Kids become geocaching ‘Agents’

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Desert Breeze, Sunset, Galveston, Windmills West and Nozomi parks in west Chandler have become sites for the continuation of an augmented reality game launched through a collaborative venture between Chandler Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Forest Service.

The game, Agents of Discovery, is designed to encourage residents to get out and play, allowing users to explore local parks through missions and challenges with the use of geo-fencing technology.

The adventures begin by downloading the free game onto a mobile device from the iPhone App Store or Google Play.

The games are aimed at children, ages 5 to 12, with the assistance of their parents.

Users assume the roles of secret “agents” on missions to solve challenges in their local parks by using an app on their smartphone or tablet.

Following trails around each park, players can rescue the stolen robotic “USBees,” who store knowledge of the natural world. The fate of nature rests in their hands.

Once players have completed missions, they can return to headquarters—cleverly disguised as a Chandler recreation center—and claim accolades and a reward.

The first mission and opportunity to use the mobile app occurred during the Mayor’s Day of Play at Tumbleweed Park in October. Along with the Agents of Discovery activity, the event featured interactive booths and games for participants to experience Chandler’s recreation options.

The program’s education technology platform was launched earlier this year in Washington, D.C., at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, as well as in San Francisco at the Maritime National Historical Park.

“Learning is no longer confined to the textbook; children and adults want to learn in ways that are engaging,” said Joe Petrella, Chandler recreation manager.

“In the spirit of playful learning, Agents of Discovery’s adventures are transforming our parks into outdoor classrooms where imaginations can run wild.”

Information: 480-782-2890.

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