International Augmented Reality Exhibition Premieres at San Diego Botanic Garden

The new exhibit is premiering around the globe this month and one of the 12 lucky sites is in our own backyard

San Diego Botanic Garden

Take a stroll through one of San Diego County’s most stunning gardens and you’ll be able to enjoy the grounds with an engaging, international exhibit that uses virtual reality (VR) with scenes from around the world.

The San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas is one of 12 outdoor gardens in six countries that will simultaneously showcase a new exhibit dubbed “Seeing the Invisible.” Featuring work by a dozen international artists, the exhibition will allow visitors to virtually see stunning parallels of their surroundings via a downloadable app on their phones and tablets.

While they explore through a lush and green scene at the Encinitas garden, visitors may encounter an image that stuns them with its stark contrast.

“For example, the same work might be set within a group of coastal prickly pear cacti in San Diego and among a lush forest of giant redwoods in Edinburgh,” the Botanic Garden said in a press release.

With the exhibit held in six different countries,

The Botanic Garden called the exhibit the “first of its kind to be developed as a collaboration among botanical gardens around the world.”

“This exhibition allows artists who have not previously worked in AR to expand on ideas that are central to their practice in entirely new ways,” Co-Curator Hadas Maor said in a statement. “In doing so, the exhibition engages a wide range of visitors with contemporary artworks, including a number that address critical issues around the environment, through this exciting new medium.”

Photos: International Augmented Reality Exhibition Premieres at San Diego Botanic Garden

One of the curators of “Seeing the Invisible” said the exhibit comes at an important time as more individuals appreciate natural settings after the coronavirus pandemic forced people worldwide to stay home earlier last year.

“Coming out of the pandemic when outdoor experiences and nature have taken on a new meaning and gravity in our lives, this exhibition represents a fresh way for people to engage with art and nature simultaneously,” Co-Curator Tal Michael Haring said in a statement.

“Seeing the Invisible” will make its debut Friday.

Entrance to the exhibit is included with the price of admission to the SDBG.

Garden members receive free admission. Non-member admissions range from $10 to $18.

SDBG provides free entry to members of other gardens participating in the American Horticultural Society's Reciprocal Admissions Program.

The Garden is also participating in Kids Free October, meaning children 12 and under receive free admission with each paid adult.

NBC 7's Katie Lane helped with this article.

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