Ferrari Land in the fast lane
A theme park based around Ferrari, the proudly Italian carmaker, is going to be built in… Spain. Ferrari Land will open at PortAventura on the Costa Daurada in 2016, complete with racing simulators, the world’s first Ferrari-themed hotel and Europe’s highest rollercoaster. The €100m attraction is expected to be slightly smaller than the original Ferrari theme park, which opened in Abu Dhabi in 2010, and is the latest in a growing list of odd, corporate-branded attractions that includes Atlanta’s World of Coca-Cola and Finland’s Angry Birds Land. What can we look forward to next? Cadbury World? Oh wait…
Really see the world
Within a few years, "seeing the world" could take on a whole new meaning. An aerospace company in Arizona has devised a plan that would allow tourists to fly high into the stratosphere, admiring the curvature of the earth from above. Tucked inside a tiny space capsule, passengers would be lifted to a height of around 30km by a helium-filled balloon. After a two-hour sightseeing session, the capsule would be released and glide back to earth with a parachute.
Paragon Space Development Corporation says the trips could begin within the next three years. Unfortunately, ticket prices don’t compare favourably with a traditional two-hour flight. The company has set the cost at $75,000 per person, including inflight champagne and a ride back to the start point, which could be up to 300 miles away from where the capsule ends up, depending on the wind conditions. Although spending that much cash would leave most travellers feeling considerably lighter, they won’t experience weightlessness. For that, they’d have to book one of Virgin Galactic’s rocket-powered flights into suborbital space, which cost a dizzying $250,000 per head.
World history in 100 objects
Can the story of human life be retold using only 100 objects? The Manarat Al Saadiyat arts centre in Abu Dhabi is now displaying a collection of 100 treasures shipped across from the British Museum, which show the development of the world’s cultures across time and space. Items selected for the 100-day-long exhibition include a priceless statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses the Great and a brand-new Emirati-designed car that can be driven with the feet alone, leaving hands free for other tasks. Just like the British Museum in London, the exhibition is free to get into – simply turn up and look around.
Final call: virtual tourism
It’s too early to say whether this will work, but the idea is interesting all the same: a travel show presented in virtual reality, allowing deskbound tourists to experience new places without actually travelling. Christian Wolf has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his web series, which would use high-definition 3D cameras and binaural microphones to capture the way humans hear and see the world, and then guide viewers on virtual tours. There isn’t a pilot episode yet (and you’d really need a 3D screen or an Oculus Rift headset anyway), but you can get a feel for the concept with this Youtube video from Cape Sebastian, Oregon. Plug in your headphones and go fullscreen.
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