While visiting the zoo in Springfield a few months back, Marisa Starace’s one-year-old son, Tyler, picked up a rock.
Like most moms, Marisa told her son to put it down the rock, but the stone’s unusual orange color caught her eye. Upon closer inspection, Marisa noticed the stone was painted to look like a carrot.
A short time later, 4-year-old Bailey also found a colorfully painted rock.
Upon returning to their Clinton home, Marisa told a friend in Florida about their find. The friend told her rock hunting was a popular pastime there as well.
With a little internet research, Marisa found many communities across the country were painting and hiding rocks so Marisa and family joined the fun.
“My kids were excited to look for rocks.”
And because they wanted others to share their fun, Marisa gathered about 150 rocks that she and her children painted and hid around Clinton. She also started a Facebook page, Clinton IL Rocks, and encouraged people who found rocks to post photos on the page.
Since July the Facebook page has grown to more than 1000 members sharing photos of the rocks they’ve found, rocks they’ve painted and hints to hiding spots.
“I just did it because it was happening everywhere,” said Marisa. “Families search for rocks and paint rocks. They’re doing it together and they’re outside. I think it has benefitted the community.”