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Visitors to zoos, aquariums, and museums increasingly want meaningful, immersive experiences to make education more fun and exciting. Augmented and virtual reality and 4D theaters bring exhibits to life and let guests interact with animals, artifacts, and art in new ways. At the National Gallery in London, masterpieces come alive for kids and parents in an immersive AR experience, “The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception,” using the Roblox platform on smartphones. The gallery chose the platform because kids are already on it, and the experience would be more lasting than a native app that would be soon forgotten after the visit. Boston’s Museum of Science offers multisensory 4D films that include smells and physical sensations to make audiences feel like they’re joining a penguin huddle or coming face-to-face with sharks. At the Georgia Aquarium, visitors in VR goggles board a transporter whose rocking motions create the feeling of swimming with ancient sea creatures. And visitors to the Toronto Zoo can interact with AR polar bears, elephants, and giraffes. Zoos, aquariums, and museums must evolve to hold the attention of younger visitors who demand interactive experiences. AR lets visitors be a part of the show, while making the educational components of the visit more entertaining and therefore more sticky. Competition will be fierce among attractions that have the coolest exhibits. What kid wouldn’t want to see 35-foot holographic dinosaurs at the Houston Museum of Natural Science? Immersive exhibits also present a new revenue opportunity. There’s no better souvenir photo than of your family standing next to a polar bear.

Immersive Museum experiences


Extended Reality