18 Extraordinary Experiences Open Now & Coming Soon: June 2023

Each month we share our edit of the experiences opening around the globe that we think are truly extraordinary. Here’s what we think is worth checking out in June 2023.

If you’re working on an Extraordinary Experience you’d like us to consider for a future edition, please share it HERE!

1. Virtually Versailles

Headline and above image; Paul Klee, peindre la musique », © Adagp, Paris 2023 © Eric Spiller; Virtually Versailles, Hong Kong

Open: until 9 July
Location: Hong Kong
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment

If you’ve always harboured dreams of visiting French jewel Versailles, then head to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum for the next best thing. Virtually Versailles brings the splendour of the palace to life via an immersive exhibition that has bold ambitions to go global. The experience begins with an introduction to the palace from Louis XIV, followed by the chance to marvel at 3D reconstructions from its time as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

During the experience you’ll be spritzed with ‘Royal Delight’, an orange-blossom perfume inspired by Louis XIV’s favourite flower, created exclusively for the event. Those keen to explore the palace al fresco can hop on a connected bike and cycle through the French-style gardens of the Grand Trianon before heading back inside to pore over Versailles’ impressive art collection with the help of a VR headset.

2. The Caribbean Flavour Rooms By Bacardi

The Caribbean Flavour Rooms by BACARDÍ

Opening: 3-4 June
Location: London, UK
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment
, F&B

We love drinking cocktails, but we love the idea of walking through a deconstructed one even more. Luckily for us, the brains at Bacardi have launched a multi-sensory experience in London inspired by the flavours in its Caribbean Spiced rum. Whisking visitors to the tropics, the experience takes place across a trio of sensorial rooms designed to bring the different notes in the rum to life through sight, sound, smell, and taste.

The voyage begins inside the Clouds of Cinnamon and Vanilla room, a dream-like space infused with aromas of sweet spice. It continues in the Coconut Chamber (yes, really), where you’ll be transported to the warmth of coconut-scented Caribbean shores, before entering the Pineapple Portal, an Insta-worthy mirrored infinity room that leads onto a beach bar serving Bacardi cocktails and playing sets from top London DJs.

3. Prison Island – Beat The Bars

Prison Island – Beat The Bars, Dubai

Opening: Open now
Location: Dubai, UAE
Experience Sector: Escape Room

Dubai has a shiny new escape-room experience in the form of Prison Island – Beat the Bars, located a half-hour drive from the city at City Center Al Zahia in Sharjah. Aimed at over 8s, the prison features a plethora of tasks that require quick thinking, logic and teamwork in order to beat the bars and escape your sentence.

Each of the jail’s 26 cells comes with its own conundrums that pit teams against each other as they seek to be the first to make their bid for freedom. The Dubai experience, which takes around three hours to complete, follows on from the concept’s successful launch in Abu Dhabi and is an ideal activity for those seeking an indoor escape during the hot summer months.

4. The Art Of The Brick

The Art Of The Brick, Atlanta

Open: until 31 August
Location: Atlanta, US
Experience Sector: Immersive art

Atlanta-based Lego lovers listen up! Travelling exhibition The Art of the Brick is in your hood. The show is the brainchild of former corporate lawyer-turned-contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya, who has turned Lego into an art form. His creations take inspiration from a number of artistic movements, from Pop Art to Surrealism. The Atlanta leg of the tour is the first to feature a digital element via immersive rooms.

These spaces allow visitors to experience Sawaya’s iconic artworks with video mapping, 360-degree projections and moving installations. You can expect everything from human figures and expertly assembled landscapes to toys and games. Among the must-see pieces is Sawaya’s best-known work, Yellow, a six-foot-five sculpture of a male figure ripping open his chest to reveal hundreds of yellow Lego bricks that reflect their warm golden glow onto the gallery walls.

