19 Extraordinary Experiences Open Now & Coming Soon: March 2024

March is upon is, which can only mean one thing – spring is springing (in the Northern Hemisphere at least). In addition to daffodils poking their happy yellow heads up through the soil, we’re about to enjoy longer days and warmer nights. All the more reason to make the most of all the weird and wonderful events taking place around the globe this month.

From digital artist Refik Anadol’s debut London show, which explores how technology alters our perception of the natural world, to a trippy Tokyo store offering an immersive experience bordering on the psychedelic, via a whimsical new museum in Kansas celebrating 100 years of children’s literature: our latest edit of Extraordinary Experiences has something for everyone.  

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

19. The United Worlds Summit

Opens: 14 March 2024
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Experience Sector: Immersive Entertainment, Live Events

If you’re into cosplay and find yourself in Cape Town this month then hoof it down to the Gorgeous George Hotel on 14 March for The United Worlds Summit – a fancy dress social with a twist. Expect a night of interactive theatre, socialising, games, puzzles, food, drink and otherworldly performances, including psychedelic piano melodies in the Wonderland Chill Lounge. You can even get the symbol of your favourite fantasy world inked at the tattoo parlour.

Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favourite characters from Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Batman and beyond, bringing Wonderland, Middle Earth and The Wizarding World to life. Be sure to swing by the Neverland Bar for a cocktail shaken up by Captain Hook, and the Wonderland Tea Lounge, where you can chat to the Mad Hatter. Ticket proceeds will go towards the 8th Day of Creation art project at Afrikaburn in April.

18. Refik Anadol: Echoes Of The Earth

Headline image: David Attenborough Immersive Anthology at Otherworld’s venues in London and Birmingham; above image: Refik Anadol: Echoes Of The Earth, London

Open now until 7 April 2024
Location: London, UK
Experience Sector: Immersive Art, Immersive Learning

One of the world’s most exciting and in-demand digital artists, Refik Anadol, has launched his first major solo exhibition in the UK at The Serpentine Gallery in London, which explores how technology alters our perception of the natural world. Best known for his large-scale public installations, Anadol takes coral reefs and rainforests as his inspiration for Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive, which aims to showcase the creative potential of AI.

Given top billing in the show is Living Archive: Large Nature Model, a new commission that wraps the gallery walls in AI generated images inspired by data of flora, fungi and fauna from rainforests around the globe collected using LiDAR and photogrammetry tech.

Operating at the intersection of visual art, science, and tech, Anadol also offers up Artificial Realities: Coral, an immersive sound and video experience highlighting the vital role of coral reefs in the ocean ecosystem. Also on view at the show is Artificial Realities: Rainforest, Anadol’s latest project, which marks the longest continuous generative AI visualisation on nature to date.

17. WNDR Boston

WNDR, Boston

Open now
Location: Boston, US
Experience Sector: Museums

Having already blazed a trail in Chicago and San Diego, immersive art experience WNDR has opened a third museum in Boston. Located in the city’s Downtown Crossing shopping district, the museum – WNDR’s largest destination to date – covers an area of over 17,000 square feet and combines the worlds of art and cutting-edge technology to offer up unique experience featuring over 20 exhibits, from immersive artworks to multi-sensory installations that give visitors the chance to explore art in a novel way.

Among the installations are remixed versions of popular exhibits at WNDR’s flagship Chicago location. Others are new pieces by acclaimed artists, such as Yayoi Kusama’s Let’s Survive Forever. Created by the polka dot enthusiast in 2017, the work features stainless steel balls suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the floor of an infinity room. Also on view are two versions of Brightlogic x WNDR Studios’ Light Floor, and Leigh Sachwitz and flora&faunavisions’ INSIDEOUT, a 360-degree multimedia installation.

16. Immersive Fort Tokyo

Immersive Fort, Tokyo

Opens: Spring 2024
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Experience Sector: Themed Attractions

Proving itself to be at the centre of the Experience Economy vortex, Tokyo is soon to get a new theme park that bills itself as the world’s first fully immersive attraction. Called Immersive Fort Tokyo, the theme park, which is due to open in Tokyo’s Odaiba district this spring, is the brainchild of Osaka-based marketing and entertainment firm Katana. Located on the second and third floors of the VenusFort shopping mall, the 30,000 square-metre facility will house a dozen immersive attractions, alongside six shops and numerous restaurants.

