Finding amazing virtual reality exhibits nearby
Exclusive VR experiences
As I look for novel virtual reality experiences, it’s all too common that I’ll run across something that sounds great, just to find that it’s off-limits to me. Instead of being something you can download, they’re locked down to specific places like museums or special venues, and they’re only available for a limited time. Even being in Seattle I end up missing some great experiences because I’m not at the right place at the right time. Fear of missing out is no joke!
Considering the great titles available at home, you might wonder why anyone would bother with these public experiences anymore. Obviously, some people don’t have access to a headset. Other times it’s just a particularly big budget production or a topic that doesn’t already have good titles available. Sometimes it’s just a spur-of-the-moment decision to do one more thing when visiting a museum or attraction.
Why public VR anyway?
The fact of the matter is that wearing a headset at a venue can transform a visit into something even more impacting. Just like watching movies at a theater is a different experience from watching them at home, some VR content is designed around a specific physical setting. These travelling exhibits might have extravagant set design, flashy lighting, and relevant physical items/artifacts on display. They become part of the overall event rather than a self-contained experience.
It can be great to see these integrated experiences if you are at the right place and willing to pay the potential extra money for them. Unfortunately, since they are tied to real places, it means there’s a limit to how many people will ever be able to see them. They’ll be on display for a time, but unless you can go to the right place, you’ll miss it… forever. Unlike a movie, it doesn’t come out on DVD/streaming a few months later. This scarcity might be important for maximizing revenue, but personally, I’d rather get to see it on my own headset without the theatrics if the alternative was to miss it completely.
How do we find these great VR experiences?
There are plenty of event sites out there, but the only ones that cater to virtual reality experiences are heavily focused on VR escape rooms and other gaming-focused spots. If you want to find out about experiences at museums and special installations, there’s not really any way to filter it. I’m currently working on remedying this. I’ve put together a page with a list of experiences that I’ve come across that are active as of October 2022. My goal is to make this searchable and filterable, but I’m not quite there yet.
For now, I hope you’ll enjoy this list as it is, and let me know of exhibits near you that I should add. They can be free or paid, stand-alone or part of museums and other venues. Use the comments or reach out to me using our contact form to submit new or updated information. I hope it’s useful!
Is there a better way?
Why exactly are VR exhibits just gone forever after their showing? What happens after the doors are closed for the last time? I’ve written an article touching on this if you’re interested. I’m also working on an article about how an organization might go about making their VR available long-term.