The Illuminarium was too big to fit inside AREA15’s main building. The latest immersive venue to open at the experiential campus just west of the Strip needed 36,000 square feet for its next-level, cinematographically interactive destination, necessitating a building of its own just beyond AREA15’s LIFTOFF attraction.
The Illuminarium’s colorful exterior contrasts strikingly with its surroundings. Inside, a menu of programs is offered in the lobby. Once a program is chosen, a warm-up room, divided by two rows of plush white chairs that would not look out of place in a Stanley Kubrick film, provides a preview of what is to come. Floral imagery from its O’KEEFFE: One Hundred Flowers program can be projected onto walls and segue into an Apollo rocket launch lifted from SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond.
The main course is a larger adjoining sense-in-surround venue with a floor that rumbles with thunder during WILD: A Safari Experience. “Awe-inspiring” doesn’t do justice to the 360-degree scenes and sounds of savannahs and rainforests, where gorillas emerge from the mists of every sightline. Flowers carpet the floor during the tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe, and stars move with visitors’ footsteps as the enormity of our solar system is manifested during SPACE.
All that exploration can work up an appetite, effectively assuaged at companion culinary experience Lumin Café & Kitchen. The restaurant’s warm, inviting atmosphere was designed by the Rockwell Group, and the menu by cuisine visionaries Elizabeth Blau and chef Kim Canteenwalla. It’s the height of casual dining with an outdoor patio and touches of class such as exquisitely prepared burgers, Parmesan and truffle fries, and mac and cheese with Ritz cracker crust.
The possibilities of hosting viewing parties for major sports events in the Illuminarium’s technologically forward environment are well-apparent, and the options for adults-only Illuminarium After Dark: Nightlife Reimagined are inviting. It’s virtual reality without eyewear or vertiginous reactions, and its time has come.
3215 S. Rancho Drive, illuminarium.com
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