Its founders are keen to offer a fresh take on the theme park model by making all of their experiences fully immersive, allowing visitors to play a starring role in the narratives and have influence over how they play out. Spanning the worlds of film, anime and games, among the attractions at the park are a Sherlock Holmes experience where participants help to solve a murder case; a Tokyo Revengers escape room; a Tales of Edo Oiran immersive theatre experience; and a Jack the Ripper horror experience, which isn’t for the faint-hearted.

15. Day Fever

Day Fever, Manchester

Opens: 2 March 2024
Location: Manchester, UK
Experience Sector: Live Events

If you’ve got to the age where you still want to party but don’t fancy the idea of donning your glad rags in the dead of night and dancing till dawn, then this day rave might be for you. Day Fever comes from the brilliant mind of Line of Duty star Vicky McClure, who is keen for over 30s to relive their glory days without eating too heavily into their weekends. Following on from successful events in London, Sheffield and Glasgow, her day disco is coming to Manchester this month after she was inundated with requests to bring the event to the city.

Running from 2pm until 8pm at New Century Hall, the afternoon bop, which tips its hat to the Bee Gees hit Night Fever, will feature music curated by Jon McClure of Reverend and the Makers, Vicky McClure, and her writer and producer husband Jonny Owen. Attendees are kindly asked to refrain from petting on the dance floor (unless it’s the smooch section), pushing, running and bombing, and acrobatics or gymnastics of any kind (vigorous dancing is encouraged instead). McClure is onto a winning formula, as her previous raves have sold out in a flash.

14. Desert X

Desert X, Saudi Aradbia

Open now until 23 March 2024
Location: Saudi Arabia, UAE
Experience Sector: Immersive Art

Back with a bang for its third edition, Desert X will transform the otherworldly landscapes of AlUla in Saudi Arabia into a canvas for contemporary sculpture. Bigger and bolder than ever, this year’s exhibition, titled ‘In the Presence of Absence,’ challenges visitors to explore the unseen elements within the ancient desert region. New for this year, the show will take place across three locations – the vast desert of Wadi AlFann; the black lava terrain of Harrat Uwayrid; and the historic AlManshiyah Plaza surrounding the AlUla railway station.

Each of the three distinct landscapes will shape the artistic dialogue. Curated by Maya El Khalil and Marcello Dantas, with artistic direction from Raneem Farsi and Neville Wakefield, Desert X AlUla 2024 features 15 new artworks inspired by the dual theme of presence and absence. Complementing the installations is a diverse programme of events including curator and artist talks and workshops for children. Among the artists on show this year will be: Faisal Samra, Aseel AlYaqoub, Rana Haddad and Pascal Hachem.

13. Priscilla The Party!

Priscilla The Party!, London

Opens: 3 March 2024
Location: London, UK
Experience Sector: Immersive Entertainment

Fans of the Baz Luhrmann classic Priscilla Queen of the Desert are in for a treat, as the film has been turned into an immersive event in London. Called Priscilla the Party!, the all-singing, all-dancing show will take place at Here at Outernet on Tottenham Court Road. Based on the hit musical inspired by the film, Priscilla the Party is the brainchild of the musical’s creative team. Directed by Simon Phillips, guests can choose between an immersive dining experience, with the action unfolding all around them, or to sit or stand on the dance floor.

The audience can expect an extravagant display of costumes and a sing-a-long soundtrack including disco classics like Hotstuff, It’s Raining Men, Boogie Wonderland and I Will Survive. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the film, the show tells the uplifting story of three friends who hop on a battered bus in search of acceptance, and end up with more than they bargained for. Transporting partygoers to the Australian outback, the party has been produced by Randall A. Buck, Patrick Bywalski and Rod Gunner with set and video design by Brian Thomson, and choreography by Andrew Hallsworth.

12. Works Of Nature

Works Of Nature by Marshmallow Laser Feast, Melbourne

Open now until 14 April 2024
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Experience Sector: Immersive Art

A sensory exhibition from London-based experiential art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast is making waves at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. Called Works of Nature, the hypnotic experience – the first major exhibition in Oz from the UK collective – aims to give guests a deeper understanding of the natural world and our place within it with the help of five awe-inspiring artworks that see visitors evolve from drops of water into ancient trees, becoming part of the cycle of life and the cosmos.

