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Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience opens in Jacksonville

By Kyla Woodard For Clay Today
Posted 6/15/23

JACKSONVILLE – Egypt officially made its way to Jacksonville, bringing new discoveries and elaborate experiences.

Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience is open and seeks to give guests a …

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Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience opens in Jacksonville


JACKSONVILLE – Egypt officially made its way to Jacksonville, bringing new discoveries and elaborate experiences.

Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience is open and seeks to give guests a look into the past.

“The time when King Tut lived was one of the greatest times in ancient history,” said National Geographic photographer Kenneth Garrett.

Garrett has been photographing Egypt for the past 30 years. Many of the photos in the exhibit were taken by Garrett.

In 1922, the only intact tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings by British Egyptologist Howard Carter. The exhibit celebrates that incredible discovery 100 years ago and gives guests the same experience by allowing them to “rediscover” the king and his tomb.

To begin the experience, guests sit through a short video of the background and history of Egypt and its young pharaoh. After the video, the screen fades to reveal a hidden sliding door for guests to walk through.

As guests walk through the door, they wind through long, dark hallways, reading about the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. In-depth details about the discovery are plastered on the walls.

Step by step, guests are taken through the actions of Carter on that fateful day. From pictures of the steps leading to the tomb’s entrance to the vintage “The Times” newspaper clipping that reported the discovery to people worldwide, guests are immersed in the actions that inspired the exhibit.

From there, guests make their way into the tomb chamber. In this room, they learn about how the burial process for King Tut would have been all those years ago. Screens on the walls tell the fascinating story of his entombment.

The room even features a box in the center resembling the “tomb.” In the box, a projection is shown of what King Tut’s body would’ve looked like.

“They give you a complete explanation of all of the scenes as the funeral procession comes into the chamber,” Garrett said.

As guests leave the burial chamber, they are directed to the “Family Room.” The room details the entanglements and nuances of King Tut’s domestic life. The family tree features pictures of his kin and the intertwining relations that make up his bloodline.

Along with pictures of discovered artifacts, the room also features the interactive game of Senet. The description notes that, as a popular Egyptian game, it was featured on tomb walls and often associated with the journey into the afterlife.

On the back wall lies an even grander depiction. A projection of King Tut’s tomb sits large and proud on the opposite side of the room, making for a great photo-op.

Guests are then able to walk through unique rooms titled “Mummification.” “Between the Linens,” “Verses for Immortality” and “Journey to the Afterlife.”

During the trip through the afterlife, they are led into a spectacular grand 30-minute show that tells the story using immersive technology on 20-foot screens.

“The walls and floors are all moving around you with music and explanation of the journey from life to eternity,” Garrett said. Another room also details future studies and the use of modern technology associated with King Tut and the tomb’s discovery. For the grand finale, guests can experience a virtual reality sure to give them a new perspective on the discovery.

The Secrets of Tutankhamun is a VR experience that takes guests to Egypt by leading them above the pyramids, along the Valley of the Kings and into the treasured tomb. Narrated by Bohdi Sabongui, his voice takes on the role of King Tut as he tells his story like no other.

Guests put on special VR headsets as they sit back in chairs that simulate the slow twists, turns, and tilts of the interactive experience. With the exhibit being open for months to come, residents are now able to step into a time machine and travel back 3,330 years into the past to relive the life of a young boy king and make new discoveries about a country with many hidden treasures. “In an hour and a half, you’ll learn a lot about King Tut, a lot about the new kingdom of Egypt, the whole Amarna Period. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll get so excited that you’ll buy a ticket and go to Egypt and see for yourself,” Garrett said.