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Park News

Play’n’Learn Eco Challenge

Designed to teach children about environmentally- friendly choices in food shopping and recycling, Eco Challenge is a new immersive game at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California. Produced by Cinnabar with media content by Mindi Lipschultz, it features three zones – Discovery Market, Race to Recycle and Eco Garage – with six life-size animated characters that guide players throughout the experience.

Discovery Market is central to the attraction, a life-size recreation of a grocery store, complete with

New attractions in the UK and USA fuse education with entertainment in their own unique way

touch screen-enhanced shopping carts and interactive scanners. It is where most of the animated characters are found. At the entrance,’Sandra’ prompts visitors to grab a shopping cart. Shoppers choose a shopping list from the in-built monitor and move around the store, where they respond to questions on the screens, select products and scan barcodes from the shelves to submit their answers.

According to the answers given, special treats and effects are triggered throughout the game including photographs of star players on the Super Shopper Wall (a bank of monitors) and, if all questions are answered correctly, a custom coin embossed featuring one of the characters from the game. Kids are encouraged to play numerous times to collect them all.

Much time and attention was spent on the characters by Lipschultz: “I wanted to create characters that kids could identify with and remember,” she explains. “We made them quirky and memorable. Courtney, for example, awakens from her Zen-like meditation of floating fruit when visitors summon her by pushing the ‘Help’ button, while Susie, a forceful young clerk with purple-streaked hair emphasises her points with a meat cleaver in hand and rails against Styrofoam packaging.”

360 Play

A new FEC has opened in the UK aimed at kids. 360 Play in Stevenage is the second in a planned chain of venues from DP Leisure and at 24,000 sq ft is approximately a third larger than the original outlet in Milton Keynes.

Children can enjoy a rage of activities spread across three areas, centring on physical play, creative play and skills play. In the centre of the building a three-tier play structure incorporating a wide range of slides, climbing elements, tubes, ball zones and more. Beneath this is a bumper car track

include a café, classroom and party zone. An outdoor zone, Club 360, is set to open in June, featuring sand and water play, soft play and an events area. “We have created what we believe to be an engaging, entertaining and inspiring family- orientated facility,” says DP managing director Duncan Phillips. “It’ a great site to be on with an excellent catchment area.” Kids enjoy the derby race from Elton Games

with floor-pick-up by the Italian manufacturer IE Park. The ride forms part of the Skills Zone, which also features a carousel and various hands-on activities.

A smaller play structure, aimed at the under 4s, features in another area of the building together with a play garden and junior carousel. Adjacent sits 360 Street, a signature feature of the FEC. Based around a similar format to Kidzania, visitors engage in role play inside scaled down shops and businesses including Luigi’s Pizza Parlour, Vets and Pets, a dressing-up shop, fire station, car body shop and more.

Luigi’s Pizza Parlour forms part of 360 Street 8 Additional facilities located throughout 360 Play Bumper cars and play structure in the Skills Zone FEBRUARY 2012

Courtney: one of Mindi Lipschultz’s characters featured in the game

Eco Challenge was realised by the Discovery Center with assistance from OC Waste and Recycling. As well as Cinnabar and Lipschultz, suppliers included BBI Engineering (A/V systems/mechanical interfaces), Wall Street Productions (software) and Artifact Design (character animation). “The exhibit teaches kids about eco-choices, and they go home and teach their parents,” concludes Lipschultz. “I like that – it builds a better future and a better now.“

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