Inside the Dubai Museum of Illusions at Al Seef

Dubai: Mind-bending optical illusions and hard to believe magic tricks are leaving visitors bewildered at the newly-opened Museum of Illusions in Dubai.

The new attraction, which has found home in the heritage and cultural Al Seef development near Dubai Creek, plays all kinds of tricks on people’s brains, from making people wonder if the world around them is moving upside down to believing that a picture on the wall is pulsating.


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Open as part of an international museum chain that first debuted in the Croatian capital of Zagreb in 2015, the Dubai edition of the Museum of Illusions is the biggest one to date with over 80 interactive exhibits designed to challenge the minds of people of all ages, organisers said.

“Inside this interactive museum, parents and kids can become part of the exhibit themselves. It’s fun, entertaining but at same time educational because it explains why our eyes see things that our brain does not understand,” said Varvara Svishcheva, manager for the Museum of Illusions in Dubai.

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She said the illusions have been carefully selected by a team of Croatian architects and designers and are based on the fields of science, mathematics, biology and psychology to create a truly sensory experience that defies logic.

“This museum houses the largest single collection of optical illusions that will tantalise visitors to a visual and sensory experience,” she added.

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Spread across the 450 square metre venue are several rooms in which visitors can enter and experience different optical illusions, in addition to exhibits on the wall that can almost get people hypnotised and brain teasers that people can interact with.

Among the key highlights of the exhibition is the gravity-defying slanted room and the Ames room where a person shrinks while another grows in size depending on where they stand.

The most challenging room is the Vortex Tunnel, a mind-blowing spinning tunnel that challenges the sensation of stability by tricking the brain into thinking that a completely stable and flat surface is moving around.

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Other full-size illusion exhibits include those that allow visitors to see different clones of themselves, and the Infinity Room which gets people to walk in circles as they try and navigate through infinite corridors around an endless space.

On the walls are various optical illusions such as the Black Dot illusion, where visitors would have to stare at something for 30 seconds to see things shrink and disappear. Also, a collage of indented Albert Einstein heads, called Hollow Faces, follows visitors as they move around it.

An average tour around the museum takes around 45 minutes to an hour, said Svishcheva, and in the coming weeks a magician will be joining the museum to perform magic tricks.

“We are planning to have this as a permanent museum in Dubai and we plan to enhance it in a year or so based on the interest of visitors,” she said.

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