BLUFF PARK ROCKSPaint a rock, hide a rock, find a rock – that’s what this local group is all about.
By Heather Jones Skaggs
Photos by Dawn Harrison and Lauren Winter
“Most people would not be excited about just a plain ol’ rock, but when you see a painted rock it is like ahhhhhh!” The words of 9-year-old Isaac Brown capture the excitement kids and adults are experiencing with a new trend and a spin on the game hide-and-seek. “I think you want to pick it up and hide it, even if you are an adult. It makes you smile,” Isaac says.
Yes, hide-and-seek rock style, and it is a skyrocketing trend across the country. Painting rocks and hiding these mineral masterpieces for the next person to find has spread state to state and even made NBC’s Today Show. Groups often start on Facebook, such as Bluff Park Rocks, a local group formed for rock hunting.
“A friend tagged the Bluff Park Rocks group, and I checked it out because we love everything Bluff Park,” Isaac’s mom Brandie Brown says. “Painting rocks and hiding them like Easter eggs is a great way to get kids outside, and they have enjoyed going out and finding them.”
Like Brandie, Lauren Winter discovered Bluff Park Rocks from a post by the founder of the group. “I had never heard of this sort of thing but immediately knew it was something my girls and I would love to participate in together,” Lauren says.
Lauren Wade, founder and organizer of Bluff Park Rocks, picked up the idea from a friend sharing rocks they had found in the Homewood Rocks Facebook group. “I thought our neighborhood would have a lot of fun with this,” Lauren says. “We want people to have fun! It’s a great way for the neighborhood to come together. Families can spend time painting, hiding and hunting. It’s fun to go on walks in the neighborhood or keep eyes open when shopping at local businesses to find one,” she continues.
Paint a rock, hide a rock, find a rock. Repeat. It is a simple concept that is getting people outdoors. Individuals or families can paint rocks and hide them anywhere in Bluff Park. When someone finds one, they post a picture in the Bluff Park Rocks Facebook group, and then they re-hide it or take it home as a treasure. The group is using the hashtag #BluffParkRocks.
The Browns have found around 12 painted rocks and hidden more than 20. “One Saturday we spent the morning painting and hiding in areas near Bluff Park Hardware, the fire station, Tip Top Grille and on the sidewalks,” Brandie says. “My favorite part is finding them wherever they are,” Isaac adds. “My dad was born in Tennessee, so I did one with a T for my dad.” Isaac’s brother Luke and sister Grace got in on the action too. Luke painted an eyeball and a dinosaur to hide, and Grace found two pink ones that she liked.
The Winters have hidden 15 rocks so far and have lost count of how many they have found. Brookes and sister Harper think hiding the rocks is really cool because there are lots of neat places in Bluff Park to hide them. “I like finding them because it’s really a surprise when you look down and see a Bluff Park Rock,” Brookes says. Harper likes getting together with friends to paint. “My mom shows us on Facebook when someone has found one of the rocks I painted and hid. It is fun to see that.”
Brookes and Harper’s mom, Lauren Winter, says this is simply another fun way to enjoy the people and the natural beauty in Bluff Park along with an educational opportunity. “We as moms are always looking for a fun, wholesome art project that we can do alongside our kids, and this appeals to a range of ages,” Lauren says.
Both the Winters and the Browns continue to paint, hide and find rocks in Bluff Park and hope the trend continues. “This gets people outside, healthy and walking around. It is giving and inspirational with messages on the rocks like ‘be the change’ or ones with blessings and Bible verses on them,” Brandie says.