5. F1 Grand Prix Showcase

F1 Grand Prix Showcase, Brazil

Open: until 5 November
Location: Brazil – various locations
Experience Sector: Sport

Petrol heads, this one’s for you. Aston Martin has embarked on a six-month tour of Brazil to bring the thrills and spills of Formula One to a new generation of fans. Taking place in some of the country’s largest cities, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Porto Alegre, the immersive F1 experience is popping up in shopping malls across Brazil and is free to enjoy.

Central to the experience is a replica model of Aston Martin’s F1 Grand Prix car, which lovers of the sport can peruse up close before stepping inside a racing simulator boasting a multi-screen display to try to set the fastest lap time around the Interlagos circuit in the AMR22, with prizes on offer for the speediest drivers, including tickets to the São Paulo Grand Prix in November for the best overall time during the roadshow.

6. Colors Festival

Colors Festival, London & Manchester

Open: until 9 July
Location: London and Manchester, UK
Experience Sector: Immersive art

Hazing blazed a bright trail in Paris, Colors Festival is coming to the UK, where it will make both Manchester and London its home. For the Manchester leg, the street art extravaganza will be showcased at the Regent Retail Park, an 800 square metre space in Salford, while In London the festival will take over Camden Market’s Hawley Wharf.

Featuring works from over 40 established and emerging street artists from around the globe spanning a variety of style and mediums, the festival features street graffiti, powerful paintings, inspiring illustrations and dynamic photography. Put on by Fever, the show is organised by colour, with large-scale rooms dedicated to red, pink, blue and ultraviolet-based works. The red section is reserved for local artists, highlighting the festival’s commitment to supporting and celebrating home-grown talent.

7. Spellbound By Sweden

Opening: Open now
Location: Sweden and via audio
Experience Sector: Transformative travel

If you’re keen to be transported to an enchanting Swedish forest from the comfort of your armchair, then this immersive audio experience might be for you. The brainchild of Visit Sweden, it sees celebrated author John Ajvide Lindqvist – Sweden’s answer to Stephen King, best known for his spine-chilling tome Let the Right One In – narrate a supernatural audio story called Kin, which takes place in a forest.

Told in the first person, we first meet the protagonist near the remains of an ancient earth pit used to make charcoal, who travels deep into the forest, discovering a mysterious nymph along the way. The best way to enjoy the story is at one of Sweden’s many national parks. The goal of the tale is to introduce listeners to Swedish folklore in the setting in which the local myths were born.

8. Miroir Miroir

Mirroir Mirroir, Canada

Open: until 18 June
Location: Montreal, Canada
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment

June marks your last chance to catch Moment Factory’s exciting immersive art experience in Montreal. Taking place at Place Bonaventure, Miroir Miroir combines scenography, lighting design, original music and interactivity to create a multimedia experience that invites attendees to explore the hidden depths of the imagination. During the experience thoughts generate poems, words become light, and gestures can spark a transformation.

Across five immersive installations inspired by memory, imagination, dreams and consciousness, visitors are invited to create their own unique engagement with the experience. Everyone begins by selecting one of three doors, and from there, visitors can explore the experience at their own pace. During the design process, Moment Factory tapped into inspiring themes and their in-house R&D to express the artistic vision of their creative and technical teams. (Want to learn more about how Moment Factory create immersive magic? Creative Director Catherine Turp will be speaking at this year’s World Experience Summit. Early Bird tickets end this Friday 24 May!)

9. Disney Elemental Experience

Disney Elemental Experience, US

Open: until 18 June
Location: US – various locations
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment, Film

To celebrate Disney’s new Pixar smash, Elemental, which hits cinemas on 16 June, the entertainment giant has created an interactive experience that will be popping up at shopping malls across the US, starting at New York City’s Brookfield Place and ending in San Francisco, via Chicago, Dallas and LA. The immersive experience invites fans to dive into the Elemental universe via themed environments focusing on the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.

