I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (2024)

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The safari began at the southeast corner of Central Park by Grand Army Plaza on a pleasant (but very hot) Sunday afternoon. The corner was a fitting place to start because it's one of the best spots to catch Pokémon in the entire city. There are several closely positioned Pokéstops with lures going constantly. Rare Pokémon, like Vaporeon, have been known to spawn there. Our guide and "Pokémon GO" expert, Adam Wennick, had posted on Reddit that he was hosting a free safari a few days earlier. The tour was fully booked in a matter of minutes. People started congregating about 30 minutes before the safari was scheduled to start. Only 60 spots were available on the tour, but some people who hadn't registered said they planned to tag along anyway. Most of the group wore name tags written in their team color (red for Valor, blue for Mystic, and yellow for Instinct). The game's servers were down, which had people nervous that we weren't going to be able to catch any Pokémon that day. After standing around for about 40 minutes, we realized that the game's servers might not come back online soon. We weren't going to let the game's severs stop us from exploring. So off we went! We left the hotspot of Pokétops at the corner of 59th street and Central Park to venture into the park and (hopefully) catch them all. Since the game's servers had been down for nearly an hour at this point, people in the group were concerned we wouldn't be able to catch Pokémon during the tour. Luckily, Adam had memorized all of the hot areas for catching specific types of Pokémon. I noticed some people in the group taking notes as we walked. A company called Bolt handed out free battery packs before the tour started, so pretty much everyone had them plugged in to keep their phones juiced up for the day. Most of us were frantically refreshing our phones as we followed Adam past the Central Park Zoo. Adam kept his cool, but I couldn't stop thinking about the Pokémon I was missing out on. With the game down, I decided to look around and take in the nature around us as we walked. Most people in the group kept trying to load the app. As we ventured deeper into the park, I noticed that several people had already abandoned the tour. The servers still weren't up. A feeling of uneasiness began to sweep over the group. We realized that "Pokémon GO" was experiencing a widespread outage that could last for hours. The game had just been made available in Canada that day, and there were reports that hackers had taken the servers down again. Adam occasionally stopped the group to point out where certain types of Pokémon tend to spawn. (This particular stop is apparently a hot stop for Pikachus.) I couldn't help thinking about all of the potentially rare Pokémon I was missing as we walked. Adam's co-guide wasn't a Pokémon expert, but she knew a lot about the history of Central Park. She took the opportunity to explain landmarks and historic areas to us while we waited for the game to come back online. Some of us were able to log back in as we walked past the Bethesda Fountain and around the park's main lake. Most of the group remained buried in their phones as we made our way to the Conservatory Pond on the upper east side of the park. I overheard some people trading tips about the game and talking about what they had caught the day before. Adam told us that the pond is a "sanctuary" for bird Pokémon. Since we couldn't catch any ourselves, he said "for now, you'll have to trust me." We continued up the park towards The Metropolitan Museum of Art to another spot on Adam's map. Someone paid this guy $1 to do a cartwheel while we waited for the game to work. As we walked past the Great Lawn, the game's servers started working again! Everyone started cheering and calling out the names of nearby Pokémon that had suddenly spawned. Everyone stopped walking to catch Pokémon next to a couple of Pokéstops near the south side of the Great Lawn. I started catching some good Pokémon, including a high CP Tangela. The group had a newfound energy now that the game was working. People started talking to each other more and yelling out when a rare Pokémon would appear. Lots of water Pokémon, including Magikarp, spawned near Turtle Pond and the Belvedere Castle below the Great Lawn. By now we had walked over a mile into the center of the park. Luckily, there were plenty of Pokéstops throughout the park to replenish our items as we went. We weren't the only ones playing "Pokémon GO." I noticed plenty of people glued to their phones as we walked by. I made sure to activate a Lucky Egg so that I would earn double experience points while I played. Catch that Golbat! We stopped at another spot with two active lures. I caught close to a dozen Pokémon here in under five minutes. Sometimes there were more Pokémon players than non-Pokémon players in areas of the park. At one point these three guys walked past our group and yelled "TEAM INSTINCT!" Oh look, an Eevee! Got him. We finished the tour at the American Museum of Natural History on the upper west side of the park. Adam told us that it was a popular place for Charmanders to spawn, but I didn't catch one. The remaining Pokémon trainers posed for a picture to end the two-hour tour. We lost close to half of the group at Pokéstops throughout the park and walked about two miles. While most of the group were teenagers who heard about the safari on Reddit, there were older (and younger) people on the tour too. Even with the game down half of the time, Adam was a great tour guide. He plans to host more "Pokémon GO" safaris in Central Park. Future events will probably cost money to attend, but the proceeds will go to charity.

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Alex Heath

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (1)

Tech Insider

New York City's Central Park is onethe bestplaces in the world to play "Pokémon GO."

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The park's sprawling 843 acres of trails, woods, lakes, fountains, and statues make it a gold mine for finding just about every kind ofPokémon imaginable.

Last weekend, I went on the first-ever"Pokémon GO" safari in Central Parkwith about 60 other people. Our tour guide, a level 21 "Pokémon GO" trainer namedAdam Wennick, had mapped out the areas of the park where the bestPokémon appear in the game.

Unfortunately the game's servers were down for the first half of the tour, but theyeventually came back online to save the day.

