By Logan DeLeon

SYV Star Intern

Space VR in Solvang is a virtual-reality arcade that allows customers to feel that they are walking in Africa, exploring the deep sea, or even playing mini golf in the sky.

This business uses the latest in HTC Vive technology, offering eight separate room-size immersive virtual reality booths that allow for 360-degree participation in a variety of computer-created environments.

”Almost everyone who is local has already been back a second and third time —some people even a fourth time. I have a grandmother from Nipomo who brings her grandkids down every other week. Lots of service men and women from Lompoc as well,” owner Jamie Baker said.

Customers wear headsets that transport them to any one of hundreds of worlds.

In those worlds you can be a wizard, perform surgery, create and walk through 3-D paintings, dance in an ’80s disco, cavort with magical pets, explore the ocean depths, ride a roller coaster through ancient Greek myths, find your way out of an escape room, be a detective in a film noir mystery, or go on an amazing nature trek.

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that people can interact with in a seemingly real physical way by using special equipment.

Space VR is only one of a handful of these businesses in the country. However, since the late 1950s, virtual reality technology has been evolving with projects like the Super Cockpit, a flight simulator that projected 3D maps and imagery into real-time space, inspiring other inventions and leading to the development of the first VR headsets.

In 2010, an 18-year-old entrepreneur named Palmer Luckey developed the prototype of the headsets in use today. Virtual reality finally became mainstream in 2017 and is a burgeoning technology expected to have applications across a wide variety of industries.

Space VR, across from the Vintage Motorcycle Museum on Alisal Road, has a huge library of content offering more than 600 games and experiences, allowing players to choose experiences that are customized to their own tastes.

Customers can choose from 30 or 60 minutes of play time, during which their reality becomes whatever and wherever they want it to be. Because experiences are single or multi-player, customers can play alone or with friends.

I enjoyed my experience when I played mini golf in the clouds and played with a robotic dog. Some games such as “The Lab” have mini games inside the actual game. If you are not afraid of heights, I would recommend playing “Richie’s Plank Experience” on the fire level.

The business offers a new fun way for kids, families, teens and adults to be entertained when they are looking for activities in Solvang, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to competing with just the locals.

Many of the games allow you to enter an arena where you match your skills against players all over the world. And don’t think that because it’s virtual that it’s passive. Many of the games are sports or require active movement. Not only does this improve hand-eye coordination, but it provides a real aerobic workout.

For more information, visit or call 805-325-9769. It’s best to make reservations because space is limited.

Logan DeLeon is an eighth-grader at Solvang Elementary School.