In response to the huge demand for free, fun and active outdoor experiences, the City of Los Angeles has partnered with parks and public spaces across Southern California to get people exploring, learning and having fun with their families. The SoCal Explorer Campaign uses Agents of Discovery®, an educational technology app that enables educators to create their own augmented reality games — think Pokémon GO for parks and education.
Bob Blumenfield, Councilmember of LA’s Third District, says, “As you explore, you’ll learn about local plant and bug life, wildfire prevention, conservation efforts and much more. Good luck with your Mission, and I hope to see you at Reseda Park.”
The SoCal Explorer Campaign will run until Dec. 18. Anyone can join in by downloading the free Agents of Discovery mobile app and completing “Missions,” or games at participating locations. To find the nearest location to you, click here. Each Mission has educational “Challenges” that teach players about local history, culture, ecosystems and safety. For example, at the City of Desert Hot Springs, players can learn about the history of different landmarks around the city. At Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, players can learn about Elasmobranchs, a class of animals that include sharks, skates and rays.
LA County also has many exciting Missions to play. Kim Bosell, Natural Areas Administrator for LA County Parks, says, “By using the Agents of Discovery app, you can use augmented reality to help you connect to local plants and wildlife, and to learn amazing facts about them.”
The Campaign has amazing prizes to reward players, or “Agents”. The grand prize this year is a GoPro Hero12 Black Action Camera! At each site, players receive a fun patch. Agents also receive a SoCal Explorer badge once they have completed three Missions, a SoCal Advanced Explorer badge upon completing six, and a Super SoCal Explorer badge after completing nine. On top of that, players who complete at least five Missions will be entered in a draw to win tickets to Bowers Museum, Joshua Tree National Park, Knott’s Berry Farm or Belmont Park; or a $25 gift card to Target, Disney and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Dalia (pictured above) won tickets to the Huntington Gardens in a previous SoCal Explorer Campaign. She earned the patches on her shirt by completing SoCal Explorer Missions.
The winner of the Apple Watch in 2021 said, “Over the past year, it’s been so important to me to stay healthy as well as getting out in nature. The SoCal Explorer Campaign allowed me to enjoy local spots and discover new sites! The games are family-friendly and fun, while allowing me to explore the wonders of nature. Thanks for this fun opportunity!”
The SoCal Explorer also features seasonal Missions! The City of LA created a Halloween Mission that was featured in October. The Mission was all about the creepy creatures that are associated with Halloween like spiders, moths, bats, rats, and more. The National Wild Turkey Federation also created a Thanksgiving Mission called “Threatened to Thriving” filled with fun facts about turkeys. This Mission is available from anywhere, just search “Threatened to Thriving” in the Agents of Discovery app to play this fun seasonal Mission!
To download the free Agents of Discovery app, go to Google Play or the App Store. Once downloaded, find the Missions you want to play, and download them before heading out. No data or WiFi is required to play a Mission once it has been downloaded