In North Miami, visitors can fire lasers inside a futuristic moon base, go kayaking along a raging river and hit the slopes down a perilous mountain. They’re all simulations at VR Park, a 14,000-square-foot virtual-reality arcade that hosted a soft-opening in late March.
VR Park capitalizes on the current virtual-reality craze across the country, helped by recent films such as the Steven Spielberg-directed “Ready Player One,” VR Park general manager Michael Lombrozo says.
“I think we’re cooler than the movie,” Lombrozo says with a laugh. “Not everyone can afford to do VR at home, so we’re offering unique simulations that you can’t do in Florida.”
VR Park offers more than 50 virtual-reality games, which players can access by wearing a VR headset that transports wearers into a fantasy universe populated by monsters, roller coasters and dangerous missions. They include a Virtual Reality Arena, a large room where players can compete in group settings. The game? “Monster Lab,” a shooting simulator set at a laboratory at the North Pole where scientists have transformed into monsters.
Other diversions include the Extreme Machine, a stationary VR ride that features 27 games, such as go-kart races, police-car chases and downhill skiing; and a VR escape room, a murder-mystery game in which players must solve clues to discover the killer’s identity.
“The graphics are better than ever right now, which is probably why VR is so popular,” says Lombrozo, whose VR Park hired a Russian game-design company, Playground, to create the VR simulations.
VR Park is part of Dezerland, a 150,000-square-foot sports and entertainment complex that will host a grand opening on June 1. The park, owned by multimillionaire real-estate developer and car collector Michael Dezer, also includes the Miami Auto Museum, which displays cars driven in the “Batman” and James Bond films. Dezer also operates the Dezer Auto Museum at XTreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale.
The arcade isn’t South Florida’s first foray into virtual-reality parks. LoftVR Arcade, which opened last November in Wynwood, features 17 games, while SVR Arcade in Palmetto Bay offers 12 games.
VR Park is open 2-8:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at Ninja Lounge, 14401 NE 20th Lane, in North Miami. Each virtual-reality game costs $10-$50 to play. Call 786-590-5000 or go to VRPark.us.
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