Things to do  |  7 May 2020

Make a walk to your local park more exciting and rediscover your own backyard using an app that melds technology with nature.

Christchurch City Council’s Parks team has adapted the augmented reality app Agents of Discovery to suit our more restricted lifestyles under Alert Level 3.

Instead of being tailored to one of Christchurch’s regional parks, it can now be played in any home backyards or local park. 

Agents of Discovery is free to download from Google Play and the App Store.

Using a smartphone, iPad or tablet children can experience a blended virtual world and try educational quizzes and challenges. Nature-based activities include tasting a dandelion flower, looking at the shapes of autumn leaves and catching virtual bees.

Council Parks Programmes Manager Kate Russell says Agents of Discovery has been popular in regional parks around the city in the past and it was underway in Victoria Park until the lockdown prompted a rethink.

“Our staff managed to convert it to be used anywhere and it’s now a great way to keep trips to the local park fresh and educational. We know a lot of people are going to walks and bike rides in their neighbourhood and spending more time at home.

"This app helps children notice the nature that’s all around them and find out more about it. Everyone has dandelions growing on their lawn or they can easily walk to their local park and find some, so we're taking advantage of what everyone has in common.”

Agents of Discovery will continue in its "My Backyard" format until New Zealand is able to move to Alert Level 2, when Agents of Discovery will be available at Halswell Quarry Park.

 To download, go to Google Play or the App Store, find the “My Backyard” mission and choose either Christchurch or Banks Peninsula.