On a crisp, sunny morning in the July school holidays the kids and I set out on an adventure. We headed to Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens and as we passed through the gate an amazing thing happened. My iPhone rang – the caller was a curious little bloke named Trutton. We answered the call and Trutton revealed that the magical creatures living in the Botanical Gardens were under threat and that he needed help to save them. Were my kids up for the task? For sure! And so began two incredible, fun and educational hours in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
‘The Hidden Park’ is an iPhone application that blends fantasy and reality into an outdoor ‘computer’ game. The application uses all the features of the iPhone to lead children into a world of trolls, fairies and tree genies. Although the concept remains the same, it is tailored to different parks around the world from Central Park in New York and Kensington Gardens in London to Botanical Gardens in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne, where different points of interest and clues are incorporated for each park. In Melbourne’s gardens, we were searching for giant palms, listening for bell-birds and hunting through the rockery in the succulent garden. We took pictures of dragons and fairies, saw moles breaking through the ground and woke a grouchy old professor from his nap behind a rock – this is exciting stuff for little kids!
At just $8.99, The Hidden Garden is fantastically priced family fun. The age of my kids ranges from two to six. My five and six year old particularly loved this game and it was not simply because they got to hold my iPhone! The use of the ‘Accelerometer’, which was set up like a radar to track if we were getting closer to the clue, particularly interested the boys whilst the photography tricks and the phone calls from Trutton thrilled the socks off my three year old.
Head to the App Store at iTunes to download ‘The Hidden Park’.