Having made a splash with their immersive tech at the Sundance Film Festival and the Istanbul Design Biennial, Marshmallow Laser Feast’s new show features artworks produced by filmmaker Terrence Malick, narration by Australian actress Cate Blanchett, poetry by Daisy Lafarge, and music by Jonny Greenwood, Jon Hopkins, Meredith Monk, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Howard Skempton. Using large-scale projection tech to deepen our understanding of the world around us, the show “reminds us that we’re one species in a shared ecosystem and asks what can we learn from nature to safeguard its future”.

11. Heart Strings

Heart Strings, Houston

Opens: 22 March 2022
Location: Houston, US
Experience Sector: Immersive Learning

Also tugging on our heartstrings is a multisensory experience that shines a light on children around the globe, created by Moment Factory in association with UNICEF. Kicking off at Post in Houston, and then moving to Atlanta, Boston and Chicago, Heart Strings takes place across six interactive zones including ‘Heart Beats’, where visitors share their pulse to the rhythm of a song; ‘Living Lyrics’, where they compose its lyrics; and ‘Voices of Power’, where they lend their voice to its chorus. Each zone features stories from kids around the globe to inspire visitors as they help to create a song that will be integrated into the show.

Blending dynamic multimedia installations with informational content, the show’s interactive elements engage visitors through lights and sounds that respond to people’s voices. According to its creators, Heart Strings “harnesses emotion, education and entertainment to engage, inspire and connect all who participate”. Drawing from UNICEF USA’s four pillars of ‘health’, ‘education’, ‘protection’ and ‘respect’, the experience showcases the global efforts of the organisation while inspiring attendees to take action and support the cause.

10. Saga City Of Light

Saga City Of Light, Shanghai

Opens: Spring 2024
Location: Shanghai, China
Experience Sector: Immersive Entertainment

French theme park creator Puy du Fou is behind an exciting new immersive space in Shanghai called Saga City of Light, which is set to open this spring. Created by Puy du Fou’s Asia team, the two-hour immersive experience will feature over 150 performers, 50+ large-scale film scenes, and over 24,000 vintage props across a show area of over 46,000 square meters at the west pavilion of Shanghai’s Everbright Convention & Exhibition Center in the city’s Xuhui district, where attendees will be transported back to 1930s Shanghai.

A US$90.7m project, Saga City of Light will use cutting-edge tech, including 300 bespoke speakers from France, to recreate scenes from 1930s Shanghai, and its guests will be thrust into the limelight to discover how life was in the bustling city nearly a century ago. The space will feature a theatre, themed catering, a café, and cultural and entertainment amenities, and is expected to attract 1.2m visitors each year. Participants can choose to be a director or audience member across an array of unfolding plots and storylines that encourage repeat visits.

9. Darkfield Arcade

Darkfield Arcade, Nottingham and Gloucester

Opens: 12 March until 7 April 2023
Location: Nottingham and Gloucester, UK
Experience Sector: Immersive Audio

Immersive theatre company Darkfield has launched its latest 360-degree audio experience, ‘Arcade’, at a pair of shipping containers at the Lakeside Arts museum in Nottingham and the Guildhall music venue in Gloucester. Arcade is the fifth immersive audio experience from the company, and follows on from ‘Flight’, ‘Coma’, ‘Eulogy’ and ‘Séance’. Set in darkness, Arcade uses the 8-bit aesthetic of 1980s video games as inspiration and features an interactive narrative exploring the evolving relationship between players and avatars.

During the 30-minute experience, guests can choose their own path through a world ravaged by war, guiding their avatars on individual arcade machines. Players can choose a side, win or lose the war, search for a peaceful route, or join a cult promising a better version of reality. The aim is to address deep, existential questions about free will and consciousness. Due to themes of violence, death and warfare, as well as strong language, the experience, which has multiple outcomes depending on the decisions you make, is for over 16s.

