Samuel Adams, 33, and his mother have painted and hid at least 200 rocks

A Mesa man is hoping to make people smile with his new hobby: Painting and hiding rocks across Maricopa County.

Last week, Samuel Adams painted the logos of all 30 Major League Baseball teams on smooth rocks and hid them in Papago Park in Phoenix, bringing the total number of rocks he’s hidden in that park to 50.

He said his motivation is “a smile on someone’s face and, at the same point, release a little creativity that’s building up inside of you.”

Adams, 33, and his mother have painted and hid at least 200 rocks in parks in Queen Creek, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Phoenix, Glendale and Scottsdale since he started doing it in January. (And yes, that’s his real name – we checked!)

Bringing joy to kids and families

His mother, Sandee Adams, heard about similar projects in other states and encouraged Samuel to start it here, he said. His aunt also paints and hides rocks in Apache Junction.

“Pretty much every time I get free time, if I’m bored I just paint different rocks,” he said. The MLB group is his biggest project so far. He posted about the MLB rocks on Reddit and quickly earned many “upvotes” and comments praising the project.

Savannah Rogers of Peoria said her son William, 12, found one of the rocks Tuesday evening during their first time visiting Papago Park. He was chasing a lizard into a bush and found the Toronto Blue Jays rock.

“His painting is really good. That’s a really beautiful way for somebody who loves painting, loves being outdoors, it’s a great way for them to share their talents with the world and encourage young people to get outdoors, paint, be artistic and to clean up the parks. It’s beautiful.”

When she joined Adams’s Facebook group,  “Maricopa County Rocks,” and saw the instructions to pick up any trash near the rock, William rushed back to do so. She plans to paint and hide rocks with her kids when they visit Oak Creek Canyon Thursday.

Join the group to learn more

Adams uses Mod Podge to seal the paint and to adhere a tag on the back of the rock inviting whoever finds it to join his Facebook group, where anyone who’s interested in hiding or hunting the rocks can get information and clues. He said he hopes others will start painting and hiding rocks too, and is happy to see the group growing.

“This was such an incredibly encouraging thing for my daughter, Reagan, to experience,” said Melissa Smith.

Reagan, 9, was disappointed when a park she was visiting in Chandler didn’t have a playground but lit up after finding a painted rock.

“She felt special to have been the one of all of her siblings to find it, and she couldn’t believe that there are people who leave these special rocks ‘just for fun,’ ” Smith said. “It’s such a positive way to get people enjoying the outdoors and making them feel special.”


Couple found $50K, bottle of bourbon in a secret safe in their kitchen. Or did they?

ASU ‘dreamer’s’ post on paying taxes goes viral

Phoenix teen’s accidental Thanksgiving invite goes viral

Read or Share this story: