Google looks to have done a great job with The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks, a 360-degree interactive documentary celebrating this month’s 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.
“The U.S. National Parks are full of wonders, but most people don’t get the chance to visit in person,” Google’s Nick Carbonaro wrote in a post launching the new content. “While nothing beats the real thing, for this month’s 100th anniversary … we wanted to see if we could use Google’s technology to help share the parks with everyone.”
Looks like they could.
The content offers breathtaking immersive footage from five U.S. parks, namely Alaska’s Kenai Fjords, the Hawai’i Volcanoes, New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, Utah’s Bryce Canyon, and Florida’s Dry Tortugas.
Each location offers a short video introduction before taking you to a series of stunning 360-degree segments where a park ranger explains some of the features that surround you. It’s beautifully put together, with each location offering plenty of material, much of it accessible via clickable icons that appear as you check out each panorama in its entirety.
Abseil into a crevasse, step inside a lava tube, swim around a shipwreck, and gaze up at an incredible star-filled night sky. With your Google Cardboard viewer up against your face, you’ll almost feel like you’re really there.
If you want to find out more about what you’re looking at, you can also browse the online archive of artifacts from the National Parks’ numerous museums.
“The National Parks are American treasures, and everyone should see what they have to offer,” Carbonaro writes. “We hope that by making it easy for people to get a taste of the wilderness, we can encourage a new generation of parks goers to head out and explore in person. Get ready for an adventure!”