Here's what the experience was like:

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The safari began at the southeast corner of Central Park by Grand Army Plaza on a pleasant (but very hot) Sunday afternoon.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (2)

Tech Insider

The corner was a fitting place to start because it's one of the best spots to catch Pokémon in the entire city. There are several closely positioned Pokéstops with lures going constantly. Rare Pokémon, like Vaporeon, have been known to spawn there.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (3)

The Pokemon Company

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Our guide and "Pokémon GO" expert, Adam Wennick, had posted on Reddit that he was hosting a free safari a few days earlier. The tour was fully booked in a matter of minutes.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (4)

Reddit

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People started congregating about 30 minutes before the safari was scheduled to start. Only 60 spots were available on the tour, but some people who hadn't registered said they planned to tag along anyway.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (5)

Tech Insider

Most of the group wore name tags written in their team color (red for Valor, blue for Mystic, and yellow for Instinct).

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (6)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

The game's servers were down, which had people nervous that we weren't going to be able to catch any Pokémon that day.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (7)

After standing around for about 40 minutes, we realized that the game's servers might not come back online soon.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (8)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

We weren't going to let the game's severs stop us from exploring. So off we went!

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (9)

Tech Insider

We left the hotspot of Pokétops at the corner of 59th street and Central Park to venture into the park and (hopefully) catch them all.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (10)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Since the game's servers had been down for nearly an hour at this point, people in the group were concerned we wouldn't be able to catch Pokémon during the tour.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (11)

Tech Insider

Luckily, Adam had memorized all of the hot areas for catching specific types of Pokémon. I noticed some people in the group taking notes as we walked.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (12)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

A company called Bolt handed out free battery packs before the tour started, so pretty much everyone had them plugged in to keep their phones juiced up for the day.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (13)

Tech Insider

Most of us were frantically refreshing our phones as we followed Adam past the Central Park Zoo. Adam kept his cool, but I couldn't stop thinking about the Pokémon I was missing out on.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (14)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

With the game down, I decided to look around and take in the nature around us as we walked. Most people in the group kept trying to load the app.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (15)

Tech Insider

As we ventured deeper into the park, I noticed that several people had already abandoned the tour. The servers still weren't up. A feeling of uneasiness began to sweep over the group.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (16)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

We realized that "Pokémon GO" was experiencing a widespread outage that could last for hours. The game had just been made available in Canada that day, and there were reports that hackers had taken the servers down again.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (17)

Tech Insider

Adam occasionally stopped the group to point out where certain types of Pokémon tend to spawn. (This particular stop is apparently a hot stop for Pikachus.)

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (18)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

I couldn't help thinking about all of the potentially rare Pokémon I was missing as we walked.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (19)

Adam's co-guide wasn't a Pokémon expert, but she knew a lot about the history of Central Park. She took the opportunity to explain landmarks and historic areas to us while we waited for the game to come back online.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (20)

Tech Insider

Some of us were able to log back in as we walked past the Bethesda Fountain and around the park's main lake.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (21)

Tech Insider

Most of the group remained buried in their phones as we made our way to the Conservatory Pond on the upper east side of the park. I overheard some people trading tips about the game and talking about what they had caught the day before.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (22)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Adam told us that the pond is a "sanctuary" for bird Pokémon. Since we couldn't catch any ourselves, he said "for now, you'll have to trust me."

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (23)

Tech Insider

We continued up the park towards The Metropolitan Museum of Art to another spot on Adam's map. Someone paid this guy $1 to do a cartwheel while we waited for the game to work.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (24)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

As we walked past the Great Lawn, the game's servers started working again! Everyone started cheering and calling out the names of nearby Pokémon that had suddenly spawned.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (25)

Tech Insider

Everyone stopped walking to catch Pokémon next to a couple of Pokéstops near the south side of the Great Lawn.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (26)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

I started catching some good Pokémon, including a high CP Tangela.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (27)

Tech Insider

The group had a newfound energy now that the game was working. People started talking to each other more and yelling out when a rare Pokémon would appear.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (28)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Lots of water Pokémon, including Magikarp, spawned near Turtle Pond and the Belvedere Castle below the Great Lawn.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (29)

Tech Insider

By now we had walked over a mile into the center of the park. Luckily, there were plenty of Pokéstops throughout the park to replenish our items as we went.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (30)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

We weren't the only ones playing "Pokémon GO." I noticed plenty of people glued to their phones as we walked by.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (31)

Tech Insider

I made sure to activate a Lucky Egg so that I would earn double experience points while I played.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (32)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Catch that Golbat!

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (33)

Tech Insider

We stopped at another spot with two active lures. I caught close to a dozen Pokémon here in under five minutes.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (34)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Sometimes there were more Pokémon players than non-Pokémon players in areas of the park.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (35)

Tech Insider

At one point these three guys walked past our group and yelled "TEAM INSTINCT!"

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (36)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Oh look, an Eevee!

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (37)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Got him.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (38)

Tech Insider

We finished the tour at the American Museum of Natural History on the upper west side of the park. Adam told us that it was a popular place for Charmanders to spawn, but I didn't catch one.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (39)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

The remaining Pokémon trainers posed for a picture to end the two-hour tour. We lost close to half of the group at Pokéstops throughout the park and walked about two miles.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (40)

Tech Insider

While most of the group were teenagers who heard about the safari on Reddit, there were older (and younger) people on the tour too.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (41)

Tech Insider

Advertisem*nt

Even with the game down half of the time, Adam was a great tour guide. He plans to host more "Pokémon GO" safaris in Central Park. Future events will probably cost money to attend, but the proceeds will go to charity.

I went on a 'Pokémon GO' safari with dozens of people in Central Park — here's what it was like (42)

Tech Insider

If you're interested in going on one of Adam's safaris in the future, be sure to followNew York Tour1 on Facebook and on Twitter for updates.

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