The Gruffalo to return to Westonbirt Arboretum

Taking family forest walks to new heights, The Gruffalo has returned to Westonbirt Arboretum in the latest exciting partnership between Forestry England and Magic Light Pictures.

The Gruffalo Spotter 2 app builds on the success of the BAFTA nominated original and brings The Gruffalo characters to life in the forest.

Families will be able to use the brand new Gruffalo Spotter 2 app to follow a trail at the arboretum and learn about the characters from the story The Gruffalo, best-selling picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

The Augmented Reality app mixes the animated characters with the real world environment, encouraging children to get exploring and firing their imaginations.

Responding to instructions such as waving, stomping, flying, dancing and roaring, visitors will trigger the AR characters to magically come to life and interact with them.

Through cutting-edge face and body recognition technology, the characters now look at the children directly, encouraging them to play along.

These moments can be recorded and saved to mobile devices for families to revisit and share later via the #GruffaloSpotters hashtag.

Hannah Ward, recreation manager for Westonbirt Arboretum said: “This is such an exciting development and will deliver a completely different forest experience for our visitors.

“The Gruffalo is a much-loved story and to be able to once again bring the characters to life in their natural setting is fantastic.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing the two worlds of technology and nature together again with this new app!”

Barney Goodland, associate producer at Magic Light Pictures said: “Following the run away success of the first Spotter app we’re delighted to be bringing The Gruffalo back to the forest for 2021.

“We’re always looking to further children’s enjoyment of The Gruffalo and this is an innovative way to incorporate new technology with a real-world experience.

“Working with Forestry England and Nexus Studios has been a real joy and it’s exciting to now be sharing Gruffalo Spotters 2 with families.

“Most importantly for us the app is completely free, which means that it’s there for everyone to enjoy.”

The Gruffalo Spotter 2 app, which has been developed and animated by Nexus Studios, is available for free with no in-app purchases from the App Store and Google Play and requires downloading before your visit.

A Gruffalo Spotters trail pack will be available to buy on site which includes an activity leaflet full of fun facts and activities, Gruffalo Mask and paws, a nature spotters game, stickers as well as a crayon and pencil.

Colin Davis, executive producer, Interactive Arts, at Nexus Studios, said: “The team at Nexus Studios are massive fans of The Gruffalo and were really excited to be able to bring the iconic characters to life in the forest through the magic of Augmented Reality.

“Working with Magic Light Pictures and the Forestry England has been a fantastic collaboration on many levels, from new technical innovation in AR and real time 3D characters, to creating an experience that works outside in all weathers and for all ages.

“The creative challenges have always been enjoyable and we can’t wait to see children (and their grown-ups!) playing it.”

The Gruffalo Spotters trail and Gruffalo Spotter 2 app will be live until Sunday, September 12.

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