Looking to be transported to another dimension? Coloradans can temporarily escape this world and step into a magical, mystical forest at Natura Obscura currently running an extended engagement through September 29 in Englewood, CO.
Despite being at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, the exhibit is in fact, indoors. When you arrive at the Englewood Civic Center follow the signs by going up the main staircase, make a right, and then a left and you will see the admissions counter for the MOA.
Immersive art fans should be forewarned, the exhibit is not as crazy or elaborate as a multi-million dollar TeamLab or Meow Wolf experience, so please keep your expectations in check. The Denver-based immersive art collective Prismajic is working with a much smaller space (and presumably much smaller budgets) but they’ve done a fine job building a charming little world that will take about an hour to fully explore.
The good news is that unlike trying to see a Yayoi Kusama installation, you won’t have to wait in line forever, thanks to the ability to purchase timed entry tickets online. (Those who can’t commit to a time are still able to buy tickets at the door for a slightly higher fee.)
Each visitor gets a black light flashlight they can used to discover hidden poems scattered through the experience and to illuminate and activate different parts of the exhibits and I recommend downloading the Natura Obscura app prior to heading into the museum so you can participate with some of the augmented reality elements.
Even though the staff whipped out a map and explained the layout of the experience ahead of time, all of that knowledge kinda fell out of my brain as soon as I stepped inside. As a result, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t miss out on at least one room, so maybe do a better job than I did with listening to the staff instructions than I did.
The exhibit is extremely kid-friendly with its emphasis on nature and some adorable woodland-type creatures to learn about and discover throughout the space. Adults will be able to read more into the occult undertones of a number of the works.
I felt one of the most compelling pieces in the experience was the cloud swing at the back of the main gallery. Upon sitting on the swing the visitor activates light and sound effects that brings the half room (and an owl) to life.
The other space that I found successful was the Simulacra Vision room, a dark cove featuring a wall of ghostly inflatable stalagmites with a real-time black and white distorted video projection being broadcast behind it.
Overall I found Natura Obscura to be a fun experience and a good introduction into immersive art for both young and older alike.
If you found this guide helpful, or have any other tips to share, let me know by leaving a comment below!