Millions of parents and their children have experienced the joy of Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown’s classic children’s story with its colorful visuals and simple but deep meaning.
The story is now coming to life in a massive way with a brand-new immersive experience. But anyone interested in going will have to head to Canada.
Goodnight Moon opened this week as a digital experience at the TELUS Spark Science Centre in Calgary, Alberta. It will run through February 2023.
Wise’s famous great green room leaps off the pages and onto the walls of a 3,000-square-foot pixelated space. Guests can play and interact with the beloved characters and objects from the book during the 8-minute presentation.
“We wanted to create an experience that brings back the magic for the millions of people who have read this book to their children over the past 75 years,” said Mary Anne Moser, president and CEO of the science center.
The digital experience is part of a larger project where visitors can learn about the science of sleep and dreams.
“This classic in particular is a perfect jumping-off point to learn about a good night’s sleep,” Moser said. “The science of why we sleep and how to sleep better is the pillow talk we hope this experience will inspire.”
Wise’s story is the tale of a bunny preparing to go to sleep for the night and saying goodnight in rhyming fashion to all of the objects in his room. The passage of time is marked by the position of the moon in each frame, ultimately ending in the bunny wishing goodnight to the moon.
The 32-page book is filled with bold colors that are translated on the walls of the science center for the digital display.
The experience plays on a repeating loop in a room set aside for the project. Since it is best experienced from the start of the story, guests will wait in a special room until the next story begins again.
Guests can then experience the digital story as many times as they like, taking in different aspects with each playing.
Spark officials are excited for visitors to experience Goodnight Moon.
“To be able to take it and bring it to life and the trust that they put in us as part of celebrating its 75th anniversary,” Roderick Tate, chief experience officer, told the Calgary Citizen. “We feel very, very fortunate, and I think people are going to be very happy and surprised by the magic that this little story has.”
The experience is much like other immersive projects that have become popular in recent months, such as the van Gogh and King Tut experiences. But unlike those, Goodnight Moon follows the book and has a distinct start and finish.
The project is designed for all ages, although, officials warn some could find the experience disorienting.
Spark members can attend the experience for free as part of their membership. It is included in a TELUS Spark Science Centre general admission ticket for all others. Tickets are $26 for adults, $24 for seniors, $22 for students, and $19 for children. A family pass for up to six people runs $90.
Admission also includes access to all of the other exhibits in the science center.
Whether the experience will travel to other locations following its run in Calgary has yet to be decided. For now, Spark officials are hoping those who have loved the book will take in the experience at the center.
“Millions and millions of pixels coming to life dancing in front of your eyes in an immersive environment that you can actually interact with, you know, that’s cutting edge technology and that’s science in itself,” said Tate. “And then you get to layer on that storytelling element which attracts people of all ages, all walks of life to come.”
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