When I accepted the assignment to review National Parks Adventure in The Dome at the Science Museum of Virginia, I decided to take my mother and my 10-year-old son along for the fun. I had no idea it would be so interesting to consider a multi-generation perspective about some of the most spectacular sights our country has to offer.
Narrated by the talented Robert Redford, the film is the most recent high-definition film to play at The Dome. National Parks Adventure showcases select natural treasures, and comes to town just in time for the 100-year celebration of National Parks, “The Best Idea for America.” If you aren’t familiar with the background of how the National Parks began, you will be treated to an engaging mini-history lesson during the course of the film.
The breathtaking scenery is a sight to behold. Forces of nature, moments of light-hearted humor, and action-packed outdoor adventure, such as white water rafting, mountain biking, and ice climbing are showcased during the film. Many larger-than-life attractions are featured from the wide scope of phenomenal rock formations to the absolute power of Niagara Falls. Even the tiny visual details of wind erosion or a close-up look at smooth, flat, shimmery pebbles in a crystal clear pool of water are captured brilliantly.
The film weaves a tale of three modern-day explorers (Conrad Anker, world-class ice, mountain, and rock climber; Max Lowe, adventurer, storyteller, filmmaker, and photographer; and Rachel Pohl, adventurer and artist) embarking on a road trip for adventure. Although these professional explorers take time to soak in the scenery, it is evident that they authentically become part of the landscape, truly interactive and participating with nature. For all intents and purposes, in this film, audiences will not see much man versus nature, but instead, the two are intricately intertwined.
A film at The Dome is a multi-sensory experience, featuring amazing cinematography, as well as impressive multi-surround sound. Participants can hear a babbling brook, the chaos of thunderous rapids, or a prairie dog’s unique chirp, alerting the other dogs to danger. Along the way, if you wonder if you hear some familiar voices singing, your hunch is correct. Legendary artist Bruce Springsteen, as well as Brandi Carlile, Mechanicsville native, Jason Mraz, and others lend their talents with nature-themed compositions including the iconic Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” sung by Springsteen and Little Feat.
One of my mother’s places to see on her bucket list is the Grand Canyon. As we left the movie, she exclaimed, “It is like we were right there!” Later, she told me that she does not think she could travel as far away as the Grand Canyon at this stage in her life and was enthusiastic to be able to visit in this way. In contrast, my 10-year-old had a hard time expressing which park was his favorite. He said he wanted to visit them all and his bucket list was longer when we left. It is interesting to reflect on these perspectives of my mother being happy with a virtual visit, and my 10-year-old being so confident that he is going to have all of these adventures, with his life ahead of him. As for me, I never had these types of trips on my list, although now at least three parks have been added to it.
The film ties together the conservation efforts of our forefathers and impresses upon us the need to keep the legacy of National Parks and the importance of keeping conservation going. Of course, it would be amazing to visit a National Park this summer. But if that kind of trip is beyond your family today, see National Parks Adventure in The Dome at Science Museum of Virginia.
At under an hour, National Parks Adventure is ideal for all ages. Little ones will be mesmerized by the images and some comedic animal antics. There are a few intense scenes including a roaring wild fire. To accommodate families with special needs, The Dome features a rear-window captioning system and handicap accessible seating.
Tickets for films in The Dome are purchased separately from admission to the Science Museum of Virginia. Check out Science Museum of Virginia for tickets and showtimes.