As technology continues to advance, it is used in new and exciting ways. While some of these ways are practical and help us through our daily lives, other instances are purely for entertainment value. Things like simulators and virtual reality headsets allow us to experience things we may not get a chance to see without the help of technology. These spots are some of the best in Orange County to experience these unique activities for yourself.

(Credit: ILMxLAB)

The Void
1580 South Disney Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802

As Star Wars continues to gain popularity, it’s no wonder that beloved fans and tech specialists are turning to the franchise to create immersive virtual reality experiences. The Void opened up at the beginning of 2018 in Downtown Disney, offering “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.” This one-of-a-kind VR game allows you and three other guests to partner up and go undercover as stormtroopers while you try to complete a mission. Wander through interactive sets with amazing effects to feel like you’re in the world of Star Wars.

(Credit: Triotech/THE RiDE 7D)

The Ride 7D
630 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 769-6772

The Irvine Spectrum is known for many things: shopping, dining, the on-site movie theater, live concerts, rides and special events. But it is also home to the lesser-known motion experience known as The Ride 7D. Combining a rollercoaster and a shooting game into one, the ride offers different themes to choose from, including zombies, werewolves and more. After donning 3D glasses, the ride starts, incorporating four other dimensions—wind, motion, interactivity and scoring—giving it its name.

(Credit: Joy Chu)

Go VR Gaming
400 West Disney Way
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 829-4189

Dedicated entirely to the virtual world, this unique spot is rather plain to look at when you walk in, but it provides adventures you never dreamed of through the use of technology. There are a variety of virtual reality stations—essentially cubicles of space with a couch for your friends to watch as you play—which can be rented in 15-minute increments. Choose from games exploratory and child-friendly games like Chroma Lab or Relax Walk, action games like Metal Assault or Space Pirate Trainer, sport-centric games like Gladius or Goalkeep, or even puzzle and multiplayer games. Go VR Gaming also has driving simulators in a separate area.

(Credit: Knott’s Berry Farm)

Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park, CA 90620
(714) 220-5200

While Knott’s Berry Farm, famous for its rollercoasters and fruit jams, may not be the first place you’d think of to experience virtual reality, it has one special element that makes it the perfect spot for just that. The “VR Showdown in Ghost Town” is a unique attraction that allows guests to travel back in time to the Old West, where they’ll experience a virtual adventure in an interactive world. Check out familiar landmarks that are located throughout the park and compete both with and against your team to complete goals and gain the highest score.

(Credit: Disney Enterprises, Inc./Lucasfilm Ltd.)

1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4565

While Knott’s may be dominating the field when it comes to virtual reality within theme parks, Disneyland remains the leader in theme park simulation in Orange County. One of the most famous displays of simulation of all time is “Star Tours,” a Star Wars-themed ride that has remained a favorite since opening in the 1980s. Though it now has new adventures (and 3D glasses) it is sure to maintain its notoriety. In the neighboring California Adventure theme park, Soarin’ Around the World (and the former Soarin’ Over California) offer a more gentle simulation ride, complete with beautiful scenery and the feeling of soaring over some of the most epic places in the world.

(Credit: Virtual Reality Game Truck)

Virtual Reality Game Truck
Various Locations
(844) 256-9667

For virtual reality that comes to you, this game truck is the way to go. Available all over Orange County, these trucks are ideal for parties and groups, whether for adults or children. Capable of accommodating six virtual players at a time, all of the gaming takes place within the oversized truck, which features dim lighting in various colors and state-of-the-art virtual reality headsets. The truck is also in the process of developing a virtual reality racing platform that will expertly combine VR and simulation.

(Credit: Paul Wigboldy)

Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center
1650 Sinclair Street
Anaheim, CA 92806
(714) 937-1511

While actual flight lessons can be expensive and time-consuming, learn to pilot a plane locally through flight simulation for an adventure you’ll never forget. The center combines classroom learner with in-flight instruction in the simulator, giving you the ultimate aerial experience from a variety of different vehicles. Choose to pilot authentic military fighter jets or a commercial airliner like the Boeing 737. There is also an area for friends and family who aren’t flying to wait while they watch your progress on a screen.

(Credit: HGS Franchise, LLC)

Howie’s Game Shack
27741 Crown Valley Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
(949) 309-3424

As a gaming center, it’s no surprise that local Howie’s Game Shack has virtual elements that appeal to a wide audience. Offering something for everyone, there are chances to explore PC games and Xbox One adventures, but the VR is the most impressive. Put on a Vive VR headset and prepare to be transported to another world to take part in a variety of games like arcade-style games, shooting games, skill-based games or even horror or cinematic experiences.

(credit: Vanessa Belfiore/shutterstock)

O.C. Indoor Golf
17145 Von Karman Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 354-4653

Created by a PGA golf professional, this unique simulation activity gives sports fans to practice their swing with technology at O.C. Indoor Golf. In addition to great prices, you’ll gain knowledge from experienced golfers who can help you determine how to enhance your game. Offering both adult and child golf lessons with the pros, visitors can learn the fundamentals as well as how to improve with state-of-the-art training tools and instruction from George Henry himself.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She works as an editor at Firebrand Media, blogs at Pure Wander and writes for a variety of publications.