When it comes to neat learning experiences in cities, you're pretty much doomed to scope out the local library or, at best, break into the local children's museum for a sleepover. But the city of Zagreb, Croatia has a unique take on learning that will follow you throughout your visit. See, at the center of town lies a giant ball representing our sun. And dotted throughout the city are the planets in our solar system.
So some balls are planets, no big deal, right? Except that every planet and the sun are placed in the proper distance according to scale. The sun as it stands now is millions of miles from Earth, but if we were to imagine it was the size of say, a Hummer, then it would be just down the street. The project was so subtle that many residents didn't even realize what they were walking past every day.
The big ones are easy to find, but the smaller ones make for something of a challenging scavenger hunt.
Just like the distance from planet to planet, the size of the bodies themselves are also designed to the scale of a Hummer-sized sun. Even Pluto is included, as the project was designed back before scientists broke the world's heart and ruined textbooks everywhere. At least in Zagreb, Pluto is still considered a planet.
"Geocaching" sounds like the nerdy kind of gibberish that only a computer science major on a topographical survey would use to confuse and disappoint their parents. In truth, it's a shame that something so fun is stuck with the technobabbly stain of that name; it really should be called "crafting a treasure hunt for modern day explorers." I guess geocaching is a little shorter.
Despite the stigma, Austin, Texas' own Ezekiel Buchheit has made a name for himself hiding well-crafted goods around the local wilderness. And these aren't just any trinkets. *Cue Zelda chest opening noise*
From the wooden box to the knit power block, Buchheit makes all of these goodies himself, so it feels a little more personal than sticking a Chipotle punchcard in the woods somewhere. The would-be Links and Zeldas of the world have been so thankful that they've returned the favor by leaving Buchheit things like giftcards after snatching up their loot. You'd be feeling generous too, if you explored a new part of the forest only to find this trove:
Odds are you do not live in the vicinity of this video game saint, but that doesn't mean you can't join in on the fun. There are tons of resources out there if you're the "going outside and being with living things and breathing in fresh oxygen" type. Otherwise, you're free to stay at home and look at cool stuff you wish you had on the internet.