Have you ever felt enveloped by a mesmerizing work of art? The Beyond Van Gogh Immersive Experience lets you stop IMAGINING what it is like to be inside of a painting and actually allows you to become one with the art!

This unique multimedia experience takes the viewer on a journey through 300 iconic Van Gogh paintings including instantly-recognizable classics “The Starry Night”, “Sunflowers”, and “Cafe Terrace at Night”. For months, this all-ages event was one of the hottest tickets in Halifax, and Family Fun Halifax was there to experience it all!

This was an event that I was VERY excited to attend. Not only is Van Gogh one of my favourite artists, but I am always looking for new interesting experiences to share with my 2-year-old son. Toddlers are unpredictable, so I knew that I had to go prepared with snacks and distractions. One rainy, windy day, the perfect day for an indoor activity, we decided to take a chance and go Beyond Van Gogh. By the time we arrived, it was a full-blown downpour. Picture wet jeans and tornado-whipped hair.  But, we did not let this dampen our spirits! We quickly loaded up our stroller and made a mad dash for the entrance. Once inside, we were greeted by the venue’s friendly staff as we peeled off our wet layers and prepared for the unexpected.

The first stop on our journey was the “waterfall room”. This room has been described as “a portal to prepare the audience for what’s next”. You could actually FEEL the dripping, swirling lights move down the wall and across the floor. After a brief moment, our eyes adjusted…we were ready.

We entered the “Introduction Hall” and found oversized gold frames hanging amongst projected images of famous works, inspirational quotes and bits about the artist’s life. This gave context and set the narrative for the main event, the “Immersion Room”.

Entering the Immersion Room was like stepping into a dream. Van Gogh’s art came to life, flowing across multiple surfaces, heightening the senses with its immense detail. The illusion of impasto and globs of 3d paint appeared so real you could reach out and touch them- which people must have been doing because there was a standing rule that you absolutely cannot touch the walls! I must admit, it was tempting.

You could stay and move around the room for as long as you wanted,  the same image would not be repeated for over a half-hour. This was plenty of time to walk around the space and catch different perspectives while the paintings shifted, appearing and disappearing.

Flower petals blew in the wind and scattered across the floor, vibrant coloured paint dripped and oozed down the walls, and portraits of the artist would seemingly wink at you as you passed by. My son, who by this time was fully immersed in his own experience (emergency Cocomelon to the rescue!), would periodically look up and yell, “WOW!” with amazement. This would echo through the room and often receive a chuckle from fellow onlookers. We were all thinking the same thing.

The artwork accompanied by the symphonic soundtrack created an experience that was melancholic, profound, and emotional, not to mention, totally instagrammable; proven by the nearly 40k tags on Instagram! I believe part of the fun of this experience was taking photos within the space to capture your own unique perspective. I watched as influencers posed for photos, couples embraced in front of the camera, and parents and children snapped photos side by side undoubtedly to compare images later so they can relive the magic.

On the way out of the venue, you walk through the gift shop which has everything Van Gogh you could ever imagine: prints, puzzles, mugs, bookmarks and more. This mama got a new canvas bag to commemorate the experience and add to her collection!

I was absolutely correct in assuming this would be an event I would enjoy, and I was also correct in assuming my little guy would check-out before I was ready to go (isn’t that always the way?). So, I am really only left with one question – when can I do this again?!