downtown calgary geocache mapNow that the weather is turning for the better, it’s time to get out and explore Calgary. One of the best ways to do that is by geocaching.

Geocaching is a game of hide and seek that combines GPS coordinates with real-life treasures that kids (and kids at heart) can find.

Start by visiting geocaching.com and typing in your home address. Instantly little flags will pop up showing you where geocaches are. There are more than 1.7 million around the world, and hundreds in Calgary, so finding one near you won’t be tough.

Once you know where the caches are, getting to them is the next step. You can get the geocaching app for your smartphone [$9.99 iTunes].

Just open the app when you want to find a cache and it will use your location information to show you all the caches around you. You can then zoom in to navigate directly to the cache. Some of them are small, and cleverly hidden, so you might need the hints and description found with each cache.

2010-08-21 geocache Patterson hillYou can also use GPS devices, the kind you might use to navigate the backcountry with. If you don’t have one, you can borrow GPS devices from any City of Calgary library. They have 34 of the units spread across the 17 libraries and anyone with a library card can borrow one for a week for free.

The City of Calgary has gone into the geocaching game the past year or so. They celebrated the Parks and Recreation’s 100th Anniversary by hiding 100 caches around the city with coupons for community facilities.

This year, they’re back at it with a fun intro to geocaching event this afternoon at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. On May 26-27, there’s a huge event to start the season called Calgary Cache and Release.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll start hiding your own caches. They can be as clever or as obvious as you like. My son and I have hid some in and around our favourite neighborhood playgrounds. It’s our way to introduce people to our area. It’s also a great way to explore the city, and find the secrets of parks, pathways, and more.

If you missed the segment, here it is:

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