8. Arte Museum

Wave exhibition at the Arte Museum, Dubai

Open now
Location: Dubai, UAE
Experience Sector: Immersive Art

Hot on the heels of successful museums in Seoul, Hong Kong and Las Vegas, Arte has brought its digital art concept to Dubai. The brainchild of digital media design company d’strict, the Dubai site, located on the second floor of Dubai Mall next to Galeries Lafayette, marks Arte’s first foray into the Middle East. The opening show, ‘Eternal Nature,’ features 14 digital artworks that interpret “nature’s eternal vitality beyond time and space”, and makes use of light, sound and scent tech to bring its “breath-taking” natural landscapes to life.

One of the showstoppers in the exhibition is Wave, which makes visitors feel like they’re being engulfed by the ocean, complete with the crashing sounds of the sea. Carving a niche as leaders in the digital art experiences field, d’strict is behind what it claims is the world’s first 4D art park. Its Arte Museum concept first launched in 2020, and has since expanded to major cities across the globe.

7. The Rabbit Hole

The Rabbit Hole immersive museum, Kansas

Opens: 12 March 2024
Location: Kansas, US
Experience Sector: Museums

We’re excited about the imminent launch of The Rabbit hOle, a new immersive museum dedicated to children’s literature in Kansas City. Housed in a 99-year-old renovated warehouse, The Rabbit hOle will showcase a century of children’s books. Set across 165,000-square-feet, the literary wonderland boasts over 30 exhibits, as well as a bookstore, print shop, story lab, maker space and resource library. These spaces will offer a revolving roster of arts and literature-based events, including talks with authors and illustrators from across the US.

The intergenerational space has been built by Deb Pettid and Pete Cowdin to connect people to children’s books and their creators in fun environments. The pair started planning the museum eight years ago after they closed their children’s bookshop, The Reading Reptile. The aim was to create one of the world’s most beautiful and original children’s museums where the culture of reading and the wonder of books are celebrated. Next to the museum is a warehouse where a team of artists will design and build the museum’s exhibits.

6. Da Vinci Genius At The Lume

Da Vinci Genius At The Lume, Melbourne

Open now
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Experience Sector: Immersive Art

After a successful run in Amsterdam, Da Vinci Genius has landed at The Lume in Melbourne. Dedicated to exploring the life of arguably the greatest creative genius that has ever graced the earth, Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius is Lume’s most ambitious and immersive experience to date. Mirroring the Amsterdam show, the Oz event will encourage visitors to step inside and interact with two of the world’s most famous paintings: the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, which will come to life on the museum’s walls, giving art lovers an up close and personal view of the works.

Engaging all of the five senses, the chronological narrative, which takes visitors through the streets of Florence, canals of Venice and grandeur of Milan, recreates the ambiance of Renaissance Italy and has been meticulously curated to reveal the more human side of the otherworldly genius. As attendees navigate through the 3,000m² multi-sensory gallery, they gain a deeper understanding of the inspirations, innovations, motivations and enduring impact of the maestro, whose work spanned art, science, architecture, philosophy and engineering.

Central to the Oz experience is an awe-inspiring display of 50 machine inventions on loan from the Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Rome. Created from Da Vinci’s sketches, they include a flying machine that predates human flight by over 400 years. The show also includes the world’s only 360º replica of the Mona Lisa created using French optical engineer Pascal Cotte’s multispectral camera, which is able to scan from ultraviolet through to infrared, peeling back the layers of paint and revealing hidden details of Da Vinci’s masterpiece.  ‍

5. Root For Nature

Root For Nature, Montreal

Open now
Location: Montreal, Canada
Experience Sector: Immersive Learning

Multisensory space Oasis Immersion in Montreal has a thought-provoking new show designed to motivate visitors to take positive actions in the face of major environmental issues. Called Root for Nature, the experience, produced in collaboration with National Geographic, is inspired by the historic signing of the COP15 Agreements last year and features digital arts and informative educational zones that shine a light on the importance of biodiversity and the need to look after the planet. During COP15, Oasis Immersion served as a meeting venue while providing participants with a moment of calm.

According to its creators, Root for Nature is “intended to be a moment suspended in time, offering a moving spectacle that reminds us of the importance of preserving the magic of our beloved planet and reinforcing the will to meet COP15 commitments aimed at protecting 30% of all ecosystems by 2030”. The immersive experience brings together organisations committed to conservation, including the United Nations, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Workshops for Biodiversity, and the Age of Union Environmental Alliance.

