The Wild Network, a UK-based network of organisations and individuals promoting outdoor play and access to outdoor space for children, has announced a multi-million pound partnership with computer game giant Minecraft to launch a series of Minecraft theme parks across the UK.
The parks – based on the global gaming phenomenon – will be the first of their kind in the world. The aim of the developer, along with The Wild Network, is to, “Bring the true sensory experience of the outdoors to kids through a realistic Minecraft experience”.
The Minecraft game, available on multiple platforms, centres on a character’s world, where players build and create habitats within a natural landscape. The park promises all the features of the Minecraft game, but with ‘enhanced nature’ and improved opportunities for children ‘to play freely’.
The highlight of each park will be the real outdoor building area, where children can use available resources, including blocks, wood, grass, water and more, to build a house, or virtual world. Using as many items as they can find, they can fully explore and bring to life their natural creativity.
A key feature of Minecraft lies in farming and animal care and the theme parks won’t disappoint. There will be numerous opportunities for children to learn about animal species. They can add cats, dogs, or even farms into their world, include trees and plants – complete with pollinating bees and insects – depending on where they live and their nearest park.
Wild Network Director Mark Sears said, “Countless studies have shown that children are healthier, do better at school and feel happier when they play outside, so these new Minecraft parks are vital in helping kids get to know the real world – and learn how they can play there”.
For parents, the highlight of the game’s success is likely to be the function for interaction with other players. Kids can talk, play, build and make friends with other players in the world, fostering those all-important social skills.
Like the game, the parks will be open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week – a WORLD FIRST in parks – offering a fully immersive experience. Admission rates are standard for all ages, at £0 per person, per visit. Locations vary and can be found by opening the front door and going outside. Open from 1 April onwards.