The Buzz

PokemonGo, as played by a middle-aged marketing director

A couple of weeks ago, my 24-year-old son stopped by my desk to show me this new "PokemonGo thing" that he said was going crazy in the Garden. I needed to know, he said, because the Garden was a mecca of "Pokestops," with 4 "gyms," Ratattas, Pidgeys, and Magikarps galore. Flashing him a dramatic eyeroll, which he has also perfected under my tutelage, I took a look at his screen, googled PokemonGo, and got the okay to offer discounted weekend admission to anyone who showed the app. I will NOT, I asserted, download the app...I can do this without playing the game.

...45 minutes later, I was texting same son, getting instructions on how to capture my first Charmander, so that I would have a screen shot to share on our @memphisbotanicgarden Facebook page.

"No, mom, don't post that. It has the training line in it."

I kept walking.

Just look at the fear in his eyes!

"Mom, you have to turn on the AR."

Success!! Minutes later, I posted my half-dead-looking fish flopping around in front of My Big Backyard to our social media pages.

2 weeks later, I may or may not have leveled up 18 times, and I cannot confirm nor deny that I am on Team Mystic. (That's the blue one, right?) I can confirm that Memphis Botanic Garden offers 2 discount days each week, through the summer, to be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages on Mondays. This week's days are Wednesday/Thursday, July 27 & 28. Show your PokemonGo app at the front desk for $6 admission.

I have responded to social media messages on what causes Pokemon to get away once they've been caught. I've taken more than one lunchtime walk around the grounds (yet haven't lost any weight...yay middle age)

...but look at that waist! I haven't looked this good since my 20s!)

And this phenomenon of folks wandering around the Garden with their heads down, phones in hand, has become a topic of discussion at Senior Staff Meetings. We have a whole new group of visitors enjoying our beautiful 96-acre Garden, and we hope they'll fall in love with the place as much as we have!

There are a few things we need to say about hunting/training at the Garden.

1. We welcome you whole-heartedly. Please visit frequently. Buy a membership, if you want to play here often. $75 gives you free admission for a year, plus discounts on special events, talks, environmental programs, plant sales, lunch in Fratelli's Cafe...pretty much everything we offer. Discount days are great, but for $6.25 a month, you get all that. Plus, it helps us keep the Garden growing.

2. Trainers and players, use your best Poketiquette when visiting the Garden and other parks and places of business. The Pokemon on our grounds are perfectly catchable from the pathways...don't step into the beds or other pretty plantings to go after Pikachu. Also, PLEASE keep your heads up in the parking lot as you enter the Garden. We have lots of summer visitors, as well as private events, and the guests don't want to have to worry about a player walking out in front of their cars. (Yes, it has happened. Luckily, it was a near miss.)

3. Our staff don't necessarily play, and we don't have any inside lines on the game. So, when you see those gardeners sweating away to keep the grounds beautiful, feel free to offer them a nice cool bottle of water, but don't ask them to show you where the 4 gyms are located. We do have maps at the front desk (sans Poke-landmarks) and you can download our Memphis Botanic Garden app for free, if your battery can hang with multiple apps.

4. Just one more thing, regarding etiquette: The Garden closes promptly at 6pm. That means the parking lot gates will swing shut very shortly thereafter, and your ride will be in the lot until the next morning. Our security staff are very patient, but making rounds through the 96 acres when they are trying to lock up does NOT endear them to our Pokefriends. Don't be a POKEY hunter...please keep a watch on the time and head back to the building in plenty of time to be out by 6pm. (Note: We shift to 4:30 closing time with the fall/winter time change)

5. Now, here's a free hint: Some of our Pokestops are mis-labeled (shocker, right?) but if you follow the walkways, you'll know when you're in range. When you need a cool-down break, you can hit 2 stops in the building. One (Business Man) between the east doors and the main Visitors Center Gallery, the other at the Water Garden (west end of the building.) Vending machines and restrooms are here, and you can often find the little creatures roaming there, as you take a potty break...again, not that I would know, but...

Come on out, and happy hunting!

Jana Wilson
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Memphis Botanic Garden
(and middle-aged mom)

Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at 11:10 AM


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We are located at:
750 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN 38117
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