Soaring Southern Utah VR experience takes flight at Ruby’s Inn
BRYCE CANYON CITY To kick off the summer season, Ruby’s Inn will offer virtual reality motion rides starting s Memorial Day weekend, providing a high-flying view of Utah’s majestic landscape without ever leaving the ground.
The VR experience will debut at Ruby’s Inn with two rides – “Soaring Southern Utah” and “Montezuma’s Treasure Ride” – both created to highlight Utah’s geological wonders, according to a statement released by Ruby’s Inn.
“Soaring Southern Utah” recreates a helicopter ride across the stunning desert landscape and gives a bird’s-eye view of some of the state’s most iconic landmarks, while “Montezuma’s Treasure Ride” is an animated, mine-cart thrill ride inspired by the legend of the lost Aztec treasure.
“We are very excited to add this new experience to our slate of offerings and feel like it’s a perfect fit,” Lance Syrett, general manager of Ruby’s Inn, said in the statement.
Participants will don VR headsets and take a seat in a fully-operational motion simulator that is synchronized with the sounds and visuals to give the sensation of actually flying either above or through various locations.
With the help of VR technology, guests are able to take a 360-degree look around them and see the stunning sights as though they are actually there.
VR experiences will become a permanent attraction thanks to a partnership between Ruby’s Inn and Innovation Entertainment, a home-grown virtual reality company run by Daniel Thompson and his wife Amber Thompson.
“We realize that most people visit us because we are the closest lodging and services to Bryce Canyon National Park,” Syrett said. “We hope that adding even more things to do like ‘soaring’ will make Ruby’s Inn a destination all by itself.”
Having spent an abundant amount of time hiking through Southern Utah, Thompson discovered hidden places only known to locals and soon realized that many people even those native to the state would never be able to experience all the beautiful places that the state has to offer.
Creating a VR experience to give people that opportunity seemed like the perfect solution.
“Some people worry that experiences like this will discourage others from going out and doing things, but we’ve seen just the opposite,” Thompson said. “People get off the ride and they want to go hike and explore these areas.”
Thompson, the creator and developer of the experiences has long been passionate about robotics and Utah, his home state. A Cannonville native, Thompson graduated from Southern Utah University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and another in electrical engineering.
After stepping out of the virtual tour, those who wish to experience the real thing, including scenic helicopter and airplane tours of Bryce Canyon and the surrounding region, traveling as far as the Grand Canyon, will find those accommodations at Ruby’s Inn.
Ruby’s Inn also offers convenient access to Bryce Canyon and a multitude of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and ATVing, making Ruby’s the perfect home for guests to explore Southern Utah.
“We’re interested in giving our guests the full experience,” Syrett said. “We want to make sure that they can see Southern Utah in whatever way they want, whether that’s on foot, horseback, flying through virtual spaces or flying over them for real.”