Last Updated on March 3, 2022
You might have seen pictures or posts about the Van Gogh experience floating around social media these past few months. I first saw it months ago and was anxiously waiting for it to come to Atlanta, my hometown.
Finally, after months of waiting, I saw that it was coming to Atlanta! As soon as it became available to buy tickets, I immediately purchased them in mid-February for tickets in late June.
A bit in advance, but I did not want to miss this opportunity. The experience is only here for a limited time, and I rather not have to travel somewhere else to see it. Plus, I am a firm believer that the early bird gets the worm!
Having now immersed myself in the Van Gogh experience, below are my thoughts on the experience, along with helpful tips and information for your visit.
So, What Exactly is the Van Gogh Experience?
If you haven’t heard about this experience, you might be wondering what I am talking about. To make it even more confusing, there are several Van Gogh exhibits produced by different companies, each providing different experiences. If you search this on Google, you will see what I mean.
You can click on the links below to discover the exhibits and locations of some of the various Van Gogh experiences that are out there:
I thought there was just one experience when I bought my tickets. I like anything that has to do with Vincent van Gogh, so it didn’t matter to me which one, but I did want to know which one I was going to. After some research, it turns out I bought tickets for the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. Good to know.
Inside the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Imagine walking into a large room with a 360-degree panorama of Vincent van Gogh’s artwork coming to life. Sound, projections, and light create this stunning experience; arranged in a format that chronologically depicts his life and art, you can step into Starry Night Over the Rhône, the Almond Blossoms, the Sunflower Series, and more famous work from Van Gogh.
In addition to the 360-degree experience, the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has adjacent rooms that give more detailed information about his life, including his early beginnings and the influences and family members that shaped the artist and artwork that we see today.
You can learn about his volatile relationship with his friend, Paul Gauguin, and Van Gogh’s psychotic episodes that eventually led to him cutting off his ear and being admitted into Saint-Paul de Mausole asylum.
You can also pay a little extra for the virtual reality experience (VIP price includes this). I’ve never done a VR experience before where you put on the headset, so this was exciting! They also keep the headset clean between guests, in case you are wondering.
The VR experience will take you through some of Van Gogh’s paintings and make you feel like you are really there walking around enjoying Van Gogh’s colorful and vibrant world. It provides a more intimate experience with his paintings and his life compared to the 360-degree experience.
Towards the end of the experience, you will have the opportunity to color your own Vincent van Gogh artwork as they provide you a selection of coloring pages to choose from. Of course, like most exhibits, there is a gift shop at the end to buy some souvenirs – jewelry, posters, coffee mugs, and books, to name a few.
How to Buy Tickets
For the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, I bought my tickets with the Fever App, which I downloaded from the App Store on my phone. You can also purchase the tickets directly on the website, but you have to either provide your email or log in to your Google or Facebook account.
You can choose between a regular adult ticket ($32.20) or a VIP adult ticket ($49). A ticket for a child from age 4 to 12 costs $19.10 (VIP child $35.90). They also offer family passes and discount tickets for students, seniors, and the military, which you can view and select on their website or the app.
Please note that these ticket prices are for the Atlanta location. The prices may vary in different cities. You also might pay more if you go on the weekend.
In addition to the ticket, they charge a ticketing fee. The fee is a bit steep, in my opinion – $15 in fees on top of the two tickets we purchased. They charge you the ticket fee regardless of whether you buy the standard or VIP ticket, but the ticketing fee for the standard ticket is slightly less than the VIP.
We bought the VIP tickets, which gave us access to the exhibit (the standard ticket gives you access to the exhibit), the option to skip the line, a Starry Night poster, and the option to do the virtual reality experience. They will give you a lanyard with a VIP pass to wear around your neck once you arrive.
Also, I found it to be a bit strange that they didn’t initially reveal the specific venue where the experience would be taking place. I bought the tickets knowing that the event was to be held in Atlanta, but the venue’s location was revealed a few weeks later. They don’t do this secret reveal just in Atlanta, either.
Tips for Visiting
- Masks are mandatory inside the exhibit, so don’t forget your mask! We were offered a mask, but I wouldn’t plan on them having a mask readily available.
- Parking was an additional cost (at least at the Atlanta location, but you will probably pay for parking in most cities). The location in Atlanta had pay for parking app on-site for contactless payments. You can visit their website for additional information regarding parking at your particular location.
- Plan approximately 2 hours for the whole experience.
- You can take pictures and video inside, but no tripods/professional gear and flash photography are allowed.
- There are no concessions inside the exhibit, but there are options for food and drink nearby. For the Atlanta location, they provide food and drink trucks outside the exhibit.
- Remember to check your email for your tickets! They will scan the ticket QR codes when you arrive.
- I highly recommended buying tickets for the earliest time available. While there were many people there, it wasn’t as crowded compared to a later time.
My Thoughts: Is the Experience Worth It?
Is the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience worth the visit and price? Yes, and no.
I found the visit unique as I have not experienced art this way before, and I am happy that I went, but I probably would not revisit it unless the exhibit were to add something more to see.
They did a fantastic job providing information about Vincent van Gogh’s life; I did not know many of the facts provided, but perhaps someone with more knowledge of the artist might not be as impressed. Children most likely will find this exhibit fun and interesting, especially with all the lighting and sound effects, and the coloring option at the end.
And as unique and educational as this experience was, there is nothing quite like seeing his real masterpieces in a museum. For instance, we’ve seen the famous Starry Night in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and it is breathtaking to see in person. Having seen this and some of Van Gogh’s other art pieces, I found this particular experience to be slightly underwhelming.
Was paying extra for the VIP experience worth it? No, I wished I paid for the standard admission. While it was nice to skip the line, if you come early, you should not wait too long, and they seemed to be moving people pretty fast to get inside. We also don’t collect posters or do anything with them, so the ones we got are just now in my office closet.
The VIP ticket does include the VR (virtual reality) experience, which is worth doing. However, you can just purchase the standard admission ticket and then pay an additional $5 per person on-site to do the VR experience.
Regardless, I still had fun, and I will probably buy the tickets for their other upcoming exhibits, including the Claude Monet: The Immersive Experience if it comes to or near Atlanta.
Shooting Film at the Van Gogh Experience
This experience is not the friendliest place to shoot film. First, the whole experience is in a low-light setting. Second, you can’t even use a tripod. Third, there is a lot of people that go to this.
A possible solution? High-speed film, but even then, I worried that my images would not come out well. There was so much movement from the people and the projected experience; I was afraid that most of my exposures would be blurry. Despite my fears, I think the images came out decent given the conditions.
Before the experience, I didn’t have any high-speed film in my fridge. Discovering this a bit too late where I didn’t have enough time to order some more, the husband suggested taking the high-speed film out of the disposable underwater camera we previously planned to use at Egmont Key State Park.
It was a good idea on his part because I wouldn’t have thought of it! All the images are shot on Fuji Superia 800, a consumer high-speed film. Probably not my first choice, but it did the job. Of course, we got plenty of video on the iPhone because images do not do the experience justice!
Did you go to the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience? If so, please comment on what you think!