Buffalos grazing at Hayden Valley, Yellowstone, National Park, Wyoming, USA
With VR and 360-degree videos, you can now immerse yourself in environments that give you a real sense of place without actually being there.
Google has been taking advantage of things like VR field trips and virtual reality to transport students to distant lands, but now it’s released a way to explore scenic wonders closer to home: the U.S. National Parks.
Half dome in Yosemite
The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks is a new Google Arts & Culture exhibit and interactive documentary, timed to launch in celebration of this month’s NPS Centennial.
Blue Star spring near Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful has erupted every 44 to 125 minutes since 2000.
AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
The exhibit allows you to take 360-degree tours of some of the most remote and beautiful U.S. National Parks. These include the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, Hawaiian volcanoes, New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, Utah’s Bryce Canyon, and Florida’s Dry Tortugas – recently reviewed in a New York Times travel piece as an “under the radar” national park.
Garden Key, Dry Tortugas, Florida
In the video experience, a local ranger will guide you through each park, allowing you to fly over the active volcanoes in Hawaii, snorkel the coral reefs in the Dry Tortugas, or kayak through Alaska’s fjords, and more.
Expeditions, available here on Google Play, is Google’s virtual reality teaching tool that lets students travel the world with their teacher acting as the guide. The app offers 360 degree and 3D imagery of over 200 places around the world, and allows for a VR experience when used with the Google Cardboard viewer.