Beyond King Tut Immersive Experience Review

By Gianna Abruzzo, Creator, Our Play Patches December 6, 2022

For a history lesson on a Sunday morning, the Beyond King Tut exhibit was a success. My daughters (ages 8, 11, and 13) remained engaged for an hour as we walked through an experience that took us from the archeological expedition, into the tomb and its artifacts, and beyond to a fantastical journey to King Tut’s afterlife.

We left the exhibit having learned a few facts about ancient Egypt and the “boy king” who reigned at age 9, died at 19, and whose tomb was discovered untouched exactly 100 years ago, providing the world with a 3,000-year old time-capsule.  

The entirety of the exhibit is on screens - there are no actual artifacts to view. The show starts inside a tent with a brief video providing contextual background on historical Egypt and the discovery of the tomb, as well as sharing some contemporary viewpoints. As visitors walk through a vast space of rooms, there is a mix of video, large-scale images of artifacts, and animations and voice-overs that help explain things like the symbolism found on the tomb and the mummification process.  

We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated in any other manner, and all opinions expressed in this article are my own.

There are two rooms with sound and projections surrounding visitors on all four sides, which is what makes the exhibit “immersive.” The final room put us on a wooden sailing ship as we watched a 20-minute artistically animated interpretation of King Tut’s encounters as he journeyed to the afterlife. The wild and stylistically varied projections on the walls and floor may be likened to other popular “immersive art” experiences where it is amusing to feel as though you are within the story or the art yourself; for me, it was a sensory overload that did not match the educational scope of this exhibit.

This is not an exhibit specifically for kids. My older girls were able to read through the exhibit’s written explanations, but it was difficult to quickly summarize some of the interesting and important historical context to my youngest child. Smaller kids may not be comfortable in the dark tomb room with a projection of a sarcophagus in the middle, larger-than life symbols moving across screens, and a somber voice narrating the scene. Also, the detailed explanation of embalming could perhaps be creepy (or boring) for younger kids. The only interactive piece was a large-scale replica of a board game found in the tomb; my daughters took a few minutes to play it.  

Overall, the exhibit was visually interesting and educational. It held our family’s interest, increasingly by age. My eldest daughter got the most out of the experience, though she left wishing it was more “real” - beyond images she could similarly see on her own computer screen.

Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience is at Pier 36 in Lower Manhattan through January 1, 2023.  It is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm; 9 pm on Friday and Saturday. There are several admission options at different price points; off-peak admission is $42 for adults and $30 child. There is on-site parking ($40) and bathrooms. There is a large gift shop and we saw a drinks bar but did not see any food concessions.

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Gianna Abruzzo is a Brooklyn-born mom of three daughters living in Lower Manhattan. You can find her family downtown and around town, exploring new playgrounds, treat spots, and NYC’s diverse arts and culture.