For Immediate Release: June 6, 2023
California State Parks Launches Virtual Adventurer Mobile App, an Interactive Augmented and Virtual Reality Journey
Mobile app uses groundbreaking technology to transform visitors’ engagement of California’s state parks
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California State Parks today launched Virtual Adventurer, a new mobile app that will transform how park visitors connect to and interact with the iconic places, deep history and diverse cultural and natural landscapes of California. This augmented reality app transports visitors through time, and its virtual reality experiences offer exciting ways for users to explore new perspectives shared by people who continue to call California home.
“We’re excited to launch the Virtual Adventurer app that further provides opportunities for Californians to access the cultural, historic and natural resources found across our beautiful state,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “The app also supports and enhances the department’s Reexamining Our Past Initiative by developing content for parks that tells a more complete, accurate and inclusive history of people and places.”
From storytelling, to holograms, to 3D images and reconstructions, the Virtual Adventurer app offers unique journeys through nine participating state parks. For example, the public can download and travel through Coyote Canyon in today’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, with Maria Jacinta Bastida, an Afro-Latina woman traveling with the Juan Bautista De Anza expedition, or see Chinatown reemerge from the sagebrush at Bodie State Historic Park. The public can continue to check the app regularly as more adventures and stories will be added to the existing parks, as well as more park units will be added to explore.
The Virtual Adventurer app is also designed to be one of the most accessible mobile applications. Users will have access to Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant accessible PDFs, audio descriptions, audio captioning, high-contrast colors, dyslexic font and more—all with the goal of ensuring the highest level of access possible to interpretive and educational content for all park visitors.
“Helping park visitors to create deeper and more meaningful experiences in state parks is vitally important to connecting us all to the rich history of these places,” said Parks California Community Engagement Director Myrian Solis Coronel. “Through this app and emerging digital technology, we hope these tools will help all visitors see themselves as part of these special places and feel a sense of belonging.” Parks California, along with other park partners like Jack London Park Partners, Point Lobos Foundation, Tribal Nations, and university partners are also supporting content development.
The app development was led by TimeLooper Inc., an immersive digital experience and exhibition firm. “State Parks came to us with a vision to expand the scope of stories told in its parks in a manner that is highly immersive and relevant to today’s park visitors,” said a TimeLooper Principal and Founder Andrew Feinberg. “Virtual Adventurer delivers an easily accessed, fuller accounting of the state’s natural and cultural history through the highly interactive capabilities of augmented and virtual reality.”
Below are the nine state parks currently participating:
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
- Bodie State Historic Park
- Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
- Jack London State Historic Park
- Montaña de Oro State Park
- Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (Oso Flaco Lake)
- Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
- Sue-meg State Park
To download the app, visitors can scan the QR code below, which directs both Android and iOS device users to their corresponding app store. Download this app today to deepen your connection to California’s remarkably diverse heritage.
Newly designed posters created in collaboration with Parks California for the Virtual Adventurer app.
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The California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as State Parks, and the programs supported by its Office of Historic Preservation and divisions of Boating and Waterways and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at www.parks.ca.gov.