Gorilla Trek Virtual Reality Experience, a fully-immersive and dynamic exhibit, is the newest attraction now open at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
The Milwaukee County Zoo is the first zoo in the country to unveil this Experience — a 360-degree live action virtual reality film with motion platform seating, to give an unprecedented look at one of nature’s most intriguing and endangered animals — mountain gorillas in their natural habitat of Rwanda.
Take a seat in a motion platform and put on a virtual reality headset, transporting you to the mountains and jungle of Rwanda. Just move your head up, down, and all around to see more of your surroundings. Then, move your head back as a gorilla family comes to meet you – face to magnificent face. The gorillas are so close that you can see the tiniest details of their hair, to the point you can almost feel it.
“We are thrilled to partner with Immotion to offer this groundbreaking virtual reality experience to our visitors,” says Zoo Director Amos Morris. “This one-of-a-kind experience is yet another means for us to engage guests to get interested and involved in the conservation of species and develop empathy for animals. It’s the Zoo’s hope that this stunning presentation on mountain gorillas will not soon be forgotten by all those who see it.”
Before the film, explore the interactive pre-show, including videos of gorilla behavior, an in-depth comparison of human and gorilla anatomy, and a quiz that matches your personality with one of the gorillas featured in the Experience. And these are no “ordinary” gorillas – no mountain gorillas currently live in human care, so this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
During your journey, you’ll venture with world-renowned primatologist, Dr. Tara Stoinski of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, 10,000-feet up into the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. There, you’ll set out on foot to go deep into the forest and witness the behaviors of mother and baby gorillas and the drama that unfolds when a subordinate male vies for leadership with the troop’s alpha silverback. Can there be two leaders? Will the head of the family give up his role?
This Experience is in part thanks to world-renowned primatologists of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, dedicated to protecting gorillas while helping and educating the people who live near them. There are only about 900 mountain gorillas left in the world, and it’s only through daily protection that their extinction has been prevented. All types of gorillas in the wild are critically endangered and face threats such as poaching, hunting, loss of habitat, and forest degradation. Nearby communities are often impoverished, putting additional pressure on the environment, such as using the forest for access to water, firewood, or crop land.
Gorilla Trek is the latest virtual reality installation from Immotion, dedicated to “edutainment” and bringing together educational content and state-of-the-art technology. Audiences will engage in a compelling story and leave inspired to learn more about mountain gorilla conservation efforts. “At Immotion, we build on the amazing conservation and education work that zoos are doing but take it to the next level — giving guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they couldn’t otherwise have,” said Rod Findley, President (Location-Based Entertainment), Immotion. “People come out of Gorilla Trek and they really feel they have been transported to a different world.”
Take part in the Gorilla Trek Virtual Reality Experience in the Otto Borchert Family Special Exhibits Building, behind Macaque Island. The price for the Experience is $7 after regular Zoo admission, with a $1 discount for Zoo Pass members. Tickets can be purchased on-site or in advance here.
Starting Sept. 6, the Zoo is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through October 31. Admission gates close 45 minutes prior to Zoo closing time, and animal buildings close 15 minutes prior to Zoo closing.