Emaar Entertainment launches Virtual Reality Zoo
Launched in conjunction with Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and Wevr, VRZOO showcases endangered species in an interactive, fun and educational experience
Emaar Entertainment, the leisure and entertainment subsidiary of Emaar Properties, is launching a new interactive attraction, bringing guests face-to-face with endangered species from around the world with a new Virtual Reality experience, in conjunction with Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and Wevr, the leading virtual reality studio and content distributor.
‘VRZOO’ is a new attraction that focuses on awareness and conservation efforts by connecting guests with endangered animals in a uniquely immersive platform. Adventurers can explore two different takes on reality, one based on live-action footage, and the other a CGI virtual experience.
The live-action footage explores a 360-degree reality of locations including Uganda, South Africa, Maldives, Egypt, Australia and Mafia Island, where users experience a 3D encounter with some of the world’s most captivating species, all of which are on the brink of extinction. The CGI animation from Wevr’s iconic VR experience “theBlu: Season 1” directed by Jake Rowell, allows guests to embrace the wonder and majesty of the ocean through a deeply immersive room-scale VR experience. Users will explore multiple underwater habitats and come face-to-face with some of the most awe-inspiring species on the planet. Wevr, the award-winning VR studio, has customised “theBlu” for the VRZOO installation at Dubai Aquarium.
Maitha Al Dossari, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Entertainment, said: “Emaar Entertainment is committed to providing visitors of all ages with interactive edutainment experiences. VRZOO is the latest addition, designed to broaden the mind and provide deeper connections to the world around us, using informative and interactive platforms. VRZOO demonstrates our commitment to education as we work toward a safe and more informed future for animals and humans alike.”
Paul Hamilton, General Manager & Curator, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, said: “Educating the public about endangered species is a key priority at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and we’re glad to be able to reflect that mission in the new VRZOO attraction. As we continue to expand our offering, VRZOO is the next step in diversifying our educational platforms. The experience brings adventurers closer than ever to incredible creatures such as African Elephants and Dugongs, in a safe environment, where they can come face-to-face in a way that’s not possible in the wild. VRZOO carries an important message in that all the species showcased could be lost forever in the near future without intervention. It is frightening to think that in our lifetime, some of these species may become extinct and only live on in VR for future generations.
“For Emaar Entertainment, the conservation journey started at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo with the world’s first Sand Tiger Shark artificial insemination programme; with this new initiative, we’re able to build on that, combining interactive technology and education in a fun, new way. We want people to feel a connection to the animals, and hope it leads to awareness and a deeper desire to get involved in conservation initiatives,” he added.
VRZOO is the latest technological addition to the Emaar Entertainment portfolio, following the introduction of the Discovery Channel Shark Week exhibition at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, which features the world’s first interactive digital shark cage and a 20-metre long aquarium demi-tunnel, where the back wall of the tank is made up of LG LED screens. More recently, 80-metres of transparent LED screening and interactive robot sharks have been introduced – making The Dubai Mall home to one of the most tech-savvy aquariums in the world.
Emaar Entertainment is raising the bar for educational entertainment, with attractions at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo already including the likes of King Croc, Kraken’s Lair and underwater experiences including the Shark Feeding encounter and Underwater Scooter, designed to educate and dispel common misconceptions about sharks and encourage conservation efforts.
A range of items that support the conservation of wildlife and endangered species are currently available at The Discovery Channel Store at The Dubai Mall, giving guests a chance to begin contributing to worthy causes directly following their close-encounter experience.
Located near the iconic tunnel of Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, visitors can experience VRZOO for AED 30 for the 360 experience; or AED 50 for the CGI experience, by visiting Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo ticket counters.