Don’t worry if you see children playing on phones at Picton Botanic Gardens.
They’re not texting but they are learning more about animals.
Wollondilly Council is turning the gardens into a science playground with just a mobile app.
Children and parents can install SciGround’s free app and use a phone to see ‘virtual’ animals appear around them in the physical world.
They can play a game to learn more about the animals.
Similar to the popular Pokemon Go game, the app uses augmented reality technology.
The council is partnering with SciGround to pilot a program for children aged five years and up in the gardens from February 22 to April 22.
SciGround is a social initiative that encourages children to get outside and learn about science, technology, engineering and maths.
SciGround’s founder and executive officer, Andy Barley said the app was designed to get children interested in science.
“Many children are familiar with technology, so we want to turn passive screen time into active learning time,” he said.
“Science will play a big role in our future, and expanding children’s natural curiosity for the world around them is a great way to help them succeed.
“We’re excited to give families in Wollondilly the first taste of the app and would love their feedback to help us make it even better.”
Parents are encouraged to supervise children while they play, and to join in the fun.
Participants are reminded to remain aware of their surroundings while playing.
To use SciGround during the trial, visitors will need an Apple device which supports augmented reality (iPhone 6S or newer, iPad 2017 or iPad Pro).
SciGround plans to expand the range of compatible devices following the trial.
Families are encouraged to share their experiences and feedback about the SciGround app at www.sciground.com/wollondilly