Should you wish to sit next to Empress Elisabeth, fly above Vienna, or see what AI can do with Mozart, then I have a few suggestions for you…
Virtual reality and more
(Fly in a boat above Vienna)
Indoor VR experiences
Three indoor attractions in particular place the emphasis on virtual reality and immersion.
- Sisi’s Amazing Journey: a two-part attraction with a documentary film about the life of Empress Elisabeth followed by a virtual reality ride on a boat.
The VR part is simply a bundle of fun; you also sit in an actual (small) boat, which moves to add another dimension to the adventure. The monarch herself serves as your fellow passenger and guide.
- Time Travel tour: a sister attraction to the above and much more extensive. A bubbly mix of VR, 5D cinema, moving sets, animatronics and more with a little bit of history thrown in to give it a veneer of education.
This takes you through notable events or Vienna-related themes, but the focus is on the entertainment part of infotainment.
- Schloss Schönbrunn VR experience: a 24-minute cinematic and VR experience in one of the rooms of Schönbrunn palace.
The presentation guides you across the last couple of centuries of Habsburg personalities, with Empress Elisabeth playing a big part (yep, she’s popular!)
(Tip: all three of these VR attractions are included in a Go City All-Inclusive or Explorer Pass for Vienna at the time of writing.)
(Bus and VR tour in one)
These tours combine a real trip around Vienna sights with VR elements at particular stops.
- Future Bus: I enjoyed this one. A small tour bus takes you around some of the more prominent central locations.
At selected stops, you don your headset to find yourself whisked up into the air or transported back to historical scenes created through both animation technology and reenactments with real actors.
- VR Tours Vienna*: a roughly two-hour walking tour I hope to get to soon (I’ve seen them out and about).
You’re escorted through the city centre, stopping at various key locations to put on a headset and view important historical events unfolding around you at the same spot via VR animations. Includes a multilingual audioguide.
Multimedia & immersive
(A paradise for button pressers)
Various attractions and temporary exhibitions now involve clever use of multimedia, VR elements, AI, and/or other technologies to create more immersive experiences.
- Mythos Mozart: a recent addition to the Vienna landscape with five large rooms featuring unique audiovisual environments around Mozart’s life and music.
Art meets music meets technology meets AI in dynamic wall and floor projections, an interactive performance of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and more.
- The House of Music: has various interactive stations. You can create your own Clong sound creature using a VR headset, for example, or conduct an orchestra that responds to your baton movements.
I should add that members of that orchestra make dismissive comments should your efforts as a conductor fail to live up to their expectations. The cheek of it.
- The Technisches Museum: the Vienna Museum of Science and Technology has an awful lot of buttons to press and levers to pull (to put it in old-fashioned terms).
Again, numerous interactive stations…from wheelchair simulators to cable car rides.
- The Retro Gaming Museum: a chronology of gaming tech that takes you from the early days of clunky monitors and cables through to today’s consoles.
You can try out some of the equipment and associated games. Controlling the Pong paddle doesn’t quite count as a full immersive experience, but a couple of VR headsets let you enter the modern era of the video game world.
- Madame Tussauds: the famous wax museum has interactive sections
Take a VR journey inside a 1976 Mercedes 200 with the “Bergdoktor” (from the TV series) as your driver. Or experience a ski jump alongside Austrian ski star, Stefan Kraft.
Vienna has become a stop for some of the immersive and/or interactive exhibitions that now tour the world. For example, the Marx Halle hosts:
- The Frida Kahlo exhibition: an immersive journey through the story and art of the Mexican painter (April 27th to October 5th, 2023).
- Tutankhamen: another multimedia immersive trip, this time through ancient Egypt (October 19th, 2023 to provisionally January 21st, 2024)
P.S. A fair few places offer what we might call a virtual tour of Vienna or of specific locations within the city without the need to leave your home. Here some suggestions.