nature and Science

June is "Get Outdoors Month," and we have a fun new way to explore the outdoors through "geocaching" – an increasingly popular, real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devises. Your goal with geocaching is to find a hidden container, or a "geocache," in a particular location using its geographic coordinates. (For more information on how geocaching works, and how to play the game, check out Geocaching 101.)

There are more than 10,000 geocaches in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the baker's dozen right here in the Presidio. There are also several different kinds of Geocache Types in geocaching, and different types in the park. The Presidio was the first national park site to host "traditional" caches, which are the hidden box type of geocaches. We now have five traditional caches located in unique places within the park, ready to be discovered by visitors of all ages.

If you're on the treasure hunt for a traditional cache, you check your coordinates, and once you think you're in the right spot, you then have the fun challenge of finding a hidden container of varying sizes in that spot. In the Presidio, the five locations for the traditional caches are in places safe to our park resources and close to our trails. Once you find the geocache, sign the geocache record as proof of your discovery!​

The Presidio's Geocache Locations

All Presidio geocaches are located within a 20 minute walk in the Southern Wilds area of the park. To keep your treasure hunt simple, download the Presidio's geocache map, which highlights the locations of three Presidio geocaches in that area. Last month a new geocache was hidden at El Polín Spring, a natural and cultural treasure in its own right. 

To get a taste for geocaching, go to the boardwalk at El Polín Spring and find a sign about wild life through the seasons. Then start your search! Alternatively, visit the www.geocaching.com website and zoom into the Presidio section on the map to find the locations of the geocaches hidden around the park.

Share Your Discoveries

While a geocaching outing is destination-driven, the treasure hunt invites discoveries all along the way – and there's another kind of world-wide treasure hunt taking place, one that invites people of all ages to share their discoveries of the natural world. The free iNaturalist app, based at Cal Academy of Sciences, invites amateur (and professional) ecologists to take photos of plants or animals, and share their findings in a global community of biodiversity data. If you don't know what you're photographing, a scientist from the iNaturalist team will help with identification. This is a great way to engage with nature and help discover new species in the park!

More adventures in the Park

The Presidio is a 1,500 acre treasure trove of special places. For more fun adventures, download an Adventures in the Presidio map or pick one up at either the Presidio Officers' Club or the Presidio Visitor Center. Also, check out our Summer (Sand)bucket List for fun three-hour kid-focused itineraries in different part of the Presidio. ​