Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has partnered with Jumpstart Games to bring kids a new way to experience the zoo right from their couch.

Kids ages 9 and up learn about animal conservation by designing and running their very own augmented reality zoo in Zoo Guardians. They care for the animals, complete quests, and interact with realistic-looking animals. As they continue to grow the animal’s home, real Smithsonian animal experts and conservation scientists teach them how the animals can best thrive under human care and in their natural home.

This mobile game is not without villains. Kids join the Young Guardians Initiative to defeat the ultimate bad guys — climate change, deforestation, and natural habitat loss. Right now, kids can adopt more than 50 species to better understand them. Some animals they can discover include giant pandas, Asian elephants, lemur frogs, and snowy owls.

Quests in the game mimic real-life challenges that zoos face and kids earn “Zoo IQ” to level up. Kids can relocate their animals through the “World Watch” feature, which allows them to help animals get back into their native habitat or to a zoo in their native country.

Parents can download the free app from the App Store or Google Play.

About the author

Nicole Savas

Nicole Savas

As a kid, Nicole either wanted to be a professional toy player-wither or a writer. Somehow, as social media editor for The Toy Insider, The Toy Book, and The Pop Insider, she’s found a career as both. She's grateful to work somewhere that she can fully embrace both her love of teddy bears and her admiration for the Oxford comma. When she's not playing with toys at work, she's playing with her baby girl at home.