Aiming to recover from the massive decline in the number of visitors due to the pandemic, a Kelowna animal sanctuary plans to adopt virtual reality.
First established in 2009, the Arion Therapeutic Farm located at 2457 Saucier Rd. currently houses 36 animals, including a giant 900-pound vegan pig named Sunny, as told by founder Heather Henderson.
The farm will keep its doors open until the end of May with reduced hours and will begin experimenting with virtual reality tours this summer as they move.
Their new Enderby location has 27 acres of space and a hayfield for the animals. The property is about a 10 minutes drive from the town and is currently being prepped for the animals. Henderson said that they plan to open the property for tours and visitations in September.
However, the visitors can take a tour of the farm virtually in the interim by booking a virtual reality experience.
“We thought that might be fun for the senior population who might not be able to see us,” she said. They would allow for the VR goggles to be picked in person or shipped depending on where the visitors are located.
They will also be recording the day-to-day activities at the farm that will be turned into weekly videos. People can get access to these videos by buying a $5 monthly membership through Patreon.
Henderson said that they are moving ahead with the initiative to provide a way to continue providing visits to the farm even when it’s closed. They plan to improvise the tours as they officially open, but the objective of serving the community as a therapeutic farm stays intact.
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