Nothing captures the imagination like a good mystery, so if you’re looking for ways to get your kids off the couch, consider your local parks—with a twist.
As part of the SoCal Explorer Campaign, 20 Southern California parks have teamed up with Agents of Discovery, an educational technology platform, to create mobile reality games aimed at getting kids 15 and younger excited about exploring the outdoors.
The campaign, which will run through Dec. 31, uses a free Agents of Discovery gaming app to explore ecosystems at Echo Park Lake, Cabrillo Beach, Griffith Park and beyond.
“The idea is to get this in all of our parks so that kids want to go to our parks,” says Los Angeles City Council Member Bob Blumenfield.
Through the free Agents of Discovery app, kids assume the role of secret agent and are briefed about missions at participating parks. They can use scanners and flashlights to help them explore local ecosystems and solve educational challenges created by park interpreters.
At Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park in Harbor City, kids learn about avian diversity and the park’s role in water stewardship. At Griffith Park, they will use a scanner to reveal challenges while hiking to the top of Mount Hollywood.
“Agents of Discovery is a fun way for kids to acquire knowledge about our parks’ ecology and natural features,” says James Cook, executive director of the Western National Parks Association.
After completing one mission, SoCal Explorer Campaign participants get a digital and embroidered badge specific to that park. After three completed missions, they get an Explorer Badge. An additional mission outside of L.A. earns kids a Super Explorer Badge. The SoCal Explorer Badge is awarded to those who complete all the missions. Kids will also be entered to win prizes, which include beach balls, backpacks and passes to Lake Perris.
Since most parks do not have wifi, make sure the app and park missions are downloaded from Google Play or the App Store before you get to your destination. Once downloaded, Agents of Discovery does not require data or wifi.
For more information, visit www.agentsofdiscovery.com.