Virtual Reality Zoo: Guangzhou virtual reality zoo a big hit with visitors
With over 5,000 animals and 400 different species, the Guangzhou Zoo is a big draw for animal lovers. As it celebrates a milestone anniversary, the zoo's latest addition takes guests into the wild, where they can interact with animals in their natural habitat. CGTN's Mark Fontes reports.
Zoos are fun for the whole family. And the child in all of us comes ready to see some mighty creatures.
"I like tigers."
The Guangzhou Zoo, now celebrating 60-strong years has kicked off 2018 with a brand new addition - the VR Zoo, ushering guests into the world of virtual reality.
GUO YING VR ZOO COMMENTATOR "They can see the VR film, and play VR games with the different animals here."
A completely interactive experience whisks visitors away to the heights of the Himalayas, the depths of the Pacific, across the Gobi Desert, all to see where the zoo's residents came from. Officials say in less than a month, the VR Zoo has become an instant hit.
CHEN ZUJIN CHIEF, SCIENCE EDUCATION DEPT. OF GUANGZHOU ZOO "Our technique is new. The VR Zoo has attracted many people so far, and this is just the first phase. We're very excited for the later phases."
MARK FONTES GUANGZHOU Like with any cutting-edge technology, virtual reality gets better with age. In the case of the VR Zoo, it can take you back to an age that an actual zoo cannot. Such as, the age when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
"I like dinosaurs."
Yes, the prehistoric titans themselves are alive and well here. And lifelike models of them make the offline side of the VR Zoo just as fun, as do more attractions.
CHEN ZUJIN CHIEF, SCIENCE EDUCATION DEPT. OF GUANGZHOU ZOO "Children especially are the ones who love the entertainment programs and the games we have for them to play."
Experts say the second and third phases of the VR Zoo will open in the coming months and will focus mainly on animal research. And they add that once its time to return to the world of actual reality, the time-honoured AR side of the Guangzhou Zoo offers its usual up close and personal encounters with wildlife, which never fail to please.
JOANNA ZOO VISITOR "I like them both. The VR zoo helps my children learn about the animals, the actual one allows them see the creatures in the flesh."
CHEN ZHICHENG ZOO VISITOR "My kids like the virtual zoo, but I prefer the real thing. It's more thrilling and scary, also more fun."
Mark Fontes, CGTN, Guangzhou.