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Lassen Volcanic Sandbox will Blow Your Mind

Sandbox at Lassen Volcanic NP. Credit: TrailMob

Sandbox at Lassen Volcanic NP. Credit: TrailMob

Feature

Author: TrailMob
Date: 07.22.16

Earlier this year, Lassen Volcanic National Park installed an “augmented reality” sandbox in the the park’s Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. The sandbox allows visitors to create miniature mountains, canyons, lakes, and streams using only their hands (just a like a traditional sandbox). In a unique twist, however, a projector mounted overhead adds a dynamic topographic map with contour lines and elevation colors in real-time. Check out the video below to see it in action!

TrailMob had an opportunity to test out the sandbox on a recent trip to the park, and it was simultaneously impressive and educational (it puts the sandbox of my youth to shame, to say the least). Or, as the Park Superintendent stated during its installation: "We are excited to offer this cutting-edge technology as a tool for visitors of all ages to learn more about the park … it is easy to learn about things we can see and touch and the sandbox brings a tangible element to abstract concepts."

The sandbox, initially constructed as a Maker Space project for the Tehama County Fair was later donated by its creators, Corning High School students. The project initially received support from Rolling Hills Foundation and Lassen Park Foundation board member, Scott Chandler, and his wife, Dorothy.

To experience the sandbox, take a trip to the Visitor Center, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, check out our short video, or go to: nps.gov/lavo/sandbox.

You may also be interested in checking out some of the hiking trails in Lassen Volcanic.