From the USA TODAY NETWORK and YouTube, it’s VRtually There, a weekly adventure with three cool VR experiences.
Ride the star to the top of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in VR!
Most Christmas trees, you just have to stand on your tiptoes to affix the star to the top. If you’ve got high ceilings, maybe a stepladder. But what if your tree is 94 feet tall and your Swarovski crystal star weighs over 700 pounds?
You get a crane. A big one.
We ooh and aah every year at the annual lighting of one of the nation’s most famous trees, but it takes over 50,000 lights, a big crane and a lot of hard labor to get the tree up and running. This year’s nearly 100-foot tree is 56 feet wide and weighs over 33,000 pounds. “That’s a big Christmas tree for anybody,” says head gardener Erik Pauze.
But, he adds, “Once we plug it in and turn it on, boy, it’s a great feeling.”
Take the Tiger Walk with the Auburn University football team in VR!
Emotions and spirits run high the last game of the season for any college football team. But for a team as beloved by its fans as the Auburn Tigers, you have to be there to believe it.
And now you can, without even setting foot in Alabama.
“On the bus ride over, there was a lot going through my mind,” said senior cornerback Joshua Holsey. For their final game of the 2016, they were facing off against Alabama A&M. “I was anxious, nervous, happy, excited, sad, all at the same time. It’s been a long journey.”
Those feelings reach their apex when the team reaches Jordan-Hare Stadium
“Tiger Walk is second to none,” said Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn. “It just gets everybody fired up two hours before the game. It’s almost a quarter-mile walk for our players… It’s just a great overall atmosphere to coach in and play in.”
You can feel the energy and pride, from the bus ride to the Tiger Walk to the locker-room prayer to the final burst onto the field.
“That feeling you get of fixing to play a huge game, there’s no other feeling like it,” said Malzahn. “We always talk, between our players and our coaches, just enjoy the moment, these are special times.
Take a gorgeous VR tour of the National Parks Service with Ken Burns!
The towering peaks and rushing waters of Grand Teton National Park. The majestic trees of Sequoia National Park. The lush sawgrass marshes of the Everglades. The whispering forests of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. All protected, for us and future generations, thanks to the National Parks Service.
“Teddy Roosevelt said we’re setting aside this land not for a day, but forever,” says historian Ken Burns, who narrates this journey through four of America’s most beautiful natural lands. “This is for our children’s children.”
“What if there were no national parks?” muses Burns. “Yosemite and Zion would be gated communities … all the property along the Grand Canyon’s rim would be owned by the wealthy and there’d be little opportunity for a view.”
Thankfully, that’s not the case. And wow, what a view.
Take a breath. Take it in. And don’t forget to look around!
Subscribe NOW to VRtually There and never miss an episode!
Be sure to check out our premiere episode, where we launch you from an aircraft carrier and take you walking on a tightrope hundreds of feet above the bottom of an Arizona canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkUKHj9KBgw
See our second episode here, where we take you wing-walking on a plane and skateboarding with X Games pros: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TX03Pm9nO0
Our third episode, for those of you who want the thrill of skydiving without the risk to life and limb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiVB4d6cUxQ
And our fourth episode, where we take you on a trip to a beautiful place you've probably never been: the moon. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OTl86BkPTs
Our fifth episode takes you to party in the desert with the wild and creative minds behind Burning Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp7AbAgC8No
Our sixth episode goes behind the scenes at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and puts you through the incredible trials and tribulations of the World’s Toughest Mudder: https://youtu.be/JIOwpbwlU_U
Our seventh episode pays respect to the fallen with a reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor: https://youtu.be/LFmUWaA0SRo
Our eighth episode catches waves with Ricochet the surfing therapy dog: https://youtu.be/EVDImaur8GE
Watch USA TODAY 360 and VR videos: https://www.youtube.com/USATODAY or http://www.usatoday.com/vrstories/
DOWNLOAD our apps: http://www.usatoday.com/mobile-apps/
Read more about the series and our plans here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2016/10/20/usa-today-network-debuts-first-vr-news-show/92412428/
And here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2016/10/20/take-off-f-18-and-balance-100-foot-cliff-vrtually-there/92450952/