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Homepage / Arts + Culture  / Questioning Reality: A Fascinating Q&A with the Museum of Illusions’ Stacy Stec

Questioning Reality: A Fascinating Q&A with the Museum of Illusions’ Stacy Stec

Two young women pose together in front of a colorful wall
Photography by Tom Fuchs

A new Scottsdale museum is making guests question what they see. The Museum of Illusions is now open on the Arizona Boardwalk, promising more than 60 mind-bending exhibits, including optical illusions, holograms and immersive rooms that will trick attendees and make them question their reality. “Visitors are surprised at what they see and how the eyes can deceive the brain,” says Stacy Stec, director of sales and marketing for LOL Entertainment. “In such a social media-driven world, you see things every day that aren’t necessarily real life, so there are a lot of ways that a museum like this teaches different concepts about what is real and what is not.”

Q&A: Stacy Stec on the Museum of Illusion in Scottsdale

Tell us about the museum and what to expect.

Museum of Illusions is a global leader in immersive edutainment. We pride ourselves on the word edutainment because it’s truly a perfect mash-up of education and entertainment, all wrapped into one. It’s also what sets us apart from other museums and attractions. We are a one-of-a-kind space where guests can immerse themselves in the world of optical illusions.

Tell us about the exhibits and experiences people may see in Scottsdale.

We have more than 60 different installations, hands-on exhibits and immersive rooms that are guaranteed to perplex, surprise and ignite serious laughter for guests of all ages.

We have exhibits, from classic illusions that you may be familiar with if you studied psychology to never-before-seen illusions. It’s guaranteed to bring out a ‘wow’ factor in everybody because they’re very surprised at what they see and how your eyes do deceive your brain.

Man surrounded by blue and red lights
Photography by Tom Fuchs

Do you have any favorite rooms or exhibits?

In Scottsdale, we have some exhibits that are fan favorites at other locations. One of those is called the Vortex Tunnel, and that’s one you have to walk in to experience for yourself. Seeing a picture won’t do it justice. It is a room that you walk into and within your first few steps you feel as if the room is completely spinning around you and the floor is moving beneath your feet, but really, it’s not. You’re on a completely flat and stable surface.

Another that is popular that I love as well is called the Ames Room. It was created by an American ophthalmologist and psychologist whose last name was Ames. The room is an experiment in forced perspective and teaches us how people and cameras see things very differently. When you walk into this room, guests will appear to grow and shrink as they walk from one corner of the room to the other. The room is especially fun with two people because one of them will appear to completely tower over the other person.

While a lot of this is fun and Instagrammable, there are elements of science at play here, too. What will people learn when they visit?

It’s a highly visual museum. That’s how the museum has gotten so popular, too, because you get great photos from your visit to the museum, and everyone wants to share those with their friends and family on social media.

It’s been incredible for us, and we’re proud of the exhibits that we’ve brought to our location in Scottsdale and proud of how the museum has come together.

It’s a science that comes down to creating those illusions, so you can capture the essence of the illusion effectively. There are so many angles and dimensions of these rooms and exhibits that have to be so precise to create those illusion effects.

It’s interesting, my background is actually in education, and that’s what drew me to this concept, too. At the time I was teaching elementary school, and I’m a mom of three kids as well. You want to make learning meaningful and memorable for people, and that’s what the Museum of Illusions does very well. And it teaches people to think outside the box, really take a look at the world around them, and almost question if what they’re seeing is real or if it’s a construct made up in your mind. In such a social media world, you see things every day that aren’t necessarily real life, so there are a lot of ways that a museum like this teaches different concepts about what is real and what isn’t.

An optical illusion shows a woman posing with another woman in a chair who appears very small
Photography by Tom Fuchs

Why open a location here in Scottsdale?

There’s no question that Scottsdale and the Phoenix area are booming right now. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities and one of America’s best places to live. The outdoor activities, the dining and art scenes are thriving here, and the museum complements that already buzzing scene. It’s something we felt locals and visitors alike would enjoy.

What does it mean to be alongside other experiences on the Arizona Boardwalk?

It’s great that we landed at the Arizona Boardwalk. OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Experience are the top choices for locals and visitors alike when it comes to quality, family entertainment. Since we’re an all-ages space, we thought it was a natural fit for us.

We also bring in an older, more social media-savvy demographic too. We’ll see people come through for date night, and you’ll see a group of friends looking to experience something different and off the beaten path. It’s a new experience and it’s a lot of fun for all ages, and it’s fun to see different people coming through the boardwalk.

How can people visit?

People can get tickets from our website. We do recommend people purchase tickets in advance because we do timed ticketing. Walk-ins are generally available if capacity allows, but we try to not make it too crowded in there, which is why we do that timed ticketing because we prioritize that guest experience.

Tickets are $17.95 for kids; $24 for adults; $22 for seniors and can be obtained by going to Advance purchase is recommended, as the ticketing is timed to avoid overcrowding.

In an optical illusion, a woman appears to hang off of a building balcony
Photography by Tom Fuchs


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