4. David Attenborough Immersive Anthology

David Attenborough Immersive Anthology at Otherworld’s venues in London and Birmingham

Open now
Location: London and Birmingham, UK
Experience Sector: Immersive Learning

In other eco-friendly news, living legend Sir David Attenborough is the inspiration behind a new VR experience taking place at Otherworld’s venues in London Victoria, Hackney and Birmingham. The David Attenborough Immersive Anthology lets you delve into a trio of short 3D films the natural historian has made for Sky. The experience sees you step inside your own VR pod and go on a journey that takes in Kingdom of Plants, the insect-led Micro Monsters and Conquest of the Skies, which explores the evolution of flying creatures.

During your journey you’ll follow fungi as they spin intricate webs in the undergrowth, waltz with scorpions at twilight, and encounter carnivorous flytraps, bright butterflies and a towering pterosaurs brought to life by state-of-the-art 3D cinematography and graphics that allow you to feel wings beat and soil quake. Presented in 8K virtual reality and guided by the icon of British broadcasting, according to its creators, the whirlwind tour of nature will “leave travellers of all ages with a newfound perspective of the world we inhabit”.

3. Barça Immersive Tour

Barça Immersive Tour, Spain

Open now
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Experience Sector: Sport, Immersive Entertainment

Footy fans rejoice, as an exciting new immersive tour has kicked off at the FC Barcelona Museum, giving Barça fans the chance to experience the club’s triumphs and dive into the worlds of their favourite players like. Offering a fresh twist on football history with the help of the latest VR tech, the immersive tour at the Camp Nou features a six-meter-tall projection display that delivers a 360° experience, surrounding visitors with pivotal moments of FC Barcelona’s journey so far. According to the club, the scale and clarity of the projections ”sets a new standard for sports museums in Europe and beyond”.

Complementing the immersive room, the museum has introduced a VR experience developed by Univrse Immersive Experiences that allows visitors to embody their favourite players, offering a first-person perspective of the game. Fans can explore a futuristic vision of FC Barça, including an intimate look inside the players’ lockers, allowing them to get closer than ever to their sporting heroes. An installation of 11 vertical display columns, meanwhile, presents the histories of the club’s first teams, honouring the men’s and women’s squads.

2. Painted Pines

Painted Pines, Portland

Opens: Spring 2024
Location: Portland, US
Experience Sector: Immersive Art

From the mind of artist Mike Bennett comes the cartoon beauty of Painted Pines, an immersive art experience inspired by America’s beloved National Parks. Taking place at the Lloyd Center in Portland, the expansive, multi-land immersive art experience takes adventurers on a journey through the whimsical wonders of nature. Partnering with creative agency Kamp Grizzly, Painted Pines will breathe new life into the Lloyd Center’s former cinema space.

The 45,000 square-foot installation features four lands that educate visitors about mammals and wildlife in the form of original new characters created by Bennett. Expect theatrical performances, original scores and star-filled skies. A visual artist and self-styled “public joy creator”, Bennett’s cartoon wood cutouts in his front garden brought much-needed joy to Portland during the pandemic. His quirky characters proved so popular that he built scavenger hunts around them, inviting locals to search for the cartoon creatures throughout the city.

1. Ya-Man Ginza

Ya-Man Ginza, Tokyo

Open now
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Experience Sector: Immersive Retail

We love an immersive store and are particularly taken with beauty brand Ya-Man’s Tokyo space in Ginza, which provides shoppers with a shopping experience bordering on the psychedelic. Known for its tech-focused devices and gadgets, Ya-Man’s otherworldly, 450 square metre flagship store is a smartly conceived concept aimed at experience-driven Millennials. Luring potential customers in off the street, the shop includes a futuristic, in-the-round glass column in the ground floor lobby, where the back wall, lined with shifting floor-to-ceiling LED and corona lights, seems sprung from Star Trek’s playbook.

Designed as a kaleidoscopic hat tip to the LED tech central to Ya-Man’s products, this dramatic light column in morphing shades of red, orange, yellow, green and blue forms the core of the store and gives you the impression that you’re bathing in light diffused in multiple directions through a screen of glass designed to resemble human skin cells. Fusing luxury with technology, display shelves throughout the shop are individually lit in such a way that the interplay of light and dark creates the impression that the products are floating. Trippy!