Adventure Is Out There! Even During Quarantine

Megan Spataro, Staff Writer

After being trapped inside my house for weeks on end, doing the same daily tasks, life has begun to feel like one big blur. There is no rush to get to school in the morning, no time to socialize with friends in person, and no opportunities to explore because almost all shops, restaurants, trailheads and parks are closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. I needed a break from this monotonous quarantine life and so I found a temporary way to escape through Google’s The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks 360 VR Film. At the beginning of this interactive experience, it did have a disclaimer reading, “This 360 video is best experienced with headphones on your mobile device or with Google Cardboard,” which explains some of the glitchy features and videos; but overall, I was very impressed with the technology and combination of videos, commentary from expert park rangers, and diagrams that completed the experience.

During this one video experience, you are able to travel to the Kenai Fjords, Hawaiian Volcanoes, the Dry Tortuga, the Carlsbad Caverns, and Bryce Canyon, all from the comforts of your very own couch. Some of the coolest features I found were being able to kayak through icebergs, explore lava tubes, take a helicopter tour over volcanoes, snorkel in a colorful reef, experience life as a bat and get a panoramic drone view of Bryce Canyon and its beautiful red rock sculptures.

I loved that this video was interactive, highly informational, and soothing. There were many different features to check out, with a 360 degree view at all locations, interactive maps that could display how the size of a glacier had changed over time, and up-close videos with wildlife life like bats, birds, fish and more! Throughout the experience, there are opportunities to dive deeper and explore, or move on to the next location, giving you the ability to choose your own adventure and spend as much time as you would like at each place. This experience could take you ten minutes or you can make it an hour experience. It is all up to how you want to interact with the resources they have provided. With specialized rangers at each location there is tons of information you can learn if you take the time to listen. I learned that the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico have the largest cave in North America, which is larger than six football fields! I also learned how soothing it is to listen to the crashing of ocean waves or to the pitter patter of rain falling in the Hawaiian rainforests, so if you are looking for a relaxing experience, this is the place!

If quarantine life is starting to drive you crazy or you have been missing being able to travel or even just get outside, this is the thing for you! I would highly recommend Google’s Hidden Worlds of the National Parks 360 VR Film, and even though there are a couple glitches and some videos are lacking in quality, it is still an interactive, informational, and calming experience that is well worth your time!