Convincing kids to spend an afternoon away from the PlayStation is a tough sell when there are virtual ramparts to scale and digital beasts to slay. (Nature? How quaintly lo-fi!) Use your children’s video-game obsession to lure them on an outdoors excursion with The Hidden Park, an iPhone-guided scavenger hunt that uncovers trolls, fairies, tree genies, and other fantastic creatures skulking around actual landmarks at your local park.
The ‘augmented reality game‘ can be played in a growing number of public spaces across the globe, including New York’s Central Park, Boston Common, London’s Kensington Park, and Ueno Park in Tokyo. Tapping into your iPhone’s GPS, the app leads families on a quest to help the Magical Wildlife Protection Association prove the existence of magical beings in the park, which is in danger of being bulldozed by money-grubbing developers.
The map the game supplies is also enchanted; as you move past specific landmarks, it throws out riddles and puzzles to clue you in on where to go next. The cool factor comes into play when your kids use the iPhone’s built-in camera to document their discoveries. Just like magic, the park’s mystical denizens make their presence known.
Maybe fresh air isn’t overrated, after all.