Coral Gables debuts world’s first digital playground in U.S.

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Coral Gables debuts world’s first digital playground in U.S.
Augmented reality is an interactive experience in which the real-world environment is enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information.

The City of Coral Gables has inaugurated Magical Park, an interactive mobile game app that turns a park into a digital fantasyland. On Sept. 30, Coral Gables became the first U.S. city to launch this program developed to attract tech-minded families to parks to get their children to exercise.

Students from Crystal Academy, a special education school in Coral Gables, were the first to experience the mobile game.

The Community Recreation Department partnered with New Zealand-based Geo AR Games to offer a digital fantasyland at the War Memorial Youth Center Athletic Field, 405 University Dr., starting Oct. 1 through the end of 2020. There is no cost to participate.

“After months of stay-at-home restrictions due to the pandemic, we are excited to offer this great opportunity for outdoor play at one of our parks where children can enjoy an imaginary world of dinosaurs, aliens and other fun-filled adventures,” said Coral Gables Community Recreation director Fred Couceyro. “We are proud to be on the cutting edge of technology and play by offering this innovative programming to our residents.”

Players can download the Magical Park app free of charge on a smartphone or tablet, available at the Coral Gables Smart City Hub, the App Store or Google Play.

“Families, especially those of children with disabilities, are coping with the disruption to their daily lives due to the coronavirus,” said Ericka Kofkin, the city’s Special Populations Coordinator. “Magical Park is the perfect solution to end the effects of isolation and bring a sense of normalcy through outdoor interactive play, getting the kids off the couch and into our parks.”

Designed for children ages 6-11, Magical Park offers geofenced motion games. The application can’t be activated outside the Youth Center Athletic Field. Augmented reality is an interactive experience in which the real-world environment is enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. Children can choose to play games such as collecting dinosaur eggs, saving aliens, putting the broken robots back together, keeping the parks clean, or cleaning coral reefs. Players run around the field and move in real life — and the more crystals a player collects, more activities are unlocked.

For more information, contact the Community Recreation Department at 305-460-5600.


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