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SimEx-Iwerks and Alcorn McBride Technology Create 4D Antarctic Experience at Detroit Zoo


SimEx-Iwerks, leading creator of special effects experiences, has chosen Alcorn McBride technology to deliver a 4D Antarctic experience at The Detroit Zoo.

The attraction at the newly opened Polk Penguin Conservation Centre, tells the extraordinary survival story of explorer Ernest Shackleton and his team after their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in pack ice.

Visitors experience the attraction aboard a recreated Endurance. Video and images are projected onto the walls of the down-leading ramps and the experience is further enhanced with effects such as mist, hurricane fans and a snow machine.

“We recreated the ship as authentically as possible, placing the visitors on deck and illustrating the ordeal of the journey – the weather, the rough seas, the animals and the icebergs they observed, ” comments SimEx-Iwerks Creative Director, Richard Needham.  “Visitors not only see the 360º content but also feel the wind, sea spray and a light dusting of snow.”

Projection mapping was provided by Alcorn McBride because, says Needham, they ‘live and breathe synchronisation. Alcorn McBride is always on the top of my list of solutions.’

“The zoo is very happy with our choice of equipment, ” he adds. “They realize that A/V Binloop Uncompressed and 4K projection make up a world-class delivery system.”

Alcorn McBride’s V16+ show controller runs all the Alcorn equipment via a pair of Alcorn McBride ShowTouch touch panels, one for each projection-mapped space.

The Detroit Zoo was the first zoo in North America to have a Penguinarium. The ground-breaking 33, 000ft² Polk Penguin Conservation Centre is home to over 80 penguins from four species in the deepest penguin aquatic environment anywhere outside their native Antarctic waters. Visitors descend 25 feet to special tunnels where they can view the penguins’ underwater antics.

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