This immersive safari experience is designed to take visitors to Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa — all without requiring a long plane ride.

By Meena Thiruvengadam
May 20, 2021
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If you haven't been able to score tickets to the immensely popular immersive Van Gogh art exhibit happening in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a host of other cities this summer, you may still have another option to envelop yourself in a different world.

Illuminarium, a new immersive entertainment experience, aims to bring the African safari to life in Atlanta. Illuminarium's "Wild: Safari Experience" is scheduled to open on July 1 and designed to take visitors to Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa — without requiring them to leave the city or spend hours on a plane.

Exterior of Illuminarium in Atlanta
Credit: Courtesy of Illuminarium

Visitors will have the chance to get up close with elephants and lions — members of Africa's famous Big Five — inside a 30,000-square-foot venue designed to immerse them in the sights, sounds, even smells of safari life. They'll be taken to bucket-list destinations, including Kenya's Masai Mara — best known for its wildebeest migration — and Kruger National Park in South Africa.

The exhibit is a way to "transport consumers to many of the most coveted places and experiences on Earth, and beyond," according to the company's CEO Alan Greenberg.

The Illuminarium Safari in Atlanta
Credit: Courtesy of Illuminarium

These types of experiences have been especially popular during the pandemic. "Immersive Van Gogh" is sold out in Los Angeles until October, and organizers added additional tickets in Chicago and Los Angeles to accommodate for high customer demand.

Another Illuminarium experience is planned for Atlanta in 2022, and it's designed to take visitors on a space walk, giving them a chance to come as close as most people are likely to get to setting foot on the moon. Additional Illuminarium experiences are planned for Las Vegas and Miami in 2022 as well. The former will kick off at Area15 in January, while the latter is scheduled to open in the Florida city's Wynwood Arts District come spring.

Tickets for "Wild: Safari Experience" go on sale on Monday, May 24, at Illuminarium.com. Prices start at $30 for kids and $35 for adults, with premium packages available.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.