Macy's Thanksgiving Parade prep in VR, World's Toughest Mudder

23 Nov 2016 08:25 22
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From the USA TODAY NETWORK and YouTube, it’s VRtually There, a weekly adventure with three cool VR experiences.

Behind the scenes in VR at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

No matter how much things change over the decades, certain aspects of Thanksgiving are immutable. Turkey. Football. Miserable airports. Awkward dinner table conversation. And of course, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

But like the gleaming feast on your table, the parade doesn’t just happen. It’s work. And the effort that goes into making the parade happen is every bit as interesting as the 92-year-old spectacle itself.

“As a little kid you were watching it on TV, and now you’re in the parade? You get to see what happens, what goes on with it. I think that’s just the best part of it,” says parade volunteer Kostas Chronis, who works to get those massive parade balloons into the air and keep them afloat.

Survive an insane obstacle course in VR at World’s Toughest Mudder!

It takes a person of uncommon strength and resilience to make it through the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour obstacle-course challenge

A person like Allison Tai. She was hit by a truck in 2006. The accident left her with a broken back, pelvis and arm; it took her a year and a half to even wiggle a finger. So how did she go from partial paralysis to impressive feats of human endurance?

“You can feel your chest pounding, because you’re reduced to just basic survival,” says Tai.

The military-style obstacle courses that make up the World’s Toughest Mudder aren’t just tests of physical strength, but of mental as well. Many play on common fears – claustrophobia, heights, electricity, heat and cold – and require fierce determination of will to conquer.

Feed cute baby bears in VR at Out of Africa Wildlife Park!

There is a safari in the wilds of Arizona, with lions, tigers and, yes, bears. Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde does just put the animals on display; it offers up-close and personal encounters with some of nature’s fiercest predators.

Feeding the bear cubs is a special treat. These two cubs were orphaned and are living with caretakers at the park. They eat a variety of foods, but they’re especially keen on oranges.

They may look cute and cuddly now, but when they are fully grown, they will weigh between 400-500 pounds – which should at least make opening oranges easier.

Take a breath. Take it in. And don’t forget to look around!

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Be sure to check out our premiere episode, where we launch you from an aircraft carrier and take you walking on a tightrope hundreds of feet above the bottom of an Arizona canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkUKHj9KBgw

See our second episode here, where we take you wing-walking on a plane and skateboarding with X Games pros: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TX03Pm9nO0

Our third episode, for those of you who want the thrill of skydiving without the risk to life and limb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiVB4d6cUxQ

And our fourth episode, where we take you on a trip to a beautiful place you've probably never been: the moon. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OTl86BkPTs

Our fifth episode takes you to party in the desert with the wild and creative minds behind Burning Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp7AbAgC8No

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And here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2016/10/20/take-off-f-18-and-balance-100-foot-cliff-vrtually-there/92450952/

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