NHMLA: New VR ‘Underwater Experience'

Commune with virtual reality whales and sea turtles at the science museum.

Spend six minutes in the ocean and you might choose to partake in a classic activity, from squishing wet sand under your toes to jumping into a wave to keeping watch for fishies beneath the surface.

Spend six minutes in "theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience" and you're guaranteed to encounter an 80-foot blue whale as you hover near the deck of a sunken ship. You'll also spy a caboodle of jellies, and magnificent sea turtles, and the sorts of strange beasties that live deep within the ocean's darkest abysses (hello, angler fish).

That's a lot to pack into 360 seconds, but virtual reality is up to the tech-cool task, especially when Wevr, the Venice VR studio, is at the helm.

The experience, which is is likely to tempt both VR enthusiasts and ocean lovers alike, opens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles on Monday, March 6.

But, like a jellyfish placidly floating on by, the headset-hot happening won't be around forever. It closes on April 28, 2017, making it one of the spring's gotta-try-it must-dos for many SoCalers.

SoCalers who "...will begin their journey in a lounge area inside the museum gallery space, where they are acclimated to the technology ahead amid glowing NHMLA ocean specimens on display and projections of reef footage."

Five pods await VR adventurers, and a HTC Vive virtual reality headset.

You won't need to act out for your pals, later on, what you saw. Invite them along, and they'll be able to see exactly what you're seeing on a nearby monitor, and in real time, too. (We mean, you can still act stuff out later, if that's your thing.)

A ticket is ten bucks, in addition to your Natural History Museum admission. It's timed, too, so keep that in mind. As for age restrictions? Kids should be 10 or older, says the museum. And if you're under 18, you'll need to have an adult along.

While admiring a mega fluke on a mega whale from the deck of a mega sunken ship is, well, mega, actually squishing your toes in wet sand is also a mega experience, and one that takes six minutes or less (or more, if you're going to really go for the full sand-squishing bliss).

Best visit the VR experience at the Natural History Museum, and then head for the beach, a 30- to 45-minute drive due west, to round out your splashy sensory adventure.

Virtual reality, followed by actual reality, less the blue whale/sunken ship/deep crevice angler fish.

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