Alpena — If you’ve driven by the Besser Museum before or after hours and noticed a number of cars and people in the parking lot, they are harmless. These folks are simply playing Pokémon Go, a game downloadable on cell phones that mimics the world of Pokémon. This trend has been happening since the creation of the game in 2016.
“I see Pokémon Go players here all day pretty much everyday,” said Planetarium Coordinator Johnathan Winckowski. “Even on my days off, I drive past and I’ll see people just in the parking lot playing Pokémon Go on their phones so it’s definitely a popular place for the game itself.”
Today, only a few players turned out to battle against each other and catch the fictional creatures. The reason so many people gravitate to the museum is do the Pokémon gyms located on the property. Gyms allow people to battle against each other and catch a ton of Pokémon. For hardcore players like Shelby Barnett, it’s a blast.
“People are always up visiting whether it be here or driving through the parking lot… just visiting, hitting the spots,” said Barnett. “They come in, check things out, and it just works out for both the company that makes the game and the museum itself.”
The goal for the museum is to take the potential audience on their doorstep and invite them inside. Winckowski started a promotion so that the owner of their fountain sculpture gym will get a discount into planetarium shows. This ongoing attempt looks to try and get folks to enjoy what Besser has to offer. Winckowski calls it Pokémon Mania.
“It gets people out and they’re having a good time playing the game but if we can them inside to actually engage with the museum, that’s an even better plus for us,” said Winckowski.