Free and open to all ages, the experience includes themed activities like photo and video opps, a chance to draw with Pixar artists, and a movie-ticket grab in a wind tunnel, alongside giveaways and exclusive film content. The flick centres on Ember, a quick-witted, fiery female whose friendship with the more fluid, go-with-the-flow Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.

10. Phoenix des Lumières

Phoenix Lumieres, Germany

Open: until 31 December
Location: Dortmund, Germany
Experience Sector: Immersive art

Paris’s L’Atelier des Lumières has a snazzy sibling in the form of Phoenix des Lumières in Dortmund, which is currently showcasing a pair of immersive art experiences exploring the lives of two of the leading lights of Vienna’s Succession movement: Gustav Klimt and the lesser-known Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Produced by Culturespaces, the shows take visitors on a journey through a hundred years of Viennese painting via portraits, landscapes and nudes. Like Klimt, Hundertwasser abandoned perspective, opting instead for irregular forms.

He was so the anti the straight line, he declared it: “a man-made danger to all creation ”. His paintings are explosions of colour inspired by the elements, which lend themselves perfectly to being given the immersive treatment via cutting-edge projection mapping tech set to an original score. Over in the Klimt room, expect lashings of swirling gold and kisses aplenty.

11. London Design Biennale

London Design Biennale, UK

Opening: 1 – 25 June
Location: London, UK
Experience Sector: Museums & Galleries

The fourth edition of the London Design Biennale will shine a light on co-creation. Under the theme: The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations, the event, led by Holland’s Nieuwe Instituut and its artistic director Aric Chen, will bring together some of the world’s most ambitious and imaginative designers, curators and design institutes. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, participants from 50 countries will be invited to imagine and enact new forms of international cooperation through the medium of design across 45 pavilions.

Humanoid robot Ai-Da will be making a cameo at the event, while new concept Eureka will showcase design-led innovation from the UK’s leading research centres, featuring cross-disciplinary invention and creativity from academics and problem solvers. The area will explore a wide range of topics, from ageing and city planning to the emotional significance of our oceans.

12. Monopoly Dreams

Monopoly Dreams, Australia

Opening: Mid-2023
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Experience Sector: Competitive socialising

London may have Monopoly Lifesized, but Melbourne has gone one better with the arrival of Monopoly Dreams, an AU$20-million dollar, 1,650-square metre Monopoly-themed indoor theme park, which is slated to launch in the city’s Central district in mid-2023. The pleasure palace is only the second of its kind in the world, and will be twice the size of the original Monopoly Dreams, which launched in Hong Kong in 2019.

After passing Go at the entrance, visitors get to explore two themed areas: Monopoly City and Monopoly Mansion. Across the zones, which are inspired by Melbourne and feature trams and street art, are 15 attractions including a 4D theatre and a chance wheel. Gamers can compete for Monopoly money that can then be spent at the park’s café and shop afterwards.

13. House of Hype

House of Hype, Dubai

Opening: Mid-2023
Location: Dubai, UAE
Experience Sector: Metaverse, themed attractions

From the minds behind trippy immersive theme park AYA, House of Hype is the ‘phygital’ immersive experience Dubai has been waiting for. Slated to open inside Dubai Mall in Downtown Dubai, House of Hype will boast a series of rooms with brightly lit displays begging to be snapped for the Gram.

Designed to allow people to experience the metaverse IRL, the futuristic theme park, set across 100,000 square feet, is a celebration of hype culture, with a focus on fashion, games, music and NFTs, where visitors can play, shop and gawp at NFT art. Bigger (and by the sounds of it better) than AYA, it offers more in the way of hands-on experiences and aims to narrow the gap between the metaverse and reality.

14. United States Marshal Museum

United States Marshal Museum, US

Opening: 1 July 2023
Location: Arkansas, US
Experience Sector: Museums

After 16 years of fundraising, design, construction and installation, the United States Marshals Museum will finally be opening its doors on 1 July at Fort Smith, a world-class facility on the banks of the Arkansas River. Featuring eye-catching design across the 53,000 square feet space, the museum will tell stories of justice, integrity and service from the lens of the Marshals who have served in the US.

