Every wondered what it would be like to go on a safari or walk on the surface of the moon? You’ll get a glimpse of those adventures when a new entertainment venue opens inside Navy Pier in early 2023, bringing a rotating selection of immersive experiences to the lakefront attraction.
The entertainment company Illuminarium Experiences plans to build a 32,000-square-foot Illuminarium—which uses huge projections and soundscapes to create virtual reality-like exhibits—inside of the Pier’s Crystal Gardens space, a six-story glass atrium currently home to a botanical garden and some fancy fountains. Visitors will get to walk through a a series of narrative exhibits that aim to place viewers “inside” the story without using headsets or typical virtual reality gear, thanks to the use of special camera projections and other technology, which is already in use at an Illuminarium location in Atlanta.
The inaugural exhibit, called “Wild: A Safari Experience,” will use video content shot in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania on cameras that provide a 240-degree field of view—a wider, more cinematic version of the 210-degree human field of vision, complete with sounds and scents.