Better Than The Real Thing

Walk with the animals via app at the Virginia Zoo.

VAZOO

Virtual reality Virginia Zoo

Enjoy an immersive augmented reality tour at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

Enjoy an immersive augmented reality tour at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

Thanks to a new app, visitors to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk can enhance their experience with an immersive augmented reality tour. Powered by Life Preserve and ECPI, and available at mobile device app stores, the free Zappar app includes 12 stops around the zoo. The app offers facts and insider information on the animal residents, conservation efforts for each species, photos, behind-the-scenes videos, and links to webpages for more information. There are audio and text options—and when your tour is over, you can enjoy it again at home.

Ashley Mars, the Virginia Zoo’s media coordinator, says visitors have been enthusiastic about the new tech so far. “We launched the tour in January,” Mars says. “It was good timing, because many animals spend a lot of time inside during winter months. But with the new tour app, visitors still get to enjoy them regardless of the weather.” She adds, “Our new tiger cubs are very popular, and the tour offers pictures and videos as well as interviews with the people who take care of them.” VirginiaZoo.org/VirtualTour

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