The museum will feature immersive exhibits and interactive storytelling, from tales of the Western frontier to the challenges of being a Marshal today, offering a rare insight into the life and work of these law enforcement agents who execute orders for the federal government. The museum’s mission is to create a national centre of heritage and legacy, disseminate knowledge, and inspire appreciation for the accomplishments of the US Marshals Service.

15. Nerja Caves VR Experience

Virtual Reality room at the Nerja cave

Opening: Open now
Location: Nerja, Spain
Experience Sector: Attractions, VR

Proving that ancient spaces and cutting-edge tech can happily cohabit, Spain’s largest virtual reality hub has opened inside the Cueva de Nerja, a series of naturally formed caves in the hills of Maro in Andalusia, which boasts wall paintings dating back over 40,000 years. The new immersive experience at one of the most visited attractions in Malaga allows visitors to see spaces that are closed off to the public for safety reasons.

You can also ‘touch’ cave art from the largest collection of prehistoric works in Europe, which has thus far been off limits for conversation reasons. The 360-degree VR tour takes travellers on a journey through the Maro waterfall, the geological formation of the cave and the ancient cave paintings featuring images of a Neanderthal man. The experience includes a virtual tour of the galleries open to the public for those with mobility issues.

16. Paddington Immersive Experience

The Paddington Bear Experience

Opening: Summer 2023
Location: London, UK
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment

Having played a starring role in the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last summer, Britain’s favourite marmalade-loving bear is getting the immersive treatment via a dedicated experience in central London this summer. The Paddington Bear Experience will unfold across a 26,000 square foot space in County Hall and will feature a series of interactive rooms that visitors can snoop around in, with production design from Immersive Octopus.

Written by Katie Lyons, the experience is built around helping the Brown family prepare for a special occasion at 32 Windsor Gardens, where Paddington settles after arriving from Peru, and will include an interactive mix of games, live performance and video content suitable for all ages. We love the sound of the themed food offering, which we hope includes marmalade sarnies.

17. Marc Chagall & Paul Klee Retrospectives

Paul Klee, peindre la musique », © Adagp, Paris 2023 © Eric Spiller

Open: until 7 January 2024
Location: Paris, France
Experience Sector: Immersive art

Two of the great masters of modern art go head to head at L’Atelier des Lumières in Paris in a pair of shows that shine a light on both their well-known works and lesser-known gems. We’re not sure if you’ll be lucky enough to see any violin-playing goats in the Chagall retrospective, but we can assure you that it will provide a fascinating insight into the life of the Russian-born artist celebrated for his dream-like works inspired by his nocturnal meanderings.

Chagall’s whimsical paintings lend themselves to floating across gallery walls with the help of the cutting-edge projection-mapping tech we’ve come to expect from L’Atelier des Lumières. Over in the Klee room, you’re taken on a deep dive into the life of the Swiss artist who dabbled with a range of styles and techniques during his career, from Cubism and Expressionism to Surrealism. Be prepared for a visual feast.

18. The Little Mermaid Experience

Little Mermaid immersive retail experience

Opening: 3 June until 4 September
Location: Atlanta, US
Experience Sector: Experiential retail

To mark the release of The Little Mermaid live-action film, produced by Hamilton creator Lin Manuel-Miranda, experiential toyshop Camp in Atlanta is opening an immersive retail experience inspired by the film. The 5,300-square-foot underwater world will launch on 3 June at Camp’s new store in Georgia, where shoppers can immerse themselves in live music, puppetry and magic.

Latching onto the portal concept, visitors enter the space via a ‘magic door’ where they will be greeted by musicians playing popular hits from the film including Under the Sea, Part of Your World and Kiss the Girl. The experience will also feature reimagined versions of Ariel’s grotto, Ursula’s dark lair and King Triton’s Palace, where you can sit on his throne and control the seas with his trident. There’s also the chance to explore an abandoned shipwreck.