Pokemon Go Hits Downtown Lakeland

If you aren’t a child of the 1990s, you may be unaware that this world is inhabited by creatures known as Pokémon. Downtown Lakeland

Christopher Winters uses an outlet in Munn Park to recharge his phone after an afternoon of playing Pokemon Go.

Christopher Winters uses an outlet in Munn Park to recharge his phone after an afternoon of playing Pokemon Go.

is positively crawling with them.

Thankfully, hundreds of Pokémon Go players, called “trainers,” are up to the task of capturing and training them to do their bidding.

Christopher Winters, 18, of Lakeland, began playing the game shortly after its debut. He has spent hours per day downtown because the area is so active.

“Downtown Lakeland is the best spot because people are dropping lures a lot,” said Eli Hedstrom, 26, of Lakeland. “There’s lots to do here. You can find eggs, get Poké Balls, and there’s no need to spend money on the game.”

Lures are Pokémon Go tools that can be earned or purchased, and then dropped to attract more Pokémon to the area.

Hedstrom began playing a week ago and has played in the downtown area several times, including twice in one day. Nighttime is a flurry of Pokémon Go activity.

What the heck is Pokémon Go?

This augmented reality game takes real geographic locations and makes them appear as if Pokémon have been spotted in the real world.

Players walk around and catch Pokémon as they go, and they can find and collect them everywhere. Downtown Lakeland is a hotbed of Pokémon Go activity, due to its numerous parks, iconic statues and other landmarks.

Players find Poké Stops, which are pinned to real locations where players can find useful items to capture Pokémon, such as Poké Balls. Once they’ve trained their Pokémon, they can take them to gyms to battle other Pokémon.

 

Popular Pokémon Go Locations in Downtown Lakeland

Pokemon Go Lakeland is a Facebook group that set up an information tent at the July Thursday Squared Food Truck Rally to teach people how to play this popular game.

Pokemon Go Lakeland is a Facebook group that set up an information tent at the July Thursday Squared Food Truck Rally to teach people how to play this popular game.

If you’re among the 21 million (as of July 11) daily active users playing Pokémon Go, be sure to visit these downtown locations (we’ll update this list as we learn of more locations):

Gyms

  • Wall art on the Studabaker Building on Bay Street
  • Alligator sculpture near the Amtrak Station on East Main Street
  • Atlantic Coast Walkway along the railroad tracks behind Lkld TV
  • The Junior League Sorosis Building on Lake Morton Drive
  • CenterState Bank fountain on South Florida Avenue
  • “Musical Swan” sculpture at Hall Communications on West Lime Street
  • Mary statue at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on West Lemon Street
  • Hall Communications at Sikes Boulevard and Lime Street

Poké Stops

  • Munn Park- the foundation and the monument in the center of the park
  • Explorations V Children’s Museum on North Kentucky Avenue
  • Munn-Regnvall Building on South Kentucky Avenue
  • Many of the sculptures on the Lemon Street Promenade
  • City Hall, at the corner of Orange Street and Massachusetts Avenue, and at the corner of Orange Street and South Iowa Avenue
  • Barnett Family Park
  • Hollis Garden
  • Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce on Lake Morton Drive
  • Lakeland Public Library on Lake Morton Drive
  • Polk Museum of Art at the Florida Tile Children’s Plaza
  • Catholic Charities across from PMOA on East Palmetto Street
  • Mister Fish mural wall on East Palmetto Street
  • Fountain in Lake Mirror
  • Albert Paley “Tribute to the Spirit of Volunteerism” sculpture at Lake Mirror
  • Amtrak station on East Main Street
  • Lakeland Fire Department Station #1 on East Main Street
  • George L. Gaines Jeweler on South Tennessee Avenue
  • “Mute Swan Protecting her Cygnets” sculpture at Lake Mirror
  • Building plaque on the Main Street parking garage
  • Swan statue at Terrace Hotel on Massachusetts Avenue
  • Butterfly sculpture in Allen Kryger Overlook Park on Massachusetts Avenue
  • All Saints Episcopal Church on Massachusetts Avenue
  • Uncle Swan statue in Heritage Park on East Lemon Street
  • “Sputnik” sign at Jenkins Lincoln Mercury on East Main Street
  • Several locations around The Lakeland Center
  • Veterans Park on Lake Beulah

Areas where lures frequently get dropped

  • Barnett Family Park
  • Munn Park

What downtown businesses have done to capitalize on the craze:

Becky’s Hot Dogs jumped in early by offering a free drink with a hotdog purchase. The first day of offering the special, co-owner Jim Zook

Molly McHugh's Irish Pub jumped on the bandwagon.

Molly McHugh’s Irish Pub jumped on the bandwagon.

gave away 20 drinks. On the second day, he gave away 40. On the third, he gave away more than 80. The numbers continue to grow.

Palace Pizza created a Poké Ball pizza.

Two Hens and a Hound began offering “Poké Prizes” to players who like and follow their Facebook page. When they realized a lure had been dropped nearby, they instructed Pokémon Go players to come in and give a password to receive a Poké Prize. They also put Pokémon images in their storefront window as a photo stop for players.

Got Candy & More began selling Pokémon Go- themed cake pops on Thursday and they sold out that day. Now they’re offering daily specials for players. Check the Got Candy & more Facebook page for details.

Florida Tropics, Lakeland’s new professional indoor soccer team, jumped on the bandwagon by setting up a table on Main Street prior to the July Thursday Squared Food Truck Rally and offering free phone charging for Pokémon Go players. They also dropped lures in the area to attract players.

While they had players’ attention, they gave away Tropics swag and encouraged people to enter a contest. The results were good.

“We had about 150 people enter the contest,” said Andrew Ross, general manager and vice president of operations.

Molly McHugh’s Irish Pub has dubbed itself a “Veteran Pokémon Player Drinking Center.”

My Office & More is offering free Pokemon Go training July 16 at 9:30 a.m.

Althea Giampaolo, 27, dressed as Pikachu for the July Food Truck Rally.

Althea Giampavolo, 27, dressed as Pikachu for the July Food Truck Rally.

More ideas for businesses

  • Rename one of your menu items something Pokémon Go-related and offer a percentage discount to players who order it.
  • It’s hot outside! Offer drink or ice cream specials to players on a particular team: Mystic, Instinct or Valor. These can be time limited.
  • For retailers, fill balloons in Pokémon Go colors with percentage discounts. Allow shoppers who play Pokémon Go the chance to pop a balloon to determine the discount on their purchase.
  • Increase foot traffic by purchasing lures to drop at your business.

The important thing to remember is that businesses need to act now to catch the craze while it’s hot.

Is your Downtown Lakeland business doing something fun to tie in to Pokémon